Interview with Mary Beth Malone, Elysian hotel Partner

I recently got an email regarding a new hotel in Chicago:

The Elysian’s architecture and design is inspired by Coco Chanel and Christian Dior to emulate the era of timeless glamour reminiscent of the grand hotels of Paris in the 1920’s. The Spa & Health Club is situated above the hotel’s open-air courtyard and it features a mosaic-tiled lap pool, intimate relaxation areas, men’s atelier, beauty consultant, a fitness facility with a Pilates studio and the only Gyrotonics studio in the Gold Coast. In addition to its divine spa and a host of luxurious amenities, the hotel holds two exquisite restaurants and a bar; all inspired by CHANEL and Dior.

I was able to ask a few questions based on what I read on the Elysian Hotels website. Mary Beth Malone, a Partner of the hotel, was kind enough to answer them for us.

Q. How many hotels are there and are more being planned?

A. Our flagship property opened late last year in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood and we intend to expand the brand to gateway cities and resort destinations worldwide. We are currently in discussion about several potential locations.

Q. Regarding the “About” page on the Elysian Hotel’s website was there a specific experience that prompted you to “revive that bygone era where travel was an indulgence”?

A. We set out to create an experience for residents and guests that would establish new benchmarks for service. With a smaller number of rooms, we are able to deliver a more personalized level of service, the kind of service that people enjoyed in days past when travel was considered pleasurable. It’s our goal to bring that feeling back. Though our rooms feature the latest in technology, such as televisions in the bathroom mirrors, the rooms are large and luxurious, more like the graciously-sized accommodations one found in older hotels. All elements of the property including architecture and interior design, restaurants, spa, and guest services were brought together with the singular vision of offering an elegant yet unpretentious experience for our guests.

Q. I’m guessing that the gym does not try to emulate the good old days. In what other ways does the hotel embrace modernity instead of trying to recreate an old-fashioned experience?

A. We looked at technology as a way of providing an enhanced guest experience, improving ease of communication and accelerating the ability to respond to guests’ needs. Features at the property include:

  • Intelligent energy control systems, which detects motion and adjusts lighting, heating and cooling levels according to guestroom activity
  • Electronic Do Not Disturb and Make-up Room buttons eliminate the need for door tags and interruptions from the housekeeping staff
  • Bowers and Wilkins virtual surround system with iPod integration
  • Electronically controlled fireplaces
  • Electronic key cards for remote keyless guestroom door entry

Q. The trend for hotels today is to charge for as many extras as they can. Does the Elysian have $4 bottles of water in the mini-bar, significant extra charges for pets, $30 breakfast buffets and so on?

A. At the Elysian, we strive to provide the ultimate luxury experience for our guests. With that said, we do not charge for pets nor do we have a breakfast buffet. In addition, gratuities are not welcome at the property. We also provide an array of amenities you would come to find at a luxury property including:

  • Complimentary national calling
  • Complimentary wireless Internet
  • Complimentary access to the Elysian Spa & Health Club featuring a mosaic-tiled lap pool, whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms and fitness equipment
  • International channeling
  • Dry cleaning and laundry services
  • Valet and car service
  • 24-hour doorman, concierge and security

Q. What would you say to people who suggest the least expensive hotel possible because “it’s just a place to sleep and you should spend your vacation out seeing the sights anyway”?

A. We believe that a hotel stay should be a delightful experience, adding to the enjoyment of travel. With the finest amenities at their fingertips, guests can truly relax and feel indulged. Our goal, through gracious, refined service and luxurious accommodations, is to provide much more than a place to sleep. Guests value, and are willing to pay for, experiences that are remarkable.

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