Jenny Ljungberg, Owner & Creative Director of The Maidstone Hotel

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Bio:

Jenny Ljungberg is a third generation entrepreneur with a passion for lifestyle living. Born in Stockholm and educated in Brussels and New York, she is a global citizen with the ambition and mission to create unique lifestyle hotels in both popular and unexplored destinations all over the world. Since the 1940's, when her grandfather Tage built his first villa, the core business of the Ljungberg family has been property development and management. The family has a longstanding history of restoring or recreating properties they love, preserving them for future generations to enjoy.

 

How did you get into the hospitality industry?

During my first year of college my best friend asked us to work together for the summer. As I was Swedish and lacking the proper work papers, I thought we could get internships at the Beaver Creek Lodge that my father had built, in Beaver Creek, Colorado for the summer, which we did. I came home at 3 am after my first shift as a bus boy in the restaurant and told my best friend that I had found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. 21 years later, it is still the only industry I have ever worked in so I stayed true to my conviction…

In such a competitive industry, how does the Maidstone stay so successful?

We realized that nobody had even tried to compete in the Hamptons. All hotels and restaurant were fairly similar and lacked a true business idea that was communicated to their guests.  They were open for business and capitalizing on the clients´ high willingness to pay. We created a Scandinavian Lifestyle Hotel that offered the guests a modern sense of luxury in an aesthetically unique and memorable atmosphere with professional staff. And allowed them to laugh, be themselves and bring their lover, their dog, their kids.  

What partnerships/marketing strategies did you implement that attributed to the success of The Maidstone?

We partnered with key local organizations such as the Hamptons International Film Festival, Guild Hall, Slow Food and Animal Rescue Fund which were all part of our own core values, and did fun events with them that strengthened both parties and put ourselves on the map as a new, fresh hotel/restaurant on the market. We also partnered with fashion designers from NY and had various fashion shows, we did photo exhibits curated by Blind Spot, had charity/benefit events for the Watermill Foundation and the LongHouse Reserve which opened up our doors to key, local people as well as their patrons from a far that come in for the summers. In addition to this, our continuous photo exhibits have attracted a lot of press and certainly carved out our own spot on the market as The design hotel out here.

Partnering with interesting Scandinavian products and suppliers such as the Hästens beds, Kronan bikes, furniture from Svenskt Tenn, fabrics by Josef Frank, glasses by Iittala helped us get a lot of press yet the rooms inspired by design gurus such as Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobsen, Verner Panton etc made the most lasting impression.

How important is location selection to the success of your hotel?

This is the first hotel that I picked purely based on its excellent location which has allowed us to focus on our brand entirely, as the guests are already coming to the Hamptons. Once I made sure, our hotel was the most interesting one on the market, we were free to price it based on that.

What qualities make a 5 Star Hotelier?

  • Driven by something greater than making money for the hotel
  • Brings her/his personality to work
  • Has charisma
  • Humble, compassionate yet driven 
  • Interested in creating a legacy
  • Respect for the client´s rights and wishes
  • Attention to detail
  • Strategic and analytical
  • Courageous
  • Spends time networking as well as with the locals
  • Enjoys being a role model

Describe the ideal customer experience at Maidstone?

A guest comes in to spend his day in our lounge with his lap top and his dog. Orders a cappuccino. Works all day, while having lunch, speaking on the phone, meeting up with friends and then picks up his child from camp. And then comes back the next day.

A gay couple comes in to celebrate their 40th birthday with their dog. Sips champagne in our couches outdoor while telling us they live in East Hampton but wanted to pamper themselves for their birthdays…

The mother starts her day with yoga in the garden while the father gets an outdoor massage. The family then spends the day at the beach, orders their lunch from our beach butler and comes back to play ping pong in our garden before enjoying dinner on our patio.

Life Motto?

Make room for beauty, love and laughter.

Favorite travel destination?

Tibet.

Role model - business and personal?

Anita Rodidck (Founder of The Body Shop) for her pioneering work against animal testing and focus on recycling.

Angelina Jolie for putting charity work on the top of her agenda while also creating a family to love on her own terms and remaining the Hollywood icon and dominant force that she is. And for using her fame in the right way by bringing light to injustices in the world and tough medical choices of her own.

What literature is on your bed stand?

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

What's next for The Maidstone and yourself?

We´re planning for a remarkable remake of our restaurant space that will alter the food and beverage scene out east.
And then my fiancé and I are getting married at the Maidstone in July which we´re thrilled about!

There are several hotel properties within the family’s portfolio. Jenny’s passion for preserving historic buildings, especially those which have had eccentric owners, her genuine interest in the hotel industry, and flair for combining the old with the new, all led Jenny to launch c/o Hotels and bring her family’s hotel business to a new level. She has a solid experience in the hotel industry after almost 20 years in the business.

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http://www.themaidstone.com/hotel/

https://www.facebook.com/themaidstone

https://twitter.com/CO_TheMaidstone

Jenny has been the Proud Owner and Creative Director of c/o Hotels since 1997. When you spot Jenny at any of her hotels, she’ll likely be trailed by her dog, Lexington. She splits her time between Stockholm, New York, the Hamptons and Los Angeles and is constantly on the lookout for c/o Hotels’ next venture.

There are several hotel properties within the family’s portfolio. Jenny’s passion for preserving historic buildings, especially those which have had eccentric owners, her genuine interest in the hotel industry, and flair for combining the old with the new, all led Jenny to launch c/o Hotels and bring her family’s hotel business to a new level. She has a solid experience in the hotel industry after almost 20 years in the business.