9 episodes

The Unfamiliar Shift with Ariela is a podcast about the boutique hospitality community and how its top industry executives and leaders stay up-to-date on the best innovative trends in boutique hotels all around the world. Episodes feature candid conversations with visionaries discussing new philosophies, ideas and innovations in the hospitality industry, primarily, the Boutique Hotel Community.

The Unfamiliar Shift with Ariela Ariela Kiradjian

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

The Unfamiliar Shift with Ariela is a podcast about the boutique hospitality community and how its top industry executives and leaders stay up-to-date on the best innovative trends in boutique hotels all around the world. Episodes feature candid conversations with visionaries discussing new philosophies, ideas and innovations in the hospitality industry, primarily, the Boutique Hotel Community.

    The Brand Experience with James Bermingham

    The Brand Experience with James Bermingham

    James Bermingham is responsible for delivering Virgin Hotel’s global growth, operational excellence, multi-award-winning customer experience, and unique culture. But where did he get his start? Well, James began his career in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland, followed by ten years in London, England, including executive roles with ITT Sheraton Corporation and the Luxury Collection. Through the course of time, James was drawn back to the United States, where he held prestigious General Manager roles at the St. Regis Hotel in Houston and the Montage Laguna Beach. Since 2008, James served as Executive Vice President of Operations for Montage International, overseeing all elements of operations for the well-renowned properties of the Montage and Pendry Hotel brands. Now, with over 35 incredible years of hospitality experience, James is the CEO of Virgin Hotels and is the true definition of an authentic leader.
    What You Will Hear:
    How James entered and flourished in the hospitality industry
    The importance and benefits of apprenticeship
    Importance of Branding
    Virgin Hotel’s Ethos
    Lucy Technology platform
    Virgin pillar of values and service
    Advice for building loyalty with your team
    Environmental impact, awareness and action
    What boutique means to James

    “I have huge respect and huge appreciation for our housekeeping teams in our business and in our company. They do a great job and it's every bit as important as any other role, and even arguably more so.”
    “We go to great lengths to hire for personality and for character. We really want their individuality and personality to come through that service experience.”
    “Design and being true to place is a big part of the brand experience at Virgin hotels.”
    “If you're having fun and the teammates around you are having fun, then you're guaranteeing that your guests are going to have fun.”
    “By 2030 at Virgin hotels, we want to be net carbon zero.”

    https://www.virgin.com/ (Virgin Group)
    https://virginhotels.com/about-the-app/ (Lucy App)
    https://www.fairmont.com/ (Fairmont )
    https://www.roccofortehotels.com/forte-family/history/ (Trusthouse Forte)
    Sponsored by https://solonis.com/ (Solonis)
    https://blla.org/ (BLLA)

    • 29 min
    Authentic Attention to Detail with Kevin O'Shea

    Authentic Attention to Detail with Kevin O'Shea

    Kevin O’Shea is the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Salt Hotels. After graduating from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, Kevin pursued a career in the corporate hotel design world. From working with Starwood Hotels and Resorts to Morgans Hotel Group, he strengthened his passion for interior design with every project that came his way. In 2009, he founded a full-service interior design studio called Kevin O’Shea Designs. Specializing in hospitality and residential projects, his studio worked on a range of properties including an executive office at Sony World Headquarters in New York, The Martin House, which has been featured by This Old House and The New York Times, and even his own home. In 2011, Kevin turned Salt House Inn into Provincetown’s most stylish hostelry, leading the property to numerous design awards and serving as the launchpad for Salt Hotels. This spurred the launch of present day properties such as Eben House in Provincetown, Massachusetts, The Chequit in Shelter Island, New York, Hutton Brickyards in Kingston, New York, and Hotel Greystone in Miami Beach.
    What You Will Hear:
    How Kevin built his career in the hospitality industry
    Working with partner David Bowd and opening their first hotel
    Salt Hotel Ethos
    Funding process. Self funding and lenders
    The importance of experience
    The entrepreneurial spirit
    Newest project in Hollywood
    Rules and breaking rules
    The essence of hospitality and importance of attention to detail
    How do you stay uniquely boutique even through scaling
    What boutique means to Kevin

    “We are super passionate about service and we are super passionate about getting rid of a lot of the silly rules of the hotel world.”
    “We’re building an inclusive club.”
    “It's about just being hospitable and coming from a place of empathy and understanding that
    travel is stressful, it's long, it's arduous. We gotta get you unplugged as soon as you get here.”
    “For us the common thread is our service standards and that's how we built from.”
    “Our employees are as important as the people coming through the door.”
    https://www.salthotels.com/ (Salt Hotels)
    https://le-meridien.marriott.com/ (Le Meridien)
    https://www.salthotels.com/ (The Aster)
    Salt School
    Sponsored by https://solonis.com/ (Solonis)
    https://blla.org/ (BLLA)

