For Makeready, F&B drives the experience

DALLAS—With the upcoming opening of Emeline in Charleston, SC, Makeready, a hotel, restaurant and retail operator, will welcome its sixth property.

“Makeready was created because we saw a need for strong restaurateurs and strong culinary experiences to be concepted within the hotel space,” said Christine Magrann, COO, Makeready. “That is what differentiates us from some other really successful companies.”

Like the management company’s other properties, Emeline will have an experience that is authentic to its location. “What we love about Charleston is that it is a city with such rich, storied history,” said Magrann. “It is a sophisticated market, a well-educated market. We find it to be very social with strong food and beverage programming.”

To match that programming, she plans to have a great restaurant there—Franny and the Fox—as well as a courtyard venue. “We are really looking to have an exceptional courtyard experience that will see multiple uses, for great social events—and, of course, Charleston has many,” she said. “We felt there was a need to have a courtyard that can be a coffee shop café in the morning and turn into a great wine-patio type of experience in the evenings.”

The front of the building will host Perks Coffee Shop. “We are really inviting the guests into a coffee-shop experience, a social lobby where guests can be alone together, or they can have coffee and great conversation together,” she said. “This will flow into a locally curated retail shop.”

Earlier this year, Makeready took over the management of Halcyon in Cherry Creek, CO, a 154-key hotel owned by Rockbridge. “We are very excited about Cherry Creek, just outside of Denver. It’s a very optimistic, intelligent, thriving community,” said Magrann. “It is a healthy economy. All of those qualities together make it an exciting place for us to be. There was a restaurant there previously, and we are completely reconcepting that. We are very committed to giving the Cherry Creek community exactly what they are looking for—a neighborhood restaurant; very approachable food; and high-quality, friendly, sincere service.”

Makeready also recently had two firsts—its first resort and its first property in the Northeast—when it took over the management of the 226-room Cliff House Maine in Cape Neddick. “It is special,” she said. “Its ownership came to us looking for a management company that would let Cliff House have its own independent point of view and that would make sure that Cliff House is at the forefront of everything. Makeready’s management philosophy is that the brand is at the forefront. You won’t see Makeready on a lot of collateral or websites.”

She continued, “Ownership completely renovated it with several food and beverage experiences, multiple pools, one of the most special spas in New England. We just took over the management of that, and we are just continuing to create an exceptional guest experience. We are very fortunate to partner with them.”

Makeready is very deliberate about the opportunities it chooses to take on, according to Magrann. “As a newer company, I believe that slow and steady wins the race,” she said. “We are being very thoughtful about the timing. It is not necessarily about timing, but more about the opportunity… Specifically, with these latest opportunities, it is more about whether they are in an area where we can connect with the local community, where we feel like we can inspire the guest. Is there a need for a culinary-driven restaurant or retail experience that really orbits around the hotel world?”

The company looks for owners who share the same mindset. “We like to be surrounded with like-minded people, and we think that both of these opportunities presented that to us,” she said. “In both locations, we are working with the owners to help realize a vision and help in concepting the restaurants and hotel space… What is nice about that is that we are working with owners and the design team to help them realize their vision. We have in mind what that operations team will look like, and I believe so much that these buildings are really all about people. When you have the opportunity to design and be part of the vision, and then you have the opportunity to turn around and operate it, it just makes it a more authentic pull-through.”

As for the future, Magrann said Makeready is being thoughtful about what markets it will go into next. “Surprisingly, it is not actually intentional that several of our hotels are in the Southern market,” she said. “However, I sure do like the spirit of hospitality in those Southern markets, both in the guests and the team members. We feel very comfortable in markets where it is easy to connect with the communities, and the travelers are very curious and interested in getting to know the why behind the how. As we grow, it is not about two-to-three restaurants or hotels per year; rather, is it a market that makes sense for us? Is it a like-minded community there?” HB