Living a life of luxury is something sought after by many. However, it is not the wealth that defines the lifestyle, but rather the enjoyment that comes from the experience of luxury. Enter Chris Adams, the owner of Ellis Adams, an international luxury and lifestyle consulting firm that helps hospitable spaces become enjoyable settings worth telling stories about. From designing interior spaces in hotels and restaurants to helping develop hospitality services, Adams ensures to incorporate storytelling to create memorable experiences of luxury.
Having started his career at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel where he climbed up the corporate ladder and became an executive, Adams realized that the hotel experience was missing a vital focus, making moments happen within their own spaces while also prioritizing the consumer. Leveraging his leadership skills, Adams went on to become a consultant and creating his own agency, Ellis Adams Group. Now Adams and his talented team are helping revolutionize the hospitality industry, by creating experiences and luxurious moments that result in joy for consumers.
For many, being able to experience any type of luxury takes hard work and perseverance. Although Adams may be surrounded by such luxury in his professional life, he emphasizes how his vision also involves leaving an impact on others. Through being a strong business leader and entrepreneur, Adams has always sought after this vision while having a strategy tied with resilience. Above all, he is a risktaker who is not afraid of failure when it comes to his business ventures. One of the perks of making yourself your own boss is that there is no red tape that can inhibit you from being able to make your dream a reality, and achieve what others have not.
It is this mindset that has further encouraged him to pursue his passion for luxury in other enterprises, as seen in his partnership with luxury fashion house, Troy Anthony, a brand that designs tailored suits made from premium materials. With these business projects, Adams remains a leader through maximizing the potential of himself and others, and inspiring people to make them reach their potential. This is not just done through motivating people, but can also be done through fashion that raises confidence, such as a well-tailored luxury suit.
There is no limit on what Adams’s creative freedom won’t reach, and nothing is stopping him from going after what hasn’t been done before. Through his love for luxury and lifestyle, Adams has not only become successful, but has also made himself his own brand.
Can you first go more into detail about what your job entails as a luxury consultant for hotels? It is our job to work alongside the hotel owner and operator to make sure we are helping them pull the vision to life. If anyone goes into opening a hotel, you have this vision of what you believe it should be. From a luxury and aesthetic standpoint, when you are building a hotel, you want the initial reaction of your guests walking in to have that WOW factor of falling in love with something you have created. But then the next step of that is operational. How are we making sure that feeling – that WOW factor they felt when they saw the aesthetics of the space – will continue throughout their stay? That luxury experience operationally has to pull through to match the beauty that you have created with the building.
That’s where we step in to make sure we are ‘activating the space.’ Is the lighting the way it should be? Is the music exactly the type of music at the level it should be throughout the day at different periods? Does the aroma fit the feel of what the space should be in creating that moment and feeling for the consumer? It’s looking at every aspect of the sensory experience of the guest. That is our job, to activate all that. When you walk in, it’s a combination of visual and aroma. It creates that feeling of WOW, which is what luxury truly is.
Describe some projects that you have completed. This has been an interesting year, obviously with the pandemic. Ironically enough, we’ve still been very busy. There’s been a lot of hotels that are still open. We were able to activate the Aloft down in Tulum, which was an absolutely beautiful property that truly represents the Tulum architecture and feeling down in Mexico while pulling together the brand identity of what Aloft is. The Hilton down in Aventura, Florida was another flagship for that brand that just opened in the past few months. It has the potential and looks to do some really cool things. These are just a couple of the projects over the past 12-18 months that we’ve been a part of to get open, even amid this pandemic.
You are in the works of opening up your own hotel after being in the hospitality industry for 15 years. What inspired you to start your own luxury hotel? When you live in hotels for as long as I have been doing this, and opening hotels globally, you start to find little nuances and things where you are like, ‘Man, I really wish the guest room was set up a certain way or had certain elements to it.’ The food and beverage space, or even the spaces we typically see in the back of the house that the guests never get to see – how do we take those and pull them to the front of the house and make them a part of the guest experience? I finally got to a point where I felt that the consumer was changing enough with what they were looking for and what their expectations were. With this brand I was creating, we felt that we were ready. The time has finally come where we can launch this. It was a combination of things – it was years of creating what was the perfect lifestyle luxury brand, as well as making sure that it was what the consumers were looking for at the right time. All of those coming together finally got us to the point where we are ready to really start putting the show on the ground and see it come to life.
