The top-rated hotel in the world, according to travellers, is in Beverly Hills — and its manager says the future of hospitality hinges on 2 seemingly contradictory factors

Courtesy of the SLS Beverly HillsThe rooftop pool of the SLS Beverly Hills.

“How can I travel to a place and really feel like a local?” is one of the main questions Christophe Thomas imagines his guests ask themselves.

Thomas is the general manager of the SLS Beverly Hills, which was just voted the best hotel in the world by the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards.

The Los Angeles hotel, which is known for its modern rooftop pool with sweeping views of Los Angeles, has a chic, young vibe, trendy restaurants, and whimsical Philippe Starck design. Rates at the hotel start at $US343 per night. The Beverly Hills location is just one of four SLS branded hotels; the others are in the greater Miami area and in the Bahamas. This location opened in 2008 and just underwent a $US22 million renovation that focused on updating its 297 guest rooms.

The SLS Beverly Hill’s success is rooted in what Thomas says is the future of hospitality: “Being connected to the local area” while remembering that “we are citizens of the world.”


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Christophe Thomas general manager SLS beverly hillsCourtesy of SLS Beverly HillsChristophe Thomas started as the general manager of the SLS Beverly Hills in 2016.

So, how exactly does the SLS Beverly Hills deliver on this duality?

For one thing, Thomas told Business Insider, a red carpet lines the walk into the SLS lobby.

“The red carpet is perfect for the Los Angeles market,” Thomas said. “[In] Los Angeles, everybody hopes to be, or maybe is, a celebrity and it puts you, right away, into the mood and spirit of the LA market.”

And the hotel’s restaurants use local produce. The hotel’s main restaurant, The Bazaar, is helmed by José Andrés, serves Spanish cuisine, and has a Michelin Plate and the hotel’s newest restaurant, Somni, has two Michelin stars.

But on the global end of things, Thomas, along with the restaurant and bar team, just started an exclusive, two-hour cocktail-tasting experience. The experience, called Bazaar Flights at Gate: Bar Centro, features bartenders creating 12 local takes on cocktails from around the world in an intimate 10-person setting. The by-reservation-only experience costs $US100 per person.

Ultimately, hotels need to carve out a place with a unique identity to draw in guests. As citizens of the world, Thomas says, “it’s responsible behaviour to be local,” and he predicts that’s the mindset that will carry the hospitality industry forward.

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