You might say this company has a zest for hotel life. Joie de Vivre Hospitality operates boutique hotels, with more than 30 properties in California, many of which are in the San Francisco Bay area. Hotels include Hotel Rex, featuring a book-lined lounge inspired by 1930s literary salons, and Phoenix Hotel, a funky San Francisco landmark that is frequented by entertainers and celebrities. (So much so that it is known as the "rock 'n roll hotel.") Some properties feature spa facilities and upscale restaurants. Chip Conley founded Joie de Vivre in 1987. John Pritzker, son of Hyatt Hotels Corporation founder Jay Pritzker, owns a majority of the firm. The company is joining Thompson Hotels to form JT Hospitality.
Pritzker owns his stake in the company through Geolo Capital, the private equity investment arm of the Pritzker family. Geolo bought a majority stake in the company in 2010 after Joie De Vivre had been searching for investors to gain capital for growing the company outside California. The deal fits with Geolo's strategy of investing in hospitality assets; the investment firm is looking for hotel acquisitions with long term potential.
After the deal closed, Joie De Vivre adopted a new acquisition program; the company plans to increase its portfolio to include about 50 hotels by the end of 2015. Its first major acquisition was the 250-room Custom Hotel in Los Angeles. For future growth, the company is targeting popular tourist markets such as Hawaii and Manhattan, as well as gateway cities such as Denver and Miami. In 2011 it announced plans to combine its holdings with 12 luxury hotels operated by New York-based Thompson Hotels. Such properties include five in New York City, two in Los Angeles, one in Toronto, and one slated to open later in London.
Current properties in the Joie de Vivre collection were created by using magazines as inspiration. For example, the Phoenix Hotel is based on Rolling Stone, while Wired was the model for Hotel Avante in Silicon Valley, which is often frequented by Google employees. Other source material includes Dwell (featuring sleek, modern design) and Real Simple (which targets readers seeking a "life made easier"). – less