Chris Adams
Chris Adams | Foto: Chris Adams

Chris Admas: Luxury Hospitality Expert

Por: Karen Limón

24, November, 2021 en Luxclub


You have been a luxury expert within the hospitality industry for many years now. Can you describe what the entire experience has been like?

It’s been an evolution. I say that because over the past 20 years of doing this, what has evolved are consumer expectations and what people believe luxury is. If you look at luxury now, luxury is not necessarily about a price point or a label, as much as it is a feeling and an experience. If you looked at the luxury experience 20 plus years ago, the experience was the fine dining restaurant that required a suit to come in. Whereas now a luxury experience can be the CEOs of companies wearing designer jeans. It’s transformed and evolved in a very good way. It really reflects on who the consumer is, what they’re looking for, and truly the experience that is attached to it. I always say, and I will continue to say, whether it was 20 years ago or now, luxury is about a feeling. It’s a matter of what feeling the consumer is looking for since it has evolved and is different from what it was.

What encouraged you to become a luxury expert and launch Ellis Adams Group?

When I first started with the Ritz Carlton Hotel, I had no idea what luxury was. But I knew how it made me feel when I sat in the culture training of what Ritz Carlton is, and I never wanted to lose what that feeling was. I knew at that moment that that was where I was supposed to be, and I took it and ran with it. I worked very hard to evolve with the industry, to try and push the envelope, to be ahead of the curve. It all started honestly sitting in that room those first few days of culture training. What they said and what they embodied as a brand resonated with me. I feel the same today as I did on that very first day when it gave me that feeling, and that’s what’s exciting for me.

Describe a significant lesson regarding hospitality you have learned in your career.

The biggest lesson is never to forget why we do what we do. Hospitality is about them, not us. It’s about taking care of others. It’s about creating a moment and feeling for others, putting smiles on people’s faces, and creating memories for them. It’s crazy because when you think about luxury, there is typically a lot of ego involved in that. True luxury is about having a heart for others and ensuring that everything you do is about their experience and not about you. By creating that moment for them, by seeing that smile on their face, by creating that memory for a family – that’s what makes you smile, and that’s what gives you the satisfaction, the excitement, and the passion to continue to do it.

Chris Adams photoshoot
Chris Adams photoshoot

Your company, Ellis Adams Group, has completed several successful projects since its launch. What is your personal favorite project?

I like to view the projects as my children. No one is ever going to point out who their favorite child is. You love all of them equally for different reasons, and I think that that would be my response to this. For each one of the projects that we get to be involved with or create, there’s something very unique and special about each one of them that you’re able to pinpoint and bring out. With the launch of Vaso in Dublin, Ohio – an area that I’ve never even heard of or spent much time at – we created this concept. That concept is still successful three years later, with the bar rated as one of the best bars in the city and nominated as one of the best bars in America. Those are the things that excite you and make each individual project truly unique.

How do you think luxury plays a role in improving someone’s mental state?

Luxury is a feeling. When you’re having a bad day, you do retail therapy. There is actually some data and logic behind that. When you go to the mall to buy a new outfit, it can make you feel better. It affects your psyche. When you think about luxury, and there is plenty of data to support this, luxury is that feeling. When you walk into a store – whether to buy a pair of shoes at Christian Louboutin or a purse at Gucci – to make that purchase, it affects how you feel. It affects how you stand, how you walk when you leave that store. You walk out differently than how you walked in. It changes your physiology.

When you think about luxury as a whole in hospitality, and it’s not only about a single purchase like in retail, you’re staying three, four, five days at a resort or a luxury city hotel. It’s now about a total experience. I need you to have that feeling for five days straight, which means that every piece of interaction that happens for that guest at that resort needs to feel luxurious at all times. It’s a start-to-finish, 360-degree experience. It’s not about a single purchase, it’s about when you pull up to the front drive, and you’re experiencing the bellman or the valet. What does it feel like when you open the doors for the first time? What does it smell like? What is the aroma? What is the feeling that it gives you? Every single touchpoint throughout your stay has to have that same luxury feeling, as it does as you go and buy a single item at retail. That’s a pretty big ask to create from start to finish, but that’s what makes luxury so special. Every single person that is involved has a passion to create those types of moments – whether you’re a steward, a housekeeper, a front desk agent, a bartender. Everyone should have that same excitement and passion to ensure that every single guest interaction creates that feeling throughout their stay. That’s what makes luxury so special.

As a luxury expert, what are some simple luxuries you incorporate in your personal spaces, such as your home or your own office?

I’m big on minimalism and being very simplistic. On a personal level, I don’t like clutter in my home. I like everything having its place. I’m extremely organized. Whether it’s the kitchen counter or anywhere in my house, it’s making sure that everything is purposeful. That’s very luxury. Everything has a purpose and a place, and there’s nothing haphazard about anything in my home. I would say the same thing about our offices. I want to make sure that when you walk into either my home or office, the space creates that feeling. It’s very much the same way you would in a luxury hotel. I may not have the same finishes or fixtures I would put into a Ritz Carlton or St. Regis, but I still want to create that same feeling when you walk into those kinds of spaces. It’s being purposeful about the decor and the type of furniture that we’re using. I want to put a smile on their faces as they walk in. There should be a wow factor.

What are some simple luxuries people can incorporate within their own homes that can help liven their space up?

First, figure out what makes you happy – whether it’s a color palette or a style. Once you figure that out, you don’t need to go to super expensive places to find cool pieces. There’s a lot of places where you can find unique accent furniture. Simply changing the color of a wall or even putting a texture on a wall can liven a space up. Adding a piece of furniture that helps declutter or the correct shelving into your pantry so you can organize properly, you’d be surprised how much it can open your space up. Look for those opportunities, and it will make it feel like a completely different space.