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Breaking Travel News interview: Salvatore Imposimato, VP, brand experience, Hollywood Roosevelt

Breaking Travel News interview: Salvatore Imposimato, VP, brand experience, Hollywood Roosevelt

The iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which first opened its doors in May of 1927, has recently relaunched following a $25 million renovation.

Since hosting the First Academy Awards in 1929, hotel has become both a landmark attraction and a popular destination for locals and tourists from around the world.

At the heart of the re-launch has been Salvatore Imposimato, vice president of brand experience with the Hollywood Roosevelt.

With 20 years of experience in the luxury hospitality business, he has run some of the most in demand bars and nightlife spots in the world, all while managing a healthy dose of traditional travel marketing.

Here Breaking Travel News speaks to Imposimato about his latest project.

Breaking Travel News: The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel has recently re-opened following an extensive renovation. What’s new at this iconic property?

Salvatore Imposimato: I would call it more of modern revival, as it never actually closed, but was renovated and repositioned. 

The 240 tower rooms just concluded a $25m renovation by the famed design firm, Yabu Pushelberg.

The new design creates a more modern and timeless feel that resonates with the hotel’s 90-year Spanish Colonial aesthetic and history.

BTN: How does your role as vice president of brand experience fit into the new hotel?

SI: Hotels have always been about experience, some more traditional, some more provocative, and others more about reliability. 

It is my job, to always to find the right sensibility for our guests specifically for each asset and locale. 

What may work at Hollywood property may not work in a downtown NYC property. 

We are developing a voice that attracts like minded thinkers, and folks that appreciate how we look and how we approach things.

Everything that we do from design, to food and beverage offerings, to the way we treat and speak to guests, feeds into this experience.

I am always looking to create an atmosphere that makes a guest feel like they are a part of something bigger than just a place to sleep over.

A hotel is also very significant to its neighbourhood, and we always find ways to incorporate a feel of what its like to live like a local throughout the hotels programming.

BTN: You personally have been involved in the hospitality industry for more than two decades. Can you tell us a little about your previous experience?

SI: I come from a family that has owned and managed about 20 small hotels all along the Jersey shore (insert joke here).

Growing up, I spent every summer either painting yellow lines in the parking lot, carrying and stocking linen closets, working the front desk, and/or lugging garbage bags dripping with stale beer into dumpsters… starting from the bottom to say the least. 

After college, I lived in Miami (mid-1990s) and was very drawn to culturally and architecturally significant hotels like the Delano, the National, and the Raleigh… I guess from then on you could say I was hooked. 

I then spent the next 20 years working with great people across different hotel brands (Four Seasons Hotel (LA), Soho +Tribeca Grand Hotels, Morgans Hotel Group, Thompson Hotels, Starr Restaurants), and continue to do so today. 

BTN: How has this experience helped you to transform the Hollywood Roosevelt next era of luxury, designed especially for a new generation of global traveller?

SI: I think all of my experiences in life come to make up a certain instinct that allows me to present an environment that I hope can be contagious and inspiring.

I’m not sure all of my work experiences alone give me the mental make up to perform my job, I actually pull most of my inspiration from outside industries, deeply centered around music, fashion, art, and overall pop culture.

For me it’s really about bringing personalised attention and experiences that you already have in your life, and infusing it seamlessly into your hotel stay.

I want our guests to feel comfortable, yet sexy, a little reckless, and also a little sad to leave.

However, I think performing for many years with very visible brands in very visible cities, helped create confidence to keep pushing the limits for each new hotel or venue that opens. 

There is a balance that takes time to refine, that makes a stay and hotel great and I am continually looking to find ways to better myself and that balance.

People know and appreciate when something is authentic, it’s important we keep it that way.

BTN: How would you characterise the Los Angeles hospitality market in 2016? Are you seeing changes in who is visiting the city? Which markets are key to the success of the hotel?

SI: Absolutely. I am a transplant myself as of late.

I come from NYC, along with a bunch of creative migrants all heading west.

I think that Hollywood in general was a single industry business for many years.

You can’t deny that everyone that moved to LA, in years past weren’t here to work in the film or television business in one way or another.

Now, the city is full of all kinds of amazing opportunities and industries that are ultimately attracting young business travellers, fashion houses, creative agencies, and a very bustling art community.

The weather is amazing and the city has so many pockets of untapped real estate that there is so much opportunity here.

I think there is a substantial amount of east coast and even European brands setting up shop in LA, that is attracting a whole new vibe and energy. 

There is a definitely something happening here in LA, and that in turn creates new markets, and new connections for the hotel.

BTN: Just finally, what events can we look forward to at the hotel in the coming months? Are there any stars due to call in to wow guests?

SI: The Hollywood Roosevelt always has amazing star studded events and really thrives on the entertainment factor in Hollywood.

Just this past month, we hosted the Captain America premiere with Robert Downey Jr, and Chris Evans, Motherhood with Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Terminator with Arnold Swarzennager, Games of Thrones season premiere, Kendrick Lamar’s official Grammy party, Oscar parties, Coachella parties etc etc….The Hollywood Roosevelt is a fun place to stay for sure.