Asia remains an expansion priority for Cachet Hospitality Group, but following its first New York City opening last year, the company is moving beyond its original borders.
NEW YORK—Cachet Hospitality Group wants creativity in lodging and food and beverage to be its hallmark as the company branches out from its Asian roots and into North America.
The Hong Kong-based company arrived in the U.S. last year with the opening of Cachet Boutique NYC near Times Square in New York—a move Cachet’s Chief Creative Officer David Laris called a great opportunity.
“New York is one of the most important cities in the world for a brand to put a stake in the ground,” Laris said. “Cachet Hospitality Group saw this opportunity to begin to build a U.S. platform for its hotel and F&B brands and grow out its U.S. ambitions from this great city.”
The 107-room New York City property is owned by Merchants Hospitality. While it is the first Cachet-branded hotel in the United States, it’s the second on the North American continent—the company opened the Cachet Beach Hotel & Beach Club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, earlier in 2017.
Laris said Cachet is a management company that is opportunistic about equity. The company owns two hotels in Shanghai and equity in other properties. It also has a marketing alliance with Westlake Village Inn in Westlake Village, California, which it does not manage.
The company currently has seven hotels in operation as part of the company’s Cachet and Urbn brands. Its pipeline includes three confirmed deals: A second New York City hotel and two more in China, plus several additional hotels in negotiation stages.
Cachet was launched almost six years ago by Robert Roche, an American businessman who has worked in Asia for many years. He had opened a boutique hotel in Shanghai called Urbn Hotel Shanghai, which the company claims is the first carbon-neutral property in China. Cachet emerged out of that, Laris said, placing itself in the lifestyle boutique category with a strong emphasis on food and beverage as well as culture and wellness.
Nicole Levinson, SVP of brand marketing and partnerships, said the company’s approach to business is what makes it work.
“We behave like a startup and can move quickly,” she said. “I can take down a website and put up a new one quickly.”
While Cachet does work with online travel agencies, Levinson said “there are new ways to deal with them and we can pivot quickly to take advantage of those methods.”
Next moves and hallmarks
With locations in Asia and the Americas, Laris said Cachet is exploring possibilities in Europe and has hired a business development executive to explore more opportunities in the Americas.
Laris said that resorts will be on the luxury level—the Shaoxing, China, resort has a full-service spa—while the boutiques will aim to drive high rates through design and amenities. For instance, the New York hotel has a Bocce Club Suite, named after the hotel’s bocce court, one of three outdoor spaces that offer seasonal programming. The hotel hosts outdoor art exhibitions and intramural bocce tournaments.
F&B is a strong focus at the company. Laris, a chef with a restaurant and design background, has his own branded restaurant concepts, and the F&B outposts at Cachet properties reflect his vision.
The New York hotel will open the first new Playboy Club in the U.S. later this year, and Laris said Cachet is interested in expanding that partnership down the road.
The amenities and services that characterize Cachet hotels are about the properties “being aware of their cultural environment and not just being a building with beds,” Laris said.
While there is an Asian influence that pervades the hotels, Laris stressed that “we are a very versatile company, open to ideas from the outside,” including partnerships with other brands. As an example, he said Cachet brought Philippe, the celebrity chef Philippe Chow’s brand, to China with a location at the Shaoxing resort. Cachet also has affiliations with burger chain Wahlburger’s, Air China and others.
“Partnerships are the cornerstone of where we are going as a brand,” he said.