How has the process been? Where is the location? The process so far has been mixing and finding the balance between creativity and business. The business side is rarely the fun side. It’s trying to find the balance between knowing what the vision is and what we are trying to create but making sure it makes sense from a business perspective. We get good insight and guidance from amazing individuals who have been in the industry for a long time to ensure that we are making smart business decisions, alongside the creativity of what we believe is the next generation of a lifestyle luxury brand. It’s been a balancing act – there are days where it’s great; there are days where it’s frustrating. One of my friends says, ‘Easy never changes the world,’ so if you want to do something that will be revolutionary or change an industry, there’s nothing that’s going to be easy about that. You have to wear the mantle if you decide to go down that route.
Now, where is it going to be located? That’s still under the wraps. There are three different locations that we are looking at that could either be possibilities or could be all three. There’s more to come on where it’s going to be and when it’s actually opening.
Can you describe what luxuries you plan to incorporate into this project? We want to make sure that it’s a couple of things. One, we want to make sure that we focus on the communities that we are going into before we become a strong part of that community. What are those things that the community is looking for that we can make sure we are there for them to provide? That could be the local coffee shop, the local wine bar, the local wine or spirit shop. What are those things that our community says – we want, we need, and we embrace you and thank you for having them? We want to be that for them. We are integrated, thoughtful, and strategic.
The second thing is looking at those who are staying in our hotel. We’ve continued to open hotels the same way in the past 15 years. The model of a hotel really hasn’t changed. If you look at a hotel built 25 years ago, the exterior structure may look a bit different with different finishes on the inside. It’s still a pretty basic setup that hasn’t changed, but how do we flip that on its head to be different? We are creating a lifestyle and entertainment venue that happens to have some of the most amazing master bedrooms sitting above it. We are creating a place that the community and those traveling want to be at – this is the epicenter of entertainment and lifestyle that they want to go to. They want to eat there, dine there, play there, shop there. They want to do everything they possibly can at this epicenter we are creating. It just so happens that we have some of the sickest master bedrooms above it that you can stay at. It’s definitely taking a slightly different approach to what we call a ‘luxury lifestyle hotel.’
Storytelling is a skill not everyone has. How will you incorporate storytelling within this space? This entire project is telling a story. It’s from start to finish. I think it’s going to be very strategic because that story will focus on where it goes. The community that we are going into needs to be a part of that story. We need to understand who that community is. What are they passionate about, what do they get excited about, what are the things that make them happy? That’s a huge part of the core of who we are and the story that we are telling.
Looking back at the community that we are going into helps us drive who we are as a brand. No matter what state, what city, what community we are in – those individuals who are wrapped around us, they are the heart and life of who we are going to be. It’s very strange because hotels are driven by outside guests that don’t usually live in that community who are coming to stay there. The story we are telling is that we are the community, and we are welcoming people to our community. It’s a different approach, but I believe it’s what our new guests are looking for. It’s what our communities wish hotels were doing. It’s going to be one of the many things that will differentiate our brand from any other hotel that may be around.
Can you describe the experience that you hope consumers will have? It needs to be memorable. It needs to be a feeling that we create that they will never forget. Something that they crave so that when they stay somewhere else, there’s a sense of disappointment.
We are in the people business, so not everything will be perfect. I do want to make sure that we have the best people in place to create moments, memories, and experiences that encourage you to want to come back. It’s about thinking ahead for you, that anticipation of need that says, ‘Man, they thought about it even before I realized I needed it.’ Those are the things that we assume that we’ll be able to do, but we need the right people in place to engage with our guests that are coming from both outside and the local community. It’s about creating that feeling of ‘I have to be here. This is the only place I will stay.”
Anything else that you would like to add? There’s an element of technology that’s going to be a huge piece of who we are. We are actually really excited because, before the physical brick and mortar version of the hotel launches, we have a pretty cool tech version of our hotel that we’ll be launching soon. It’s going to be different, unique, and something I don’t believe anyone else has done yet
Production and PR: @burgerrockmedia
Photography: Xena Peterson
Styling: Emily Alvarez