The Art Of Hospitality: Robert Santucci of RockStar Hotels
LuxeGetaways Magazine recently had the pleasure of connecting with Mr. Robert Santucci, CEO of RockStar Hotels. A relatively new brand to enter the hotel marketplace of unique boutique hotel collections, RockStar Hotel’s portfolio reflects the diversity of top destinations around the world; and coupled with properties that offer the traveler a contemporary experience in exceptional surroundings.
Say for example that you want to stay in Venice, Italy. Not wishing to be bombarded by the crowds, you look for something luxurious but also with history, elegance, style and impeccable personalized service – a place that you can enjoy while exploring the city.
Thanks to RockStar Hotels, you would find PalazzinaG, a five-star hotel of only 16 rooms and 6 suites overlooking the Grand Canal and designed by Philippe Starck, With interior spaces that are a chic interpretation of grand Venetian style; and rooms accented in mirrors and glass, artwork and artistic furnishings, you could certainly settle into the luxury here. Everywhere a jewel to the eye; the hotel is light, bright and beautiful. The outdoor spaces are equally inspired by the grandeur of Venice, and some hotel rooms come with a private balcony that could prove most romantic. RockStar Hotels also place a high priority on dining, with most offering exceptional restaurants that entice guests to stick around and enjoy a drink or dinner with them. PalazzinaG is no exception, and the fine dining offerings here reflect Venice’s rich culinary heritage and position as a crossroad of the world.
LuxeGetaways: It is wonderful to be able to talk with you about RockStar Hotels Robert. We know that as a child you took particular interest in traveling. Could you tell us what ignited that passion?
Robert Santucci: At a young age, I, like most people, felt less inhibited with travel and the unknown. Walking the streets as a child and interacting with the locals created memories that have lasted a lifetime. I still think and talk about those experiences from 35 years ago like they were yesterday. They are what ignited my lifelong love of travel.
LG: With over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, from marketing, general management and operations; how has this depth of experience lead you to form RockStar Hotels? And how did you select the name “RockStar”?
RS: When we were deciding on the name of the company, our goal was to find one that simultaneously describes both our guests and our properties. The definition of a Rockstar is “someone that is renowned and revered, and recognized as the best in their industry. They live life to the fullest, and infuse their own unique flavor into everything they do.” When you look at this definition, it depicts what we look for in a property, and our belief that our guests are all rockstars.
LG: The RockStar Hotels portfolio is impressive with hotels in Europe, the Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe. Where else are you expanding? What are your criteria for selecting a hotel or property that you’d like to work with?
RS: Our plan for the next 12 months includes growth into Asia, the Caribbean, and North America. Over the next five years, we plan to identify a RockStar property in every part of the world.
LG: Your website is different than any other hotelier’s website. For the traveler you unfold a unique story with each hotel offering. Tell us about the premise and how did that idea arise? Is this style, along with your name geared for a certain demographic?
RS: My goal is to transport the prospective traveler into the dreams and fantasies that we create in our writing. We often read something and imagine we are the “he” or “she” in the story. My goal is to share my experiences and dreams with the prospective guest to help them realize that RockStar Hotels can actually make them a reality.
LG: With your background in the many facets of hospitality, is there a basic tenet each of your properties must have?
RS: An individual works in hospitality because he or she cares about the guests, and wishes to do everything possible to ensure a great experience. Each RockStar property is similarly focused on the guest. I have built a company with key executives with 20+ years in hospitality, and our aim is to create memorable experiences that last a lifetime. The phrase I tell our staff and properties on a daily basis is “the best souvenirs a guest can take home are their memories.” Creating that unique, one-of-a-kind memory is the goal of all properties in our portfolio, present and future.
LG: What is your vision for RockStar Hotels for the future?
RS: Nowadays, we are saturated with information, and prospective guests may not know what to believe when choosing a property. I see RockStar Hotels becoming the recognized certification for a hotel’s quality, and a standard for complete ease in making a reservation. We hand-select hotels and extend invitations for them to join our collection, provided they meet all of the criteria. After a hotel becomes part of the portfolio, our goal is to revisit each property three or four times per year to ensure that they maintain the standard for which they received the initial invitation. We would never want a guest to be disappointed, or report to us that a product is not up to par. We essentially want the guest to feel confident that each property has been “Rockstar Certified.”
LG: Do you have a favorite place in the world where you like to unwind and relax?
RS: To quote Audrey Hepburn, “Paris is always a good idea!” I was fortunate enough to spend time in Paris at a young age, and I fell in love with it. When you travel with an open mind and immerse yourself in the local culture, you don’t have to search for the experiences – they always find you.
LG: Do you have any personal travel tips for staying at RockStar Hotels for our readers?
RS: Travel tips vary depending on the destination, but here are three that seem to always apply:
- Get lost in a city – it’s the best way to explore. Don’t worry about taking the direct route to your location. Always make that turn to the unknown!
- Speak to locals, and show them that you are interested in living life the way they do. They’re always happy to make recommendations!
- Book with RockStar Hotels (of course) to make sure that you are planning the best and most memorable travel experiences. All our hotels are likeminded and offer something special, so you can’t go wrong no matter which destination and property you choose.