135 – Suite Spot: Spotlight – The Beatrice Hotel

by | May 8, 2024

The Suite Spot takes travelers to Rhode Island in the latest Spotlight series episode – The Beatrice Hotel! As one of the most iconic and historic hotels in the nation, the general manager for the property, Jennifer Curtin, gives travelers an inside look at why this hotel should be their next destination. 

From the rich backstory behind the name, the local attractions in the area, and what the guest experience is all about, this episode covers it all. Tune in now!

Ryan Embree:
Welcome to Suite Spot, where hoteliers check in, and we check out what’s trending in hotel marketing. I’m your host, Ryan Embree. Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Suite Spot. This is your host, as always, Ryan Embree. Thank you for joining us. We are here in the content creation studio in Maitland, Florida at our Travel Media Group headquarters, and have another fantastic edition of our Suite Spot: Spotlight series. This time with a fantastic property that we’re gonna be showcasing and in with me today to talk about this beautiful property is Jennifer Curtin, the general manager of The Beatrice. Jennifer, thank you so much for joining me on the Suite Spot.

Jennifer Curtin :
Good morning, Ryan. Thank you so much. Really happy to be here.

Ryan Embree:
Yeah, we’re excited to have you. And you know, we’re gonna get to The Beatrice and your beautiful property here in a second. But as we do with all of our new guests, this is your first time to the Suite Spot. Talk to us a little bit about your background and hospitality journey that led you to The Beatrice.

Jennifer Curtin :
Yes, absolutely. Happy to and actually it’s, it’s quite a full circle story that I have. So my career actually started right here in Providence, Rhode Island. I attended Johnson Wales University, majoring in hotel management, and that’s actually located just steps from the Beatrice Hotel. And so this is where I started, I was working in multiple different operations through school. So I worked with Hilton Hotels. I worked in a luxury residential community here in Providence. And then in the summers I used to live on Cape Cod and I worked at an amazing it was a five star resort, Chatham Bars Inn down on the Cape. And so, really for me throughout school, I wanted to get exposure in multiple different operations and environments and really get a sense of what it is that I wanted to choose for a path outside of college. And so for me, it was really that luxury boutique space. That’s really where my heart lies. And so upon graduation, I started with Kimpton Hotels first in Boston, Mass, which is home for me. So that was a natural starting point. And then from there I moved with them to Aspen, Colorado and then to Seattle, Washington. And it was when I was in Washington, Seattle that I got the call and moved back to open the Beatrice again, you know, back here in Providence, Rhode Island.

Ryan Embree:
I’m sure that was such an exciting call to be called back to your hometown where it all started and you went to school for hospitality, which I will tell you of all the hospitality industry experts that we interview on this series in others, it’s rare, but I’m seeing more and more of it. I mean, you’re talking to another grad of a hospitality management program down here at UCF. More and more people are going to school to get into our industry, which is amazing because most of the time you’re gonna hear people say, well, I just fell into the industry, or I was doing a job in college and fell in love with the industry. So it’s so great to see and hear stories like yourself, Jennifer, where you knew you had a passion for it, but also finding and having a journey within it and finding a segment and space that you really, that you really cared about. And the fact that you got to do it in your own backyard, I’m sure also benefits you because you know a lot about the local area.

Jennifer Curtin :
Absolutely. No, it’s wonderful. And I will say, you know, I’m very fortunate to have Johnson Wales right in our backyard, for The Beatrice because that is where the majority of our recruiting stems from. There’s nothing better than hiring, you know, a college student who is, you know, motivated and passionate about this industry and is, coming to work and really putting what they learn in the classroom into motion and real life. It, it really makes, you know, everything kind of start to click. So we’re really fortunate in that way.

Ryan Embree:
Yeah. What an opportunity too for them to see and learn from you a graduate from there and can see what the possibilities are of a career in hospitality is. Which, you know, we’ve been battling this staffing shortage now for a couple years. To hear more inspiring stories like that certainly helps more and more people get into our industry, which we love so much. So let’s talk about your passion, the Beatrice, the property that we’re gonna be spotlighting today. And again, if this is your first time hearing or listening to this podcast in this series specifically, the SuiteSpot Spotlight series is all about highlighting some of the most unique historic hotels in our industry across the country. We’ve been up to New York City internationally, down to to Mexico. We’ve been down to Miami. So here in this episode, we’re visiting Providence, Rhode Island at The Beatrice. Share with us the story, the unique rich story of The Beatrice and Beatrice Tempkin for whom the property is named for.

