Hotelier Spotlight: Lord Baltimore Hotel's Abraham Esquivel

When Abraham Esquivel was named director of operations at the Lord Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore, Md., the appointment marked his return to the property after nearly seven years away.

Raised in Guatemala, Esquivel moved to the U.S. at 10 years old. After studying computer science at Fleet Business School in Annapolis, Md., Esquivel’s uncle recommended him for a position at the local Four Points by Sheraton, and the aspiring computer technician joined the hotel’s sales team. As he learned more about the business, Esquivel moved up through the ranks and became the property’s revenue manager before he turned 20 years old, developing a “passion” for hotel operations.

When the hotel was slated for a rebrand and a sale, Esquivel moved on and became the general manager of the Ramada Inn in Laurel, Md. In that role, he learned how to manage different facets of hotel operations. When the property changed hands, he joined Red Roof Hotels as a floating GM for nearly a dozen properties in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

“I would travel a lot,” he recalled. “I would go in between properties that needed a GM in case the current one was on vacation—or maybe they didn’t have a GM.” Since he moved from hotel to hotel, Esquivel would stay at each property he oversaw, which offered yet another perspective on the hotel experience.

Abraham Esquivel, director of operations at Lord Baltimore Hotel

Different Circumstances

But as his family grew, Esquivel needed a position that would let him be home more often. When he learned of the opportunity to open a new hotel closer to home, he took it, becoming the first GM at the Sleep Inn & Suites Downtown Inner Harbor in Baltimore. The property, he recalled, was like a boutique hotel with only 62 guestrooms and a staff of 15—but it provided “a great opportunity” to see a hotel develop “from scratch.”  Opening a hotel, he said, is “another whole experience” from operating one. Ahead of the grand opening, Esquivel worked with the property’s owners to develop the pre-opening plan and handled the hiring and training of the staff.

Once the Sleep Inn was open and running smoothly, Janus Hotels & Resorts selected Esquivel to oversee the former Brookshire Suites Baltimore, which had gone into receivership. In that role, he not only handled daily operations but had to work with the bank, secure all necessary licenses from the city and take potential buyers on-site inspections. “I would walk potential owners [through the hotel] every single day,” he recalled. “I had staff members that were scared they would lose their job because the hotel was bank-owned.”

After a year and a half, the hotel changed hands and Esquivel began questioning his role in the industry. “I said, ‘Maybe I should try something different.’” And he did, joining the Beacon Hotel & Corporate Quarters in Washington, D.C. He handled association and corporate sales at the Beacon’s corporate headquarters. While overseeing sales is decidedly different from operations, Esquivel came to appreciate how everyone involved in a hotel’s operations is selling the property in different ways, including “selling the hotel with your service.”

In his sales role, Esquivel came to know the new GM at the Lord Baltimore Hotel and joined the team as assistant general manager. The property was closed for renovations and he was able to put his experience to use as it reopened. “My technical skills kicked in, and that, as a hotel operator, is what helped me get to where I’m at today,” he said. “It goes along with the reputation you have with your service and how you treat people.” 

New Solutions

The 70-hour weeks at the Lord Baltimore left little time for Esquivel to be with his three daughters as they grew up, so after three years he took a position as night manager at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore. Over his seven years at the hotel, he learned about the luxury side of the industry and came to appreciate yet another facet of operations—finding new solutions to challenges. Similarly, he said, he came to appreciate that whether a guest is paying $200 per night or $2,000, their treatment by the hotel staff should be consistent. “A guest is a guest,” he said.

It was with that education in mind that Esquivel returned to the Lord Baltimore in May, this time as the director of operations. Many of the hotel team members remembered him from his previous tenure at the property, he recalled, and welcomed him back with smiles. “You always want to leave [a good] impression everywhere you go,” he said, noting that the invitation to return means that trust has been earned.

Beyond his work in hotels, Esquivel also plays piano, and sees a connection between the two fields. “I’m learning my instrument every single day,” he said. “You learn from people. You learn from your experiences.” In both hospitality and music, a professional has to improve, and in his various positions, Esquivel has learned how to work with a wide range of people. “If you are able to impact people in life, I think you’re doing your job in this industry.”

Abraham Esquivel’s...


“When you have a great attitude, things are given to you. … Keep that attitude—humble—and things will come your way.”


Esquivel has worked at many hotels that changed hands during his tenure, a stressful situation for everyone on the property’s team hoping for job security.


Skillsets are always valuable, Esquivel said, and even if one job ends as a hotel is sold, a good reputation and knowing how to lead can help in another position. 

Secrets to Success

Communication: “A leader that’s quiet does not work. … Every day should be communication, constant communication, reminding your staff how important they are.”

Consistency: “[Be] consistent with everything you do—not just treatment, but [be] consistent with your overall personality.”

Responsibility: “Take ownership of your flaws. … That makes you a responsible person, to just change them and make things better.”  

Lord Baltimore Hotel

Opening year: 1928 | Number of guestrooms: 440 | Owner: Rubell Hotels | Management Company: LB 1928 Associates LLC