Kor Hotel Group Sees Major Expansion

 Develops two luxury boutique brands

By: Caroline Sidman

Whether one wishes to lounge on the sand in South Beach, party the night away in West Hollywood or rest up after a long business meeting in Beverly Hills, the Kor Hotel Group can grant that desire. With luxury boutique hotels in Southern California, Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico, Kor is zeroing in on the affluent traveler searching for a unique and relaxing refuge.

Now Kor has decided to take two of its hotel brands, the Tides and the Viceroy, and expand them. The brands will be developed together with the hope that they will complement each other and create leverage for their already well-known names.

“The brands will work together to gain a similar affluence for different audiences,” explained Kor Hotel Group president Nicholas Clayton, in an exclusive interview with TravelAge West.

The debut of the new Tides brand will come with the reopening of a renovated and redesigned Tides Hotel in South Beach as well as the Tides Riviera Maya on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and the Tides Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya.

“Each of The Tides-branded properties will grace a relaxed beachside locale in an influential destination. Our aim is to create a series of resorts that emit an adventurous, globo-coastal ambience,” said Clayton. Tides-brand hotels will also be fewer in number than those of its sister brand as they will all be coastal hotels.

There are two current Viceroy hotels in Santa Monica and Palm Springs, Calif., and another property is scheduled to open in 2008 on Anguilla in the Caribbean. Viceroy properties are also in development in South Beach, Riviera Maya and in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. (The Viceroy South Beach will be made up of residential units and not a hotel).

The excitement is already beginning as the Tides South Beach restaurant La Marea is set to open on May 30. With Mediterranean-style fare created by executive chef Pietro Rota, Kor’s plan is to create the Tides as a truly coastal hotel brand in all aspects ― not just in location, but in design and food and beverage programs, as well.

“The Tides brand is heavily differentiated from Viceroy through its focus and association with ocean [and] sea themes,” said Clayton. “These features, combined with location will guarantee that our clientele will be more at leisure than some of the clientele at Viceroy properties.”

Viceroy hotels, unlike The Tides, will not have any particular overarching theme and instead each individual hotel will be designed according to specific location and surroundings. The signature Kor design and style, pioneered by celebrity designer Kelly Wearstler, will remain, but the Viceroy properties will be aimed at a mix of corporate and leisure guests, unlike the vacation destination Tides properties. Also, it is expected that the Viceroy brand will be the larger of the two as it will be an urban brand, without the coastal restrictions of the Tides brand.

Started in Southern California, the Kor Hotel Group focuses on developing hotels that cater to both corporate and leisure guests. By opening hotels in desired locations, like Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, Kor has been able to attract business travelers who want to stay in a convenient area and in a brand of hotels known for stylishness and refinement. This influence on corporate visitors leads them to become repeat guests, even when no longer on business, which is how Kor believes they gain many of their leisure guests. Many guests that stay at a Kor hotel for leisure are singles, couples and young families who have been influenced by a prior positive experience on a business trip.

Kor’s expansion of the Tides and Viceroy brands is only the beginning as they look to future development. Properties will continue to be considered in the major gateway cities of the U.S. and the group is also looking to the north with the opening of their first Canadian hotel, the Loden Vancouver in July. Kor’s new resorts in Mexican vacation hot spots indicate a desire to continue expansion in Mexico.

“The Caribbean is also a focus, given the affluent U.S. and European markets that the region draws,” said Clayton.

Kor has further expressed a desire to expand to Asia. Due to an expected growth of affluence in that region, along with the possibility of greater tourism from Western travelers, Kor is considering the possibility of developing specialized hotels in areas such as Bali, Phuket, Thailand, and India.

Once known only for its small quirky boutique hotels, Kor has now expanded to the point where it is running with the big boys. As the group continues to look to future developments in increasingly varied destinations, continued expansion seems definite.



Kor Hotel Group Portfolio

Current Properties: California, Florida, Mexico
Coming Soon: Canada, Caribbean
Future Possibilities: Bali, Thailand, India, U.S. Gateways