Boutique hotel designer Cheryl Rowley is closing up shop in Beverly Hills, but it doesn't mean you've heard the last from her. "The recent and sudden deaths of two very dear friends was a huge reminder that life is very, very short," Rowley said. "It made me seriously question the fact that I have been living apart from my family for the past five years."
The Southern California native, whose firm has created the look of luxury hotel resorts for Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Rosewood, Mandarin Oriental, and others, and who is well known for originating the designs for Kimpton's Monaco and Palomar brands, will now be joining her family at their Vancouver Island home.
For the Hotel Monaco in Washington, D.C., the idea was originally conceived for Hotel Hana Maui in the 1980s, when the Hawaiian landscape was inundated with resorts. "The idea was to support the essence of an historic and singular property, and our real product were the feelings our design evoked in the hearts of our guests," said Rowley. "Those feelings are the result of thousands of specific design decisions, and we realized that it was in the reliable evocation of such feelings that we would find our success."
Since then, Rowley has helped paved the way for the boutique hotel phenomenon. She is quick to make clear that this move does not mean an end to her design career. "I'm a designer and I will always remain a designer—it's not just a job title; it's an intrinsic part of me and my life," she said. There's a book in the works, and a signature product line, and then, perhaps, collaboration with other design professionals in ways that don't involve running a large design company.