Jennifer Curtin :
Yes, absolutely. So this property is, the building itself is historic. So we’re located right in the heart of Providence, Rhode Island, specifically the financial district. And so the location is, is amazing. The building was actually the original 1887 exchange building. And so to bring this hotel to life, the full building was renovated right down to the core. And it was really intentional that the historic elements of the building were retained and restored. That’s really important to all of the development that Paleo properties does, and really important to, really the city of Providence as a whole. We’re very mindful of that in, in all the construction. So retaining that historic charm, but also really bringing the elevated and modern hotel and building to downtown that it was really seeking and, and needing. So it was a really exciting project to be a part of The namesake Beatrice Temkin, I mean, she was such a prominent person right here in the Providence Rhode Island community, very well known. She was known to be just ahead of her times, as an example. I mean, she championed and led an eighth foundation in the seventies. That was just the type of person that she was. She was known to be elegant, sophisticated, in tune with all the little details. And so she is a remarkable person to have this hotel named after. And really, it’s, it’s front of mind for us in every decision that we make, that her elegance and her sophistication is carried through. And so you’ll see that in everything from the decor, the style of the hotel, the elevated amenities that we chose to have in all the guestrooms and throughout the public spaces. And then of course, in the level of service that we deliver. I mean, attention to detail. She wouldn’t skip a beat. Um, and so we’re very mindful of that and, and that’s what we’re very focused on with the team and making sure that that’s the level of service that we provide and execute every day.

Ryan Embree:
It’s so cool that you have kind of that intersection of history and obviously the story of Beatrice Tempkin as well, that you can tell your guests, you can tell your associates and employees to kind of serve them moving forward as they get to know the property and as they become more and more involved in the property, I’m sure it’s, it’s something that is really, really cool to, like I said, be immersed in that history. We’ve had a couple of new build properties on the Spotlight series. Obviously everyone likes the shiny new toy, but there’s something about that just rich history in a building like the Beatrice, that when you, when you first come in, you can feel it. And it’s kind of a feeling that sticks with you during the entire experience. And it’s something that I think we’ve come to appreciate more and more as for travelers, is we’re more immersed into that story. We’re more invested into the story of a building, the story of your namesake over there at the Beatrice. So, but all of this can’t be done without sharing that story. And it’s so critical to share your story online. One of the places that I think your property, Jennifer does an excellent place. You’ve got a wonderful website. Is this be about the town section of your website. Talk to us a little bit about, ’cause these are essentially guides for all types of travelers. Talk to us a little bit about the thinking behind these guides and what it does to help get your guests immersed in the experience.

Jennifer Curtin :
Yes, absolutely. These guides are something I’m really proud of. They are loaded right on our website, you know, and so they’re there and accessible for our guests when they’re at the decision making stage. You know, and something I’m very mindful of, and you kind of touched on this, but checking into a beautiful new hotel with all the amenities, you know, amazing service, clean guest rooms, it’s really just not enough today. Nowadays, travelers, they’re really looking to feel like they’re immersed in the location that they’re traveling to living like a local. And so for us here in Providence, that really takes coming together as a community. You know, we have the amazing hotel that we, you know, can confidently have our guests check into, but it’s more, it’s, it’s beyond our four walls. It’s about getting them in and around Providence so that they really can head home and feel like they experienced it all. And they know what it’s like to be a local here in Providence. And so that’s really what we utilize these guides to do, is really build partnerships and be a part of our community with all the businesses, um, all the chambers, all the travel destination organizations, and really come together as a community and know that it takes all of us to come together to really be succeeding. And so I spend a lot of time working with the local businesses, you know, in coming up with different packages and programming so that our guests can check in and they can experience, if they book our water fire package, they can experience a VIP experience floating down, you know, the river in a gondola. And, you know, they can go up to a local glass blowing studio with our friends and partners that gather glass and, you know, walk away with custom made glassware and really feel like they’ve seen and done everything here in Providence, Rhode Island, which is so important to us. And so we use these guides to really promote and put that bug in someone’s ear about what they can do to travel here, to Providence, Rhode Island, and really continue to put Providence on the radar as a destination that can be a fun getaway for people to come to.

