Who: Jennifer Rubell
Company: Rubell Hotels
Has held title for: About 1 year
Previous title: Co-owner, Rubell Hotels
Degree: BA in fine arts, Harvard University
Luxury hotels don't have to be stuffy. At the Rubell Hotels (the Albion and the Greenview, both in Miami), guests experience a casual kind of style — one that Jennifer Rubell (a niece of the late Steve Rubell, of Studio 54 fame) calls a "good vibe": "The vibe is about how people feel inside a space. My job is to intensify the vibe, to make hotels feel like home."
What does a good vibe feel like?
It's a feeling of warmth, of playfulness. The vibe encompasses the kind of intimate charm that exists in people, rather than the formal charm that's associated with old-school hotels.
How do you direct this vibe?
We provide both the psychological and the physical comforts of home. What matters most is the sincerity of our staff, whose interaction with guests is uniquely personal. Our guests receive many small gifts, including notes on their pillow every night and a citrine stone (an ancient symbol of creativity, calm, and joy) upon departure.
How would you compare your vibe with that of Studio 54?
Our vibe is a direct antithesis to the spirit of exclusion that prevailed at Studio 54. But at a personal level, my uncle had a deep understanding of hospitality, which he passed on to me.
A version of this article appeared in the JulyAugust 1999 issue of Fast Company magazine.