Hotel Online  Special Report


The Landmark Sam Houston Hotel in Houston to be the
Prototype for Tim Miller's New Brand - Alden Hotels


August 23, 2005 - The time is ripe for a bold new generation of hotels that offer more than simply the sophisticated modern style: hotels that seamlessly combine that style with real substance, hotels which are literally brought to "life" by genuinely warm and gracious staff who forge personal connections with guests and embody the spirit of "Easy Living." Alden Hotels, which will launch this September, are the archetype of this new generation: a fresh breed of hotels which are a direct reflection of our lives and how we choose to live. The hotels exemplify the lives we all seek to create for ourselves: the unpretentious, "easy living" environment to which we naturally gravitate, informed by a smart, savvy, cosmopolitan sensibility.

The name "Alden" has a rich heritage as part of the English language. It translates to "old friend"- which is exactly how Alden will treat every guest - like an "old friend," greeting them with open arms and a warm embrace. At Alden, it's as if we are personally welcoming guests into our own home. This tradition re p resents the very essence of hospitality.

The launch of Alden Hotels marks the beginning of a new chapter in hospitality. As travelers are no longer willing to settle for style without substance, Alden provides the answer to 'what's missing in the marketplace.' In contrast to the mass market chains and boutique hotels, Alden Hotels offer each guest a friendly face and the warmth of the human touch. At Alden you will experience unparalleled service that is world-class - yet a world apart from the stiff, sterile white glove service of old-world hotels that creates distance between guests and staff. At Alden, the emphasis is on fostering a connection between guests and staff - providing guests with an opportunity to truly express themselves and make their experience uniquely their own, rather than the cookie-cutter hotel stays so pervasive today.

The man behind this compelling new concept is Tim Miller, who spent more than 16 years working with Ian Schrager to create a collection of hotels unlike any the world had ever seen before: Morgans, Royalton, Hudson and Paramount in New York City; Mondrian in Los Angeles; Delano and The Shore Club in Miami; Sanderson and St. Martins Lane in London; and Clift in San Francisco. He brings his iconoclastic approach and entrepreneurial spirit to Alden where as President of the company he plans to build a collection of small, intimate properties, starting with the prototype which will launch in Houston in September.

"Style isn't something you buy. It's something you live. As much as it is practical in form and function, the hotel you choose should also reflect your state of mind. Alden is designed to capture your 

The Alden Houston Hotel
(formerly The Sam Houston Hotel)
1117 Prairie Street
Houston, Texas
imagination, while at the same time anticipate your every need, 24/7. And you can never underestimate the importance of the human touch. From the minute you walk through the door, you'll feel a warmth reminiscent of a small town in the middle of one of the nation's largest cities. Our guests will experience unparalleled service that is effortless, that anticipates your every need and makes you feel as comfortable as you would in your own home. 'Easy living' is as much about experiencing effortless service as it is about appreciating great style. After all, it's all in the details," explains Tim Miller.

Located in the heart of downtown Houston, the first Alden Hotel will feature a clean, simple, fresh design by Gary and Jane Whitney of Whitney & Whitney that is thoroughly modern yet offers a gracious nod to the hotel's historic past as a Texas landmark. When guests enter the lobby, they are enveloped in a palate of crisp cream and rich chocolate brown that creates a calming oasis that is both timeless and ever welcoming. The property features 97 guest rooms, including 9 suites, with luxurious touches such as supple brown leather padded headboards and Russian Labrador granite bathrooms that sparkle with iridescent blue granite. An open and airy second floor veranda offers a stunning setting for meetings and events, providing a view of the local skyline and overlooking Houston 's historic courthouse.

While travelers are accustomed to finding world-class hotels primarily in international gateway cities such as New York or London, Alden offers guests a welcome surprise -that same unmistakable world-class experience in the heart of downtown Houston. Following the launch of its first property in Texas, Alden Hotels looks forward to future acquisitions and expansion into a number of markets around the country. In these markets, Alden is poised to become the alternative for discerning travelers - travelers who shy away from the large impersonal chain hotels and seek a more intimate, personalized experience akin to spending time with a great "old friend," surrounded by all the comforts of modern luxury. Each Alden property will be unique in its own right with its own distinct identity. Each hotel will be informed, but not driven, by the local city since Alden's deep sense of style and "easy living" transcend any one locality. Alden Hotels will appeal to practically anyone who understands that life is more than just 'getting by' and who believes that a hotel is more than just a place to lay down your head at night -it is a reflection of who you see when you look in the mirror.