Ryan Embree:
They’re absolutely wonderful and they’re also personalized, right? We’ve been hearing a lot about that in our industry. Personalization of the guest experience. So you’ve got a guide that talks about people traveling with their pets, right? That in itself, logistically there are some nuances to that. And for you to be able to share maybe a local dog park or groomers nearby or something like that, that’s something that the guest then doesn’t have to think about, worry about. And it’s coming from a trusted expert, a local, from your team to be able to share that it’s all part of the guest experience even before that, that traveler steps foot in your lobby. Something we talk about on this podcast all the time about how the experience is now blending more and more to online and the search. And you can start impacting how that guest feels about your property prior to them putting the key card into the room. Which I think is what you’re saying, where it’s become more now. It, it can’t just be a clean room, a hot shower. Right, right. Which was the old, the old phrase. So, and mission accomplished on your end, Jennifer. ’cause uh, the Beatrice has earned some really impressive recognitions. You guys are number one hotel on still one of the most trusted sources of guest feedback, trip advisor number six in the entire northeast for the Conde Nas Traveler Awards. Can you speak a little bit, uh, about these recognitions and the effort that you and your team are putting forth to earn them?

Jennifer Curtin :
Yes, absolutely. These, these accolades and, and these rankings are something we’re so proud of. And I will say, you know, it’s a result of the hard work and the dedication that goes in from the entire team every single day. You know, the biggest thing about winning these awards is you really have to deliver consistently, you know, so it is delivering amazing, exceptional service to every guest every single day. And so that’s, that’s where it gets challenging, is that consistency. And so being able to have that is what really has these accolades follow and really give the, the recognition to that hard work that goes in every single day from our entire team. So we’re really proud of these, you know, and for us it’s also about not getting complacent, you know, this industry, it moves very quickly. There’s always new things, there’s always new trends. And so what worked last year might not work this year, or, you know, what was relevant six months ago might already start to phase itself out. And so really being relevant, being innovative, you know, you really have to kind of be a little bit ahead of the, the curve or ahead of the time back to Beatrice. Um, so we’re really focused on that, you know, implementing new things that we’re seeing kind of trending in the market, if you will, or maybe even ahead of a trend, you know, so we’re working on a few different projects right now, one being a wellness menu, and so wellness being a huge focus, in everyone’s lives right now. Finding ways to have a curated menu of whether it be pillows or sleep enhancements, whether it’s a sound machine or a diffuser. Um, so a few different things, and back to, you used a word that I love, personalized. You know, we are always trying to personalize our guest experience. And so that’s really where you take a hotel from being just meeting the mark, you know, clean all the amenities, but once you start to personalize it, and that’s when you can really take it to the next level. And these accolades, you know, are a testament to exactly that. And, and that goes in every single day from the team.

Ryan Embree:
Absolutely. That’s where a hotel stay becomes an experience that sticks with you, right? Is that personalization, you know, and you talk about the fast changing trends. I mean, we’re a digital marketing podcast, no stranger to how quickly these things can move in and out. And we talk to our audience all the time about looking at data, looking at how things are working, the response you’re getting from your guests, both online and in person, and tweaking, making changes based on that feedback. So very, very important. But you mentioned consistency. One of the most consistent things I’ve seen online about your property, Jennifer, is the experience people have at the rooftop, the Bellini rooftop. I love this series because I think it gives an inside picture to someone that gets to have this experience every single day. Myself, some of the listeners might not be able to, hopefully we’re able to see the Beatrice and, and be a part of that experience one day. But paint a picture for those that haven’t been to your property about what that feeling, what that vibe is, you know, maybe at a golden hour at, at the rooftop, at that food and beverage outlet for you.