    • 35 min
    Revitalizing Architectural Gems with Carolyn Schneider

    Revitalizing Architectural Gems with Carolyn Schneider

    Carolyn grew up in sunny Los Angeles and graduated from New York University. After working in New York City nightlife and restaurants, it was not long before she fell in love with hotels and started managing Events at Ace Hotel New York.
    From there, she joined the team at Vikram Chatwal Collection in New York, bringing her sales and marketing skills to the forefront.
    When Ace Hotel Group decided to open in Downtown LA, Carolyn was recruited to head on back to the West Coast to build accounts from the ground up in a culturally emerging landscape.
    Her experience did not stop there. From her work with Proper Hospitality to Sydell Group to even co-founding a consulting company for emerging hospitality companies, Carolyn was a champion of the boutique lifestyle.
    Fast forward to the present day, Carolyn is with Casetta Group and is furthering her passion for hospitality, management, and revitalizing small boutique properties.
    What You Will Hear:
    How Carolyn established her career in hospitality
    Building Casetta Group
    Casetta Group’s mission statement
    Working in a partnership with Montecito Venture Partners
    New project in Silverlake
    What is Los Angeles culture to Carolyn?
    Being an artisan. Curating art for properties.
    Being a woman owner in the hospitality industry
    Advice for up-and-coming hotel owners
    The importance of understanding all of the aspects of how a hotel runs
    What boutique means to Carolyn

    “LA is very iconic visually, and it's all just little postcards everywhere. The scenery is just so beautiful. You really remember how incredible just nature even in this city is, that you can go to Griffith Park or go to Malibu and have such a totally different visual.”
    “I'm not the one painting the portrait, but I definitely have a lot of excitement around bringing artists together and making that experience for people and setting the scene.”
    “I think it's all about relationships, honestly. It's not just making friends, but making a good first impression, keeping in touch, and always looking for what else is out there.”
    “Hospitality is about human connection. Technology enhances it.”
    “Boutique is definitely about personalization.”
    https://www.casetta.com/ (Casetta Group)
    https://www.casacody.com/?utm_source=googleandutm_medium=cpcandutm_campaign=Branded+Campaign_Casa-Codyandutm_term=casa+cody%2C+casa+cody+palm+springs%2C+casa+cody+bed+%26+breakfast%2C+casa+cody+bed+and+breakfast%2C+casa+cody+bed+and+breakfast+palm+springs%2C+casa+cody+hotel%2C%2C+casa+cody+hotel+palm+springs%2C+casa+cody+in+palm+springs%2C+casa+cody+inn+palm+springs%2C+casa+cody+palm+springs+reviews%2C+casa+cody+reservations%2C+casa+cody+reviews%2C+casetta+casa+cody%2C+cody+hotel+palm+springsandgclid=CjwKCAjwsfuYBhAZEiwA5a6CDPabo2M7xSFRS_vrkiPJn9I-nI98sNI4Q4DphxJQOKu06kQpxKbGpBoCZ3sQAvD_BwE (Casa Cody)
    Sponsored by https://solonis.com/ (Solonis)
    https://blla.org/ (BLLA)

    • 26 min
    The Art of Hospitality with Katherine Lo

    The Art of Hospitality with Katherine Lo

    Katherine “Kat” Lo is the Founder and President of Eaton Workshop.
    Born in Hong Kong, Kat Lo is a next-generation leader, driven by her moral compass and committed to reimagining the future of hospitality for the betterment of the people and the planet.
    In 2011, Kat joined her family business in hospitality, and just a few years later, her father appointed her President of Eaton Workshop.
    It was in 2014 when Kat founded Eaton as a global hospitality company with a mission “to uplift the human spirit” and “to transform hospitality into a force for creativity and social and environmental impact.”
    Building upon her creativity and passion for the arts, Kat and her team launched Another World is Possible in 2020, which is an online multimedia festival featuring innovative panel discussions and original short films produced by Eaton, itself.
    Now, fast forward to the present day, and Kat Lo is officially the Chair of Eaton Workshop, with an emphasis on progressing Eaton’s storytelling and sharing impactful pieces of thought leadership with the world.
    What You Will Hear:
    How Kat built her career in the hospitality industry
    Creating Eaton Workshop
    Eaton’s ethos
    Los Angeles culture
    How boutique hotels can be a vehicle for progression in local communities
    Stress points for boutique hotel owners today
    Creating and retaining a familial environment with your team
    Creating a brand that transforms an established industry
    Intergenerational mentors and teachers
    Advice for boutique hotel ownership
    What boutique means to Kat

