Willows Lodge: Acquired by Benchmark Hospitality

by Shona Milne on June 2, 2011

Benchmark Hospitality International Acquires MTM Luxury Lodging Launches Personal Luxury CollectionSM with 13 Properties

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, June 1 2011 … Benchmark Hospitality International, a leading US-based independent hospitality management company, announces the acquisition of MTM Luxury Lodging. Based in Kirkland (Seattle), Washington, MTM Luxury Lodging is a hotel and asset management company specializing in full service luxury hotels. The acquisition brings four existing managed properties into Benchmark Hospitality’s portfolio and an additional property soon to begin construction. These five hotels will join eight other properties operated by Benchmark to form a new brand within luxury hospitality — the Personal Luxury CollectionSM (PLC), also announced today.

“I am particularly pleased to announce this acquisition and the launch of our new Personal Luxury CollectionSM, as they go hand in hand,” stated Burt Cabañas, Chairman and CEO of Benchmark Hospitality International. “MTM has done an incredible job creating a group of high end and highly customer-focused properties. They bring five superb small luxury hotels in terrific destinations to our company, as well as the opportunity to penetrate the Northwest. With this addition, it is the ideal time to launch our Personal Luxury CollectionSM of 13 highly distinctive independent hotels.”

The purchase of MTM Lodging adds extraordinary properties to Benchmark Hospitality International. These include Hotel 1000 in Seattle, Washington; Sorrento Hotel, also in Seattle; Willows Lodge in Woodinville, Washington, and, Bardessono, located in Yountville, Napa Valley, California. The new Bellevue Park Hotel, being constructed in Bellevue, Washington, is expected to open in 2013.

Equally important, the skilled management talent that developed and grew MTM Lodging has joined Benchmark’s executive team. James Simkins, previously partner and CEO of MTM, has been appointed Benchmark’s new chief operating officer of the just-announced Personal Luxury CollectionSM. Jim Treadway, founder, partner and previously the chairman of MTM, joins the company as general manager of Bardessono in Napa Valley and as vice chairman of Benchmark Hospitality’s Advisory Board.

Benchmark Hospitality’s new Personal Luxury CollectionSM

Nearly five decades within the top end of the hospitality industry and extensive personal experience as a traveling executive have inspired Benchmark’s Founder, Chairman & CEO Burt Cabañas with unique perspectives on the meaning of highly individualized, personalized travel. He and his team, along with MTM’s expertise in this arena, now bring these insights to Benchmark’s Personal Luxury CollectionSM.

Burt Cabañas noticed as far back as the early 2000s a void in the luxury hotel marketplace for distinctively individualized service products that reflect the unique preferences of each guest — and deliver on a brand promise of a highly personalized luxury experience for every guest. This is a brand promise that begins long before the guest arrives, and never ends. The Personal Luxury CollectionSM is Benchmark Hospitality’s response to this need.

In the 30 years he has built Benchmark Hospitality International, Cabañas has imbued the company with profound sensitivity to meeting guests’ individual expectations for a superb experience, whatever the reason they are at a Benchmark property. Guest sensitivity is a distinctive platform for service excellence, which is the essence of PLC, “because luxury is so much more than bricks & mortar and the best china and silver,” says Cabañas. “It’s what makes each guest feel expected and genuinely welcomed over and over again.” Cabañas continued, “MTM has demonstrated excellence in delivering this extraordinary level of service, and more importantly, they’ve refined the ability to make each person feel they are a guest in MTM’s ‘home.’ That’s a memorable and highly personalized welcome experience. It’s why we’re so pleased to have them join our company and the new Personal Luxury CollectionSM.”

Jim Treadway, MTM’s founder and chairman, heartily “seconds” this. “We are and will be all about understanding each of our guest’s wants and needs, and then fulfilling them. No two guests are the same.” Mr. Treadway continued with, “All of our guests have a purpose in coming to our hotels. It’s up to us to understand what is their purpose in staying with us, and how can we facilitate its accomplishment. That’s our mission!”

Cabañas and MTM are mirroring what is increasingly appearing to be the emerging trend of “the new luxury,” which is no longer about quantity, but is about quality and the experience of living. “We are not just developing this idea overnight,” continued Cabañas. “We’ve been germinating and carefully refining this over the last decade. Hotels within our new collection that joined during the past decade have seen significant success with the PLC model of individualized service excellence we were developing. Even through managing through a challenging economic climate, many have achieved higher ADRs than most other properties within their competitive set, and gained placements on Travel+Leisure’s World’s Best Hotels lists, CondeNast Traveler’s 100 Top Hotels lists, and more.” Cabañas concluded with, “Those are great measurements of success, but our most satisfying endorsement is the overwhelmingly positive guest response.”
With 13 hotels in the new Personal Luxury CollectionSM, following the MTM acquisition, the guest experience can now extend nationwide and in superb destinations:

Bardessono Hotel & Spa, Yountville, Napa Valley, California
Bellevue Park Hotel, Bellevue, Washington (opening 2013)
Costa d’Este Beach Resort, Vero Beach, Florida
Hotel 718, Brooklyn, New York (opening November 2011)
Hotel 1000, Seattle, Washington
Hotel Granduca, Houston, Texas
Marenas Beach Resort, Sunny Isles Beach, Florida
Naples Bay Resort, Naples, Florida
Sorrell River Ranch, Moab, Utah
Sorrento Hotel, Seattle, Washington
Willows Lodge, Woodinville, Washington
The Villas and Cottages at Turtle Bay Resort, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
The Villas of Grand Cypress, Orlando, Florida

About the Personal Luxury CollectionSM

The Benchmark Personal Luxury CollectionSM concept was founded on the premise that luxury means different things to different people. It’s now more personal than ever. The distinct destinations in the Personal Luxury CollectionSM are known for their individual attentions, chef-driven cuisine, and what our guests will define as pleasure, comfort, happiness, taste and escapism.

To graphically capture this, Benchmark Hospitality chose the ultimate symbol for the individuality of hospitality in the day: the keyhole. Each different, unique, hand-forged creation echoes the personal attention guests receive. Today, for the Personal Luxury CollectionSM, it’s a story of what old is what’s new. A redefining of the perspective from property focused to guest focused. Where we open the door so the guest can choose transformation over accommodation, customization over conformity, and inspiration over vacation. It is the answer to a craving of guests who want to feel special again. What a departure from the past!

In order to catapult the mark to the modern age, the new Personal Luxury CollectionSM logo is presented with a dramatic crescent forming the shadow of the keyhole. Further, the crescent, placed to the right of the keyhole and in combination with the keyhole, also represents a stylized “P” – the initial letter of the Personal Luxury CollectionSM, depicting the increasingly archaic concept of personal attention, revived and delivered.

About Benchmark Hospitality International
Benchmark Hospitality International is a leader in the management and marketing of resorts, conference centers, hotels, and the Personal Luxury CollectionSM. The independent company, launched in 1980, is a worldwide organization operating properties in major metropolitan and resort destinations. Benchmark’s international headquarters is located in The Woodlands, Texas, near Houston. Benchmark Hospitality is also a founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers. The company’s northeast regional office is in New Jersey, with international offices in Tokyo, Japan, and Santiago, Chile. For the location of Benchmark’s properties and additional information, visit www.benchmarkhospitality.com.

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