Jennifer Curtin :
Yeah, so the Bellini Rooftop, it’s a really special place. So it’s a private membership club, and as a hotel guest, you have access to that space throughout your stay. So, you know, it’s on our top floor again, we’re right in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. And so that view is iconic and amazing in itself. The space, it’s extremely intimate. It’s a small space, just like the rest of the building, very intentional. All of the decor is custom. Everything from handmade terra floors to wood paneling walls, which were handmade by a local yacht builder in Newport, Rhode Island. So just that in itself, you walk in and it’s just, it, it takes your breath away. It’s beautiful. The furniture, it’s all designed by Ignacio Tripani, and so, you know, bright colors, you know, the bar is, is pink with a gold accent on the bottom. So it’s a really beautiful, intimate space. And with it being, you know, a private membership club and hotel guests having access to it, the level of service is extremely intimate and personalized as well. Uh, so you can expect, I mean, our, our team, they know all of their members by name. They know where they like to sit in the club. We have both indoor and outdoor seating, and, you know, they know what their go-to, uh, beverages, you know, they, they know what their preferences are. And for our hotel guests, you know, something that we’re really big on, you know, you can count on the team knowing if it’s a couple celebrating an anniversary, or if it’s a girl’s weekend celebrating a birthday. You know, that is all learned during our reservation process, our fact finding process, and it’s shared with the entire team so that we can really have that embedded into our level of service. And so that’s a really special place. Um, you know, as I mentioned, indoor and outdoor seating. So this is the time of the year, you know, spring heading into summer where it really turns into a magical place. You touched on it, golden hour. I mean, it’s, we get this beautiful sunset every afternoon up there, and so there’s truly no better place to be in providence than on that rooftop.

Ryan Embree:
Certainly done a great job of painting the picture there. Uh, when it comes to that rooftop and something we’re gonna talk about next, I’m sure it’s a very Instagrammable moment and somewhere that a lot of your guests members are taking pictures of sharing online, which helps obviously expand the brand, right? And, and tell that story that you’re trying to get out there. Talk to us. You know, I wanted you to compliment you and your team. You guys have a fantastic social media following. If you’re not already, go to their Instagram go to their social media outlets, follow, talk to us a little bit about the importance of creating a social strategy to kind of set the table for that story that you’re sharing. You’ve packed, we’re 20 minutes in, you’ve packed so much information in this. How do you get that information to a traveler using outlets like social media?

Jennifer Curtin :
Social is is so important to us. We put a lot of time and energy into social. We have some amazing partners, um, you know, Maverick Creative from a PR standpoint and ABD agency, um, from a marketing agency. And so together as a team, a lot of resources go into our social, uh, we’re very, you know, tuned into the importance of influencers and the power that an influencer can have, you know, both locally and nationally. You know, one of our, our biggest goals is to continue to get the Beatrice and Providence Rhode Island on the map nationally. And so doing that through influencers and through lifestyle content that is so powerful. And I always go back to, you know, everyone is scrolling social media, and so being able to sublimity put on on their minds the possibility of spending the next weekend that they wanna do a, a vacation here in Providence at the Beatrice is so important. And the way to do that is, of course, having a beautiful website with still photos and depicting what the guest rooms in the public spaces look like, but really showing what does that Rooftop Club look like on a Friday night when we have live jazz music and, you know, it’s golden hour and the sun is setting, and we have, you know, a fresh spring cocktail menu that’s, that’s getting launched. Um, so we spend a lot of time and energy into that, and it, it really, it plays a big part in the success of a property nowadays.

Ryan Embree:
Yeah, I mean, from inspiration to booking, I mean, social media is such a huge part. You make a great point though, Jennifer, that I share with my audience about those pictures. Sometimes obviously we need to, to let the guests know what our rooms look like, what our amenities look like, but I think a true genuine feeling that you get is what that feeling is, or that vibe is when there’s other people’s a part of the, you know, the Bellini rooftop, right? So they can almost feel like, oh, I can imagine myself there. Uh, and it doesn’t just look like an empty rooftop bar. So there’s some things that you can do in order to kind of set guest expectations of like, when you walk in here, you’re going to see this beautiful check-in area, this lobby, you’re gonna be greeted by service. I mean, one of the things I most enjoyed when I was behind the front desk was people recognizing me from my TripAdvisor reviews, right? Oh, you’re the, the famous Ryan from the front desk. Now you already feel like they’re a part of the guest experience is what in what we’re talking about. So just great points there. You know, know the Beatrice has, other than the rooftop has a number of unique amenities and features. One of those that really caught my eye was the snack attendant package. We’ve talked a lot about personalization on this podcast so far. For those who aren’t familiar, talk to us a little bit about what this snack attendant packages and the feedback that you’re getting from guests.

