Wednesday, July 26, 2017

[UPDATE] The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead Loses its General Manager

ToNeTo Atlanta exclusively reported this past May that The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead was likely being sold and re-flagged.  In the months since, some details have become clear.  Come this holiday season, there will likely not be a "The Ritz-Carlton Hotel" in Buckhead.  
The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead mid-renovation last month 

Well placed sources indicate that the hotel is due to change "management" by September 7th, with the property expected to be re-flagged as a hotel under Marriott's "The Luxury Collection" banner, potentially as soon as September 20th.   Earlier talk of Hilton's upscale brand Conrad Hotels potentially replacing the Buckhead property has cooled significantly.  

Host Hotels & Resorts, the current owner of The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, will reportedly retain its ownership of the hotel.  

Erwin Schinnerl, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead since 2011, departed the Buckhead hotel for the company's downtown Atlanta property.  Despite having reportedly pledged to the ladies and gentlemen of the hotel that he would stay at the Buckhead property until the expected re-flagging in September, Schinnerl's last day at The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead was this past Friday, July 21. 

Schinnerl, a 16 year veteran of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel company, reportedly sought senior roles with The Ritz and other hotel brands within the Marriott International portfolio, but was unsuccessful in those attempts.  Schinnerl leaves The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead a few short months after the once legendary hotel lost its fifth diamond for a second straight year under his leadership.    

It remains to be seen whether the downtown The Ritz-Carlton Hotel will be converted to a JW Marriott as was earlier suggested, but sources say that a complete renovation of the property is planned in the coming months. 

Manuel Deisen had been General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta since January 2012, but left the company this past April when he was appointed General Manager of the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center.  

James E. McManemon, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida, is being brought in to the manage the Buckhead property until the management transition in September.  McManemon, a 25 year veteran of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, joined the Amelia Island property in November 2011 as its General Manager.  In addition to his responsibilities at the Amelia Island property, McManemon was the Interim General Manager at The Ritz-Carlton, New York Central Park from June 2016 through November 2016 and at The Ritz-Carlton, Washington from January 2015 through April 2015.

The Luxury Collection, a "brand" which was incorporated into the Marriott portfolio following the company's 2016 acquisition of Starwood Property Group, is similar to Marriott's "Autograph Collection," but is meant to only include "luxury" properties. 

Downtown Atlanta's Glenn Hotel, on Marietta Street near CNN Center, is part of the Autograph Collection.  

There are currently no hotels in Georgia under "The Luxury Collection" banner.  The Ballantyne, in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the closest property (geographically) to Buckhead in "The Luxury Collection." 

The Ballantyne, which opened in the fall of 2001, features 208 guest rooms and an 18 hole golf course: The Golf Club at The Ballantyne.  

As I've previously reported, The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead is currently undergoing an extensive, multi-million dollar renovation of its lobby bar and restaurant space.  While locals have equated the limited exterior improvements to "putting lipstick on a pig," the hotel's new restaurant, Trade Root, is expected to be a significant improvement over its prior offering "The Cafe."  

There is no word as of yet as to whether a rooms renovation is planned as part of the renovation, but the 34 year old hotel could use a facelift, inside and out.  If and when a renovation does take place, the hotel is likely to reduce the overall number of rooms through some combination of enlarging rooms and/or enlarging their ninth floor spa.  

As I reported in May, a number of rooms division and executive level ladies and gentlemen left The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead over the past few months.  Sources close to the hotel indicate that select remaining ladies and gentlemen in leadership roles or those with tenure with the company are being offered severance pay.  

It's unclear what, if anything, prospective clients for weddings, meetings and other hotel events are being told as it relates to what the hotel will be called come this fall.   Many ladies and gentlemen of the sales and marketing team have reportedly indicated they plan to remain on board at the hotel for the foreseeable future.  

Are you surprised that The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead is going away?  Have you ever stayed at a "The Luxury  Collection" hotel?  What is your favorite Atlanta area hotel?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

Great Report. Will be interesting to see how the restaurant and bar turn out.

Chris Heiden said...

JW seems unlikely as there is the one less than a quarter mile attached to Lenox mall. Standalone Marriott across the street and finally the new AC at Phipps. My guess would it because a non-named marriott property and take the autograph name.

JTR said...

Your personal obsessions and vendettas are getting tiresome. It's clear you have it out for this place and can barely suppress your glee. Also, for someone who whines when companies aren't transparent with him, the fact that you don't mention in this piece that YOU USED TO WORK AT THIS HOTEL is totally hypocritical. It's the sort of thing that should disqualify you from writing objectively about it.

Anonymous said...

How many times can you say "ladies and gentlemen"? What a weird phrasing to use.

Anonymous said...

The Buckhead Ritz renaming under the Marriott flag seems like a good fit to be more of a "Reinassance Hotel" property similar to Cumberland Parkway. I've stayed there years ago and while it was a little dated at the time, it was in tiptop shape and perhaps just one step below a proper Ritz Carlton. Keyword here is proper. That said, I haven't seen anyone talk about the conversion of the Hyatt Perimeter at Villa Christina , to a Hyatt Regency. I have stayed there as well and always wondered why it did not have a more luxury flag. They've worked hard and deserve this designated upgrade. If anyone has additional information on this conversion it would be interesting given the escalating boom in the luxury hotel market in the perimeter area.

Anonymous said...

Anon to anon -- Ladies and Gentlemen is the standard way that the RC refers to it's employees. Their motto is "Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen."

Anonymous said...

Anon to anon to anon -- this isn't an RC press release, so why cop their phrasing? The fealty to corporatese is gross.

Anonymous said...

Anon to Anon to anon to anon ...
Not one of you has the $$$ to be a RC guest. Stop the faux outrage. No one is buying it.

Coolio said...

Seems to me that someone who worked at a place is uniquely qualified to say something about it, as they have been on the inside. I agree with Anon @ 12:25: those who are throwing stones are probably the same ones who will NEVER be on the inside of a RC. If you think you can do a better job, start your own competing blog. But I won't hold my breath waiting on that.

Unknown said...

Being a frequent patron of the Ritz for many years, the decision by the general manager,Mr. Schimmel, to remove all elegance from the lobby bar and the lobby area in general was in my opinion the downfall of the elegant Ritz-Carlton of Buckhead The general manager chose to put Walmart type paintings with poor framed images of dead trees in the lobby area. Poor taste and poor decisions by the management is reflective of the downfall in their business.

Unknown said...

Over the many years that I have been a patron of the Ritz-Carlton I am glad to see Herr Direktor Shimmerl leave. The Lost Elegance of the Ritz was I believe due solely to him. When he approved taking down all the beautiful antique paintings and replacing them with Walmart framed dead trees and dead forests I knew that the Elegance of the lobby and the lobby bar for which the hotel was famous had died. He and whomever he consulted with had destroyed a beautiful landmark in Buckhead

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