Be my guest |

Be my guest

I find it interesting and peculiar, reflecting upon Janet Urquhart’s article, “St. Regis: Spa, timeshares will rejuvenate business” (May 29), that both St. Regis-Aspen general manager Richard McLennan and his bosses at the hotel conglomerate emporium, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, really believe that the mere gimmicks of “a world-class spa” and “the conversion of 98 existing rooms into 24 fractional ownership suites that will be sold in one-11th shares” are the balance-sheet solutions for St. Regis-Aspen.

If anyone has read Money magazine, June 2003 issue, Starwood Hotels and Resorts is supposed to be an investor’s good buy because its stock, listed on the New York Stock Exchange as HOT, is around $35 to $36 per share, and this holding company outfit is selling off several properties to cut down on its debt servicing worldwide.

What Mr. McLennan and the corporate chieftains at Starwood Hotels and Resorts fail to admit to the people of Aspen, the Aspen City Council, and the investment community, is that perhaps Mr. McLennan and his St. Regis-Aspen staff have little or no drawing power amongst significant figures and groups in more powerful and strategic business, financial, professional and high-tech circles.

Personal reputation and personal hard-earned relationships help to truly beat the “competition from other luxury resort properties [that] has intensified.”

Take a look at the Mountain Chalet, owned by Ralph and Marian Melville. It is their reputation and relationships that keep the Mountain Chalet a stellar long-run Aspen business operation. Conrad Hilton’s titled book words “Be My Guest” are their axiomatic operative for 50 or more years in Aspen.

I was very fortunate to spend Christmas Day 2002 with the Melville family. I extended my gratitude to them in the traditional way and in an unconventional way. The unconventional way was to let Beverly Hills elected and unelected officials and Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce members, including the many hotels like The Beverly Hilton, The Regent Beverly Wilshire and The Beverly Hills Hotel, about my most wonderful Christmas with the Meville-Inman clan of Aspen.

The unconventional method of thank-you reached at least 70 in the Beverly Hills sphere of influence, including Rodeo Drive Committee members. Now this kind of public relations is worth a lot of money in anybody’s book!

So, in closing, to spend in today’s U.S. dollars $30 million in renovation costs to partially fix up a hope for the St. Regis-Aspen still does not compare in yesterday’s U.S. dollars for the $100 million spent to renovate the entire Beverly Hills Hotel owned by the Sultan of Brunei.

I heard from a primary source at the St. Regis that Mr. McLennan reads my published letters. Perhaps he will be a gentleman like Colorado Hotel general manager Larry MacDonald, and treat me to a gourmet meal and private conversation, preferably at supper time at his hotel before mid-June 2003.

Let’s see if Mr. McLennan says to me, “Be my guest.”

Emzy Veazy III