Jennifer Curtin :
Absolutely. So the snack attention, you know, I will say this, this really stemmed from something that we saw kind of trending in the guest experience journey of traveling. And so everyone of course, needs to dine when they’re traveling. And so we’re finding that yes, you know, having a great sit down meal is still important to travelers, but also that kind of snack in between. And so taking that to the next level, you know, and so our snack attendant package allows guests to add that onto their stay. And so maybe it’s a guest that has a late flight in and, you know, we’ll miss the restaurant hours on their first night of the stay, you know, they can have this, uh, custom snack waiting for them in the guest room. And so we send a survey if they elect, you know, to book this snack attendant package. We have our concierge, our snack concierge reach out to this guest and run through a survey with them, you know, so everything from, are you a sweet or savory type of snacker, do you like multiple different items in your snack or do you want just one particular item? And so we go through these series of questions to figure out what type of snacker they are, and then we come back and we have custom snack packages that we put together, and we’ll have waiting in the guest room for them. And so it’s been a really fun addition to the guest experience. People are really loving it, and it’s filling that void of, you know, kind of in between sit down meals. And so it’s really making something what could be just bland and boring into something really fun and creative. So we’re having a lot of fun with that. It recently got featured in Food and Wine Magazine, and so we’re really proud of that. And then look to continue that and again, keeping it relevant seasonally, we’ll be changing that out and coming up with, you know, different options for our guests.

Ryan Embree:
What a delight that must be for a guest, because I would imagine depending on when you’re booking, you know, you might forget that you had done that survey, right? And then you walk in and you see these snacks that you curated for them and, and it matches everything that you’re looking for. I’m sure that is something that really surprises and, and hopefully your guests enjoy. But at the very core of this, I think it does something really important. I think you learn more about your guests, and anytime we can learn more about your guests, you can implement into other phases, right? So if you’re seeing a big trend with your guests, maybe that’s incorporated into your F&B , you know, saying like, we’re seeing all these guests really like these sweet, kind of sweet treats. Maybe we do some sort of cocktail or mocktail that kind of mirrors that at the, at the core of this, again, I think it’s really important that you’re learning about your guests and implementing these things. So super, super smart at you and your team put that together. So here we are, we’re in the spring, as you alluded to earlier, temperatures starting to rise up. We’re starting to see travel pick up, which is fantastic for all of our hotel listeners out there. That summer travel season will be here. Before we know it, that fast summer travel season, what does The Beatrice have in store for travelers this spring and summer?

Jennifer Curtin :
Absolutely. So spring is a really exciting time for us. Um, we kick off our alfresco dining, uh, so both on the rooftop and lobby level, the Bellini restaurant. Um, so that is a, a huge hit really all through Providence, uh, Alfresco dining, I think I touched on it, but we partner with the water fire experience that takes place here in Providence. And so we put together a VIP water fire experience where our guests can take the gondola ride down the river and, you know, has a little bit of a connection, uh, to Venice and the inspiration behind Bellini being our restaurant partner. So it’s, it’s a really exciting time. Um, you know, spring menus we get really excited and, and motivated about fun new seasonal cocktails for both the rooftop and Bellini restaurants. So we’re excited. Uh, everything, you know, definitely starts to come alive here in the spring and summer.

Ryan Embree:
Yeah, I preach to my audience is about collaborating with local businesses. We’ve talked about the importance of having a local flare in your experience, but you know, being able to use those local experiences, partnering with them, because that’s a shared segment that you have, you know, and especially coming back to social media, online reviews, you know, those are places where you might have some references to both, where you could share a picture from that, that VIP experience. They can repost it, and you’re getting kind of some exponential brand awareness between the both of your businesses. It’s a win-win for everyone. So love that you that you’ve partnered with some of those local businesses there in Providence. This might be my favorite part of the Spotlight series. Some rapid fire questions to get to know you, Jennifer and the Beatrice a little bit better for our audience out there. So, favorite view on property?

Jennifer Curtin :
Favorite view would have to be sitting on the rooftop in the outdoor patio section. Just it, when it’s starting to turn to dusk, it’s really beautiful out there.

