Loews Launches New Luxe Brand
The rebound in the luxury lodging segment notched another milestone on April 15 when Loews Hotels & Resorts unveiled plans to create a luxury Loews Regency brand separate from its portfolio of 23 hotels and resorts in the U.S. and Canada.
Initially, the new brand consists of two properties. The first is Loews Hotels & Resorts’ existing flagship, the 379-room Loews Regency New York, located on Manhattan’s Park Avenue, a stone’s throw from the Midtown business district and close to well-known museums, shopping and restaurants.
The second is Loews Regency San Francisco, the former Mandarin Oriental, which Loews Hotels & Resorts recently acquired and has now upgraded and rebranded. The 155-room hotel occupies the top 11 floors of an office building on Sansome Street in the city’s booming Financial District.
In launching the brand extension, the challenge for Loews is to get customers—including meeting planners—to distinguish between the level of service and amenities available at Loews Regency and the rest of the portfolio, which the company describes as upper-upscale.
Jonathan Tisch, Loews Hotels & Resorts’ chairman, speaks of wanting Loews Regency to deliver an “intimate luxury experience.” Defining the brand promise further, Tisch and his colleagues speak of Loews Regency providing “approachable luxury with a personalized style that is warm and engaging.”
Choosing New York and San Francisco as the sites of the first two Loews Regency properties was fortuitous. Each is a gateway city with an established history of luxury lodging, an imposing comp set and strong demand, including from a large international client base.
One feature Tisch and his team plan on introducing in San Francisco and then making a standard brand-wide is the Power Breakfast. Long associated with the New York hotel, each property’s on-site restaurant will strive to become the “place to see and be seen,” where local political figures and business leaders gather each morning to network and do deals.
Theoretically, every planner has an idea of what a true luxury experience amounts to; describing “upper-upscale” is a bit more problematic. At what point then does “upper-upscale” begin to cross the line into “luxury”? Conversely, when does poorly executed luxury start to more closely resemble upper-upscale?
Meanwhile, planners and other travel buyers well know that delivering a consistent level of quality depends on a number of factors: the particular market, age of the asset, condition of the physical plant, last time the property was renovated and so on. In other words, the portfolio of any brand can be a mixed bag.
Take Loews Hotels & Resorts. The portfolio runs the gamut from discreet city hotels in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and other major markets to big box, family-friendly group houses in Orlando, where Loews has four—and soon to be five—resorts on the grounds of Universal Orlando.
Clearly differentiating Loews Regency from its cousins is the challenge that awaits.