The Charleston, South Carolina-based management company is finding a niche in managing historic adaptive reuse properties, college-town hotels and more projects that cater to today’s traveler.
ATLANTA—Now is a good time for independent hotels in the United States, and Charlestowne Hotels is capitalizing on the trends behind that movement.
Charlestowne VP of Development Charles Snyder spoke with Hotel News Now during a break at the recent Hunter Hotel Conference to talk about what the management company is looking forward to this year and how it’s continuing to grow to meet the needs of independent-minded guests.
“Now is a good time for independents because of two converging forces,” Snyder said. “One is that the performance in most markets is so strong that you’re selling out many nights per week. And also, travelers of all types are looking for a unique experience, and independent hotels have historically provided that.”
The lure of adaptive reuse
For Charlestowne, adaptive reuse of historic buildings into hotels has become a niche that tells a great story.
“A lot of our current projects—in Nashville, Atlanta and elsewhere—are adaptive reuse and we like the historic elements of the properties,” Snyder said. “It’s easy to craft a story when part of it has been written decades ago.”
The Fairlane Hotel in Nashville opened in mid-March in the city’s former Fidelity Federal Savings & Loan building, which Charlestowne manages for owner Oliver Hospitality.
In May, the Hotel Clermont in Atlanta will open under Charlestowne’s management. The hotel is another adaptive reuse, which is owned and was redeveloped by Oliver Hospitality.
“It’s a new story for that building and a new chapter for a very storied history there,” Snyder said.
Another adaptive reuse hotel set to open this spring is The Foundry Hotel in Asheville, North Carolina, which will be Charlestowne’s first Curio Collection soft-branded hotel under management.
“We’re not only focusing on popular markets with tourism, but also a lot of mid-size markets,” Snyder said. “For us, finding what makes a market unique and appealing—whether it’s the local restaurant scene or something else—the culture of a place is what makes a hotel special.”
Snyder said the company is continuing to grow its footprint across the U.S. because it can find those stories in many locations.
2017 brought the company’s first hotel project in California, Mariani’s Inn & Restaurant in Santa Clara.
New England and the Northeast continue to be growth spots for the company, and Snyder identified university markets as another good niche for Charlestowne.
“We have three projects right now in university markets and several more in the pipeline,” Snyder said. “We like working with these properties because they have a dynamic, active and engaging locale. We communicate with the university, students, alumni and parents and really provide them with a living room to interact with each other.”
He said exploring more of the soft-branded space also is on tap for Charlestowne. Seven of the company’s 47* hotels are operated under franchise flags.
“Our connections with the brands can help us to create lifestyle, boutique projects with the connectivity of a great distribution system,” he said of soft brands.
At the end of the day, Snyder said the company always will keep its focus on what sets each property apart individually.
“We select branded or independent on a case-by-case basis; each project for us is unique,” he said. “We curate the ID of the property, the positioning and the scope of the project.”
* Correction, 10 April 2018: A previous version of this story included incorrect numbers for Charlestowne Hotels' portfolio of managed hotels.