Ryan Embree:
Yeah, I mean, you painted that picture a little bit earlier that felt like it was a little bit hard to beat. Favorite fun fact about the property?

Jennifer Curtin :
I love to share with people. So we have a big grand long lobby that you walk into, and there’s a gorgeous chandelier hanging above the front desk. And so it’s a unique lobby and, it kind of catches people dead in their tracks a little bit. But my favorite fact to share with them is that actually used to be an alleyway in between two buildings. And so that was converted into the lobby. And so on one side of the lobby, you have the original back to the historic building, you have the original exterior brick from that 1887 exchange building. And then, then on the other side, you’re looking at this beautiful, modern, brand new hotel lobby. So that’s a really fun fact that I like to share with people.

Ryan Embree:
I’m sure it’s a big aha moment, you know, when you’re explaining to them at the front desk that you’re actually standing in what used to be an alleyway, and then they kind of connect the dots there in front of you.

Jennifer Curtin :
That’s exactly what happens. So it’s really fun to see that happen.

Ryan Embree:
I’m sure. Favorite signature dish at the property?

Jennifer Curtin :
Favorite signature dish would have to be the carpaccio. And so the Cipriani family actually invented that dish, uh, back in Venice, and so they have perfected that and it’s definitely my favorite.

Ryan Embree:
So you’re, you’re saying favorite dish up there, maybe the favorite view that, that probably would be a great combination, I’m imagining, right?

Jennifer Curtin :
Yes. That is an amazing Friday or Saturday afternoon.

Ryan Embree:
Yeah, I can imagine. Last one, favorite piece of art at the property?

Jennifer Curtin :
Favorite piece of art. So we have a few great ones but we have a beautiful mosaic of Beatrice right in our lobby. So it’s a handmade mosaic that was made actually over in Italy, um, and shipped over to us. And it’s beautiful. Um, and it’s really, again, with that whole experience walking into the lobby between the grand chandelier that’s hanging in this mosaic of Beatrice, it’s really a special moment for guests when they walk through that lobby.

Ryan Embree:
Sure. And I’m sure a wonderful reminder to your team too, you know, as you practice the service that you do every day of the level of service, and expectation and experience you’re trying to give to guests at the property. And speaking of this as we wrap up, you know, being the general manager, I’d love to to kind of hear in your own words, you know, when somebody walks out, it’s that moment where they check out, you know, invoices paid, all that good stuff they’re about to set on their travels. When they walk out those doors, what do you want them to say or feel as they walk out after they check out of The Beatrice?

Jennifer Curtin :
Yeah, for me, it’s, it’s really about, um, having that deeper personalized connection. And, you know, we have so many repeat guests, whether it’s they travel to Providence, weekly for business meetings, or maybe they have a student at one of the local universities, both Brown University, Rizz University, Johnson Wells, they’re all just steps from the hotel. So we have a lot of families, a lot of business travelers that come often. And my goal, and what I want them to feel like is that we’re really making this home for them. This is home away from home. And so that goes back to fact finding about our guests, you know, having a guest profile about where they like to be located in the hotel, maybe what their entree is that they always order when they sit down in Bellini, what type of pillows they like, just so that we can be one step ahead of them the next time they walk through the doors. Our goal is if there’s something that they always order or they always request, we wanna have that notated so that we can already have it in the room waiting for them when they check back in with us. And so the moment we have that going and they get to leave, feeling confident that this is the place they’re gonna return to on their next travels is really rewarding and, and what we’re trying to achieve.

Ryan Embree:
Yeah, absolutely. Well, it sounds like you provide such a customized, personalized experience over there at The Beatrice, so congratulations to you and your team on all the awards and recognitions and hope to be able to make my way up there. And, you know, I’ll read a couple of those be about the town guides before I do to, to try to make the most of my trip. So, well, we covered a lot in this episode. Any final thoughts today?

Jennifer Curtin :
No, thank you so much for having me, Ryan.

Ryan Embree:
Thank you so much for joining us, Jennifer, and we will talk to you next time on the Suite Spot. Thank you. To join our loyalty program, be sure to subscribe and give us a five star rating on iTunes. Suite Spot is produced by Travel Media Group. Our editor is Brandon Bell with Cover Art by Bary Gordon. I’m your host Ryan Embree, and we hope you enjoyed your stay.

0 Comments