Tim Miller, President
Alden Hotels

Tim Miller, whose vision is the driving force behind Alden Hotels, brings to his position as President of the company his own unique philosophy on hospitality combined with more than 16 years of experience creating an unparalleled collection of hotels with Ian Schrager - hotels that that broke boundaries, set new standards for the entire industry and gave rise to imitators the world over.

As the Senior Vice President of Brand Management, working side-by-side with Ian Schrager for the better part of two decades, Tim Miller directed the expansion of the brand, growing it from a single hotel - Morgans - into a collection of 10 world-class properties, each of which became an icon in its own right: Morgans, Royalton, Hudson and Paramount in New York City; Mondrian in Los Angeles; Delano and The Shore Club in Miami; Sanderson and St. Martins Lane in London; and Clift in San Francisco.

Although Tim was based primarily out of the New York City corporate headquarters, each time a hotel opening was on the horizon, he relocated to the launch city to personally oversee every detail and ensure that the hotel's foray into the marketplace was a success. Tim was instrumental in positioning the hotels at the forefront of fashion and entertainment - and in developing a following for a genre of hotels that came to define an era.

After originally moving to New York City for an opportunity in television, Miller gave up a promising acting career to devote his attention full-time to building Morgans Hotel Group with Ian Schrager. In one of those rare "only in New York" happenings, he literally arrived in New York City on a Thursday, interviewed for a position at the newly opened Royalton on a Friday, and started working at the property that very weekend. He brought to his career in hospitality a keen appreciation for the theatrical which informed all of his subsequent work - In a sense, each hotel was a stage in which the cast of characters changed constantly.

Coming from a large close-knit family in a small New England town, Tim 's distinct approach to hospitality is rooted in the hometown tradition of extending a friendly welcome to all.

By starting out as a bellman at Royalton and interacting directly with guests on a daily basis, he learned every aspect of the hotel business from the bottom up. Along the way, through years of first-hand feedback, he developed razor-sharp insights into what really matters to guests.

On this foundation, was born his philosophy that every guest interaction is an opportunity to forge a personal connection that leaves a lasting impression and ultimately defines the hotel for that guest. Over the years, he cultivated a passion for perfecting the hotel experience.
Now he is stepping out on his own and unveiling Alden Hotels -- a bold new breed of hotel for the 21st century informed both by his cosmopolitan sensibilities, as well as his small town roots, where opening your doors and extending a gracious welcome is a way of life. At Alden, everyone is welcomed as an "old friend" - which is the meaning of "Alden" in early English, as well as the foundation on which the entire company is built.

Alden Hotels will be distinctly different from both the so-called "boutique" hotels and the mass market chains. In contrast, Alden will be a collection of small properties that offer guests relaxed, modern sophistication, and world-class personalized service in an environment where every guest is welcomed as though they are entering our home.

It is a brand built on the recognition that a hotel's strength is a direct reflection of the people behind it - it is the warmth and personality of its people that bring Alden to life. To ensure that Alden's staff embodies the spirit of the hotel, Tim has personally selected and hired them.

The Alden brand is simple, clean, fresh and unpretentious yet stylish and cosmopolitan. Alden is about living a life of substance - with style. Just like our guests. 


Holly Taylor / Rogers & Cowan

Also See: Downtown Houston Had Four Hotels Three Years Ago, Now There Are Fourteen; Can All These Hotels Survive? / August 2003
The Warwick Hotel, a Houston Landmark, Sold to the Owners of the Hotel ZaZa in Dallas / Arpil 2005
Houston's 5,200 Downtown Hotel Rooms May Not Exceed 60% Occupancy Until 2007 / September 2004
Benchmark Set to Open The Hotel ICON, $35-million Reinvention of Houston's Former Union National Bank Building; Includes a Jean-Georges Vongerichten Restaurant / December 2003
The Old Sam Houston Hotel, Vacant Since 1975, Getting $14 million Renovation / June 2002
Susan Ward-Freeman Named General Manager of The SAM Houston Hotel, Houston / Sept 2003

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