Hotel Maya — Another Unique Joie de Vivre Hotel

I had the pleasure of recently staying at a Joie de Vivre property, this time at Hotel Maya in Long Beach, CA. I attended an event at the Queen Mary and Hotel Maya is only a half a mile away—an easy, enjoyable walk along the waterfront.

When you approach the lobby to check in, you will enter through a curious, huge, swivel door. It is a certainly a sign that you are about to enjoy something unique and special.The contemporary, Latin American-inspired décor is both pleasing to the eye and the psyche. After spending a few minutes in the lobby, and then a little more time in my room before making my way over to the Queen Mary, I had remarkably left behind the stress and anxiety of the work day, which also included a rough Southern California commute. The functionality and design of the facility, as well as that of the spacious rooms, is refreshing. Check out the rates too; I consider Hotel Maya to be a bargain at this level of the hospitality business.

The restaurant is also superb. Fuego serves the “coastal cuisines of Mexico and Latin   America,” and you at least have to stop by for some appetizers and a margarita. If you think you have experienced every gyration of guacamole ever created, you have to try executive chef Jesse T. Perez’s versions in the Guacamole Trio. It includes fuego classico, mango-serrano, and lobster with fresh lime. Additionally,  you must order the delicious Queso Fundido (Mexican cheese fondue). The service and ambience are equally as good.

I have also spent a good amount of time at the terrific Hotel Angelino, Joie de Vivre’s property in Los Angeles. The restaurant there, West, is an Italian steakhouse with great food and spectacular views. If you have driven the 405 Freeway through L.A. you have surely seen this tower at Sunset Blvd.

My amazing experiences at Hotel Maya and Hotel Angelino motivated me to dig further into the background of this innovative company. How do they ensure that each property is unique, with its own character, and then generate a consistent, high level of service and hospitality across the entire collection? Their distinct design philosophy, as outlined on their website, explains much:

“Joie de Vivre takes an original approach that is both niche and aspirationally lifestyle oriented when designing a hotel. For each property, its creative team identifies a magazine that defines both the hotel’s characteristics and the aspirations of its target clientele. Five words are then selected that describe both the essence of the magazine and how the customers might describe themselves. These words define the hotel’s identity, décor, and unique services. The result is each property possesses its own dynamic personality and makes an emotional connection with guests by catering to a psychographic rather than a demographic profile. By staying at a Joie de Vivre boutique hotel, guests can experience an “identity refreshment.””

Joie de Vivre (joy of living, in French) is the largest boutique hotel collection in California, with over 30 properties under management. Founder Chip Conley started the company with the opening of Phoenix Hotel in San Francisco in 1987. Other properties of note are Gaige House (just 23 rooms) in Sonoma, and Ventana Inn & Spa in Big Sur. It is truly a great company with excellent accommodations and I always look forward to experiencing a Joie de Vivre hotel.

~ by Thomas on May 31, 2010.

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