Thursday, August 27, 2015

Orson Wells, wine, Ritz-Carlton and Reserve hotels

Orson Wells is here for a reason.

And this is it. No matter what he said or how lovely his voice sounded when he said it, Gallo wine was still, in the end, Gallo wine. Before its time or not.
So this came to mind when I saw an article in Forbes - via the ILHA SmartBrief - about the new Reserve group of hotels from Ritz-Carlton and how it's bringing a "boutique vibe to Ritz-Carlton."
Honestly, this could be perceived as a bit of a slap at a real boutique independent hotel or small to mid-sized collection of hotels. Because, when you get right down to it, Reserve is still part of Ritz-Carlton which is still part of Marriott. Just like Autograph. Or Hyatt Andaz, Hilton Curio or other subgroups of big chains.
An independent hotel and a smaller collection of hotels is a totally different thing than a cluster of properties gathered under a large brand name and given a sub-name. Sure, there are almost certainly some differences from the Mother Ship, but it's still a part of the big brand.
People who work for Ritz-slash-Marriott are sharp people and know what they are doing, and there is no question about whether or not Reserve has a lot going for it. 
It most certainly does.
But let's not for a minute confuse it with a true independent property or small collection of hotels or resorts - with all the unique experiences they can deliver to their guests.
The cheapest and most expensive cars made by General Motors are still from General Motors with all the good - and bad - things that go with it.

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