Proper Hotels courts Airbnb-minded travelers

Proper Hospitality’s newest project is designed to court luxury travelers who enjoy using home-sharing services such as Airbnb. (Proper Hotels Guestroom)

Brian De Lowe, co-founder and president of Proper Hospitality, has a different approach for marketing his Proper Hotels brand.

“We’re perfect for travelers that like the idea of Airbnb, but require more service, security and consistency, especially when traveling for work.”

There you have it: How a hotel brand is looking to lure Airbnb wannabes.

Proper, which manages the Avalon-branded hotels located in Beverly Hills and Palm Springs, Calif., is taking advantage of a Hollywood renaissance to open the Hollywood Proper Residences, the first in a line of luxury extended-stay hotels and residences in the Los Angeles area. And what separates Proper from established home-sharing products is the level of service and high-design aspirations.

Hollywood Proper Residences consists of 200 luxury residences for extended stays, offering furnished units for periods of 30 days to 11 months, while unfurnished stays are available for 12 months or more. The property opened on June 1 and was designed by Kelly Wearstler Interior Design.

Proper Hospitality is led by a hotel vet: Brad Korzen, the creator and former CEO of Viceroy Hotel Group. He is joined by Viceroy veterans and former partners De Lowe and Alex Samek. Korzen founded Proper Hospitality and the Proper Hotels brand in 2015.

The Hollywood Proper Residences is located on the Columbia Square lot, previously the site of CBS Studios’ Hollywood headquarters. Developer Kilroy Realty spent nearly $450 million to create the compound, which consists of adaptive reuse and new buildings, including the high-rise where Proper’s first hotel is located. 

“This is just one of several developments of this scale to come from Kilroy, which has been a major catalyst for change in Hollywood and many other similar neighborhoods along the West Coast,” said De Lowe, who is also president of Proper Hospitality.

Extended Luxury

De Lowe said the property's design plays heavily into its positioning. Unfurnished guestrooms start at $3,400 per month, all the way up to $25,000 per month for luxury penthouses, which range from 2,172 to 2,582 square feet in size.

Guests will have access to a rooftop pool with cabanas, outdoor dining with entertainment, a fitness center with an open-air yoga patio, all-day coffee and wine bar and a discreet resident’s entrance with valet parking.

According to De Lowe, the property is also powered by a full “service platform” that consists of the Proper Concierge, Proper App and Proper Card. Proper Concierge can also be accessed through the Proper App, which provides access to the building’s services and amenities, controlling everything from a guestroom’s internal sound system to external experiences such as private dinners and flights. The Proper Card is another part of the package and will grant residents priority access to dining and spa reservations, as well as preferred pricing on accommodations and other services.

“Another thing that sets us apart is how we bring the surrounding physical and cultural landscape into the property,” De Lowe said. “We actively participate in the community and conjure a cool, local spirit, whether it be through the artwork throughout the property from L.A.-based artisans, our partners or our chef, who’s involved with the Hollywood Farmers’ Market just a couple of blocks away from us.”

West to East

In addition to Proper’s Hollywood location, the brand has its sights set on opening hotels in San Francisco, Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles, both as adaptive reuse developments of existing historic buildings. A Proper Hotel & Residences is also in the works for Austin, Texas, and will consist of a new-build property that is a combination of a lifestyle hotel and for-sale luxury condominiums. Other markets Proper has earmarked for future development include regulars such as New York, Miami and Nashville.

When Proper starts work on future properties, it will have its experiences opening in Hollywood to assist with the process, something De Lowe said was somewhat unique due to the building's configuration. Opening furnished rooms alongside unfurnished apartment units required coordination between the design team, back-of-house staff and front-office ambassadors, which required special attention during the hiring process, De Lowe said.

“An aspect of the hospitality business that is always an opportunity is with respect to talent—identifying, nurturing and growing great talent at all levels is absolutely critical for us. Success in recruitment starts at the top, with company culture, and we have a number of company initiatives that are heavily focused on building a great culture so we can continue to attract best-in-class talent as we open more hotels and residences.”

To De Lowe, service is the No. 1 thing that separates extended-stay brands from one another and home-sharing services. This is becoming increasingly true as other hotel brands become more involved in the extended-stay market, launching new brands or updating and redefining existing properties. In this environment, Proper is seeking to establish itself as the go-to brand for luxury extended-stay accommodation.