    “It's really about reimagining a hotel space as a cultural and community center.”
    “LA, for me, is music, art, and wellness.”
    “Boutique hotels can really be a vehicle in local communities, reaching out to make those connections and working with people who are embedded in the communities.”
    “I think an important thing is for our mission, vision, and values to not only be reflected for the guests, but also for everyone that works there.”
    “We can get caught up in the disruption and these exciting, big picture things, but it is also important to remember just how to take care of people when you're in hospitality.”
    https://www.eatonworkshop.com/en-us/washington-dc/# (Eaton Workshop)
    https://www.pioneertown-motel.com/ (Pioneertown Motel)
    Sponsored by https://solonis.com/ (Solonis)
    https://blla.org/ (BLLA)

    • 28 min
    Simple Pleasures with Sarah Sklash

    Simple Pleasures with Sarah Sklash

    Sarah Sklash is a passionate Motelier and Co-Founder of The June Motel.
    You may recognize Sarah as half of the iconic duo who starred in Motel Makeover, a Netflix series that followed their renovation of The June Sauble Beach. Through light-hearted and sincere episodes, Sarah and her Co-Founder, April Brown, painted a beautiful picture of how their brand came to be and why boutique concepts are here to stay.
    Before Sarah became a full-time Motelier, she spent a decade working in public service, focusing on vital statistics and creating customer-centric processes. She finds her years of government experience to be especially useful in navigating all the government interactions required as an entrepreneur.
    When away from her desk, Sarah is a passionate traveler who believes that “the moment you first open the doors to a new hotel room is the best feeling in the world.”
    What You Will Hear:
    How Sarah built her career in the hospitality industry
    Career shift and first property purchase
    Disadvantages and advantages of no formal hospitality industry education
    Being unique and individualistic
    Ethos of The June Motel
    Advice on maintaining good partnerships
    Importance of communication
    Business models
    Obstacles and lessons in property ownership
    What is success to Sarah?
    Understanding risk
    Motel Makeover on Netflix
    What does boutique mean to Sarah?

    “So much of The June actually comes from just our personal desires as travelers.”
    “The June Motel is really all about being a throwback to the good ol’ days and enjoying the simple pleasures.”
    “Communication is such a key part.”
    https://thejunemotel.com/ (The June Motel)
    April Brown
    https://thejunemotel.com/pages/motel-makeover (Motel Makeover on Netflix)
    Sponsored by https://solonis.com/ (Solonis)
    https://blla.org/ (BLLA)

    • 31 min
    Affordable Luxury with Ernest Lee

    Affordable Luxury with Ernest Lee

    Based in New York City, Ernest Lee has an extensive range of business experience in investments, real estate, finance, strategy, and even operations. It’s safe to say, in the bustling “City That Never Sleeps”, he is truly doing it all.
    As the Chief Growth Officer for the famous citizenM Hotels, Ernest is responsible for implementing new growth initiatives, products and programs, pursuing strategic partnerships, and developing long-term commercial strategy in collaboration with citizenM’s Chief Commercial Officer. And, to top it off, he is recognized for guiding the complex, multi-regional expansion of citizenM’s North American portfolio. These luxury properties or “proud misfits of traditional hotels,” are satisfying the modern traveler’s desire for affordable luxury and brilliantly shifting the status quo of hospitality as we know it.
    What You Will Hear:
    How Ernest built a career in the hospitality industry
    Chief Growth Officer explained
    Learning by looking at other industries
    citizenM Ethos
    Creating a new category, Affordable Luxury, in the boutique hotel industry
    Building a boutique hotel portfolio based on transparency
    The 360 experience. Advice and tips on owning and operating a boutique hotel
    Authenticity and the importance of listening
    Choosing locations
    What boutique means to Ernest

    “I've always had the ambition to become more well-rounded as a hotel owner and hotelier and get much closer to our guests.”
    “Protecting the customer experience was the number one goal for us, and in order to do that, that requires a significant amount of control. For us, it means that we want to play developer, play owner, play designer, play operator, and play brand all at the same time.”
    “When you focus less on a tangible thing, but you focus more on capturing a feeling, then that is when the execution becomes more heartfelt, and it actually feels real and authentic.”
    https://www.citizenm.com/ (citizenM)
    Cushman and Wakefield
    Sponsored by https://solonis.com/ (Solonis)
    https://blla.org/ (BLLA)

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
3 Ratings

3 Ratings

Ariela90210 ,

Super interesting

This has been missing in the hospitality industry….thanks Ariela for making me feel seen and heard as a boutique hotelier!

FrancescaAngel ,


What an amazing podcast. It’s short and sweet and to the point. I look forward to listening every week.

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