Originally appeared in Hotel News Now in December, 2016
Navin Dimond, founder, president and CEO of Colorado-based Stonebridge Companies, says the management and development company succeeds because of its commitment to strong relationships.
ENGLEWOOD, Colorado—When Navin Dimond founded Stonebridge Companies 25 years ago, hotels weren’t a big part of the company’s agenda.
“I am an accidental hotelier; it was not by design,” he said. “My original intentions when forming (the company) were centered more around other real estate,” such as office, retail and warehouse deals.
Over that timespan, the company has done countless deals, yet every one is distinctly unique to Dimond. Fast-forward 25 years, and now hotels are what have earned the third-party management, ownership and development company based in Colorado its mark on the industry. With more than 56 hotels comprising more than 10,000 guestrooms* nationwide and new deals constantly in the works, Dimond, the company’s president and CEO, has definitely made the most of his “accidental hotelier” status.
“Every deal, project and relationship is equally important to me,” he said. “It’s all about relationships—you are only as good as your word, and building strong relationships in all areas of your company is what I believe makes you successful.”
Strong relationships, strong brands
Good relationships aren’t just reserved for guests, Dimond said. They extend to everyone from guests to associates to owner and brand partners. They’re what has kept the company moving forward over the last 25 years, and will continue to direct it in the future, he said.
“Our primary directive has, and will always continue to be, distinguished hospitality,” Dimond said. “It is what we strive to practice every single day as we build on the previous day’s work and experience. It is what we have set as our mission to be as a company.”
Today, Stonebridge Companies has a large branded footprint and has won many awards from the likes of Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide Holdings. Relationships with brand companies have grown over the years, Dimond said, thanks to “strong partnerships built on trust, integrity and open and honest communication.”
Some highlights from the past few years include a project to repurpose a downtown Denver office building into the company’s and Colorado’s first dual-brand hotel—the Hampton Inn & Suites and Homewood Suites Denver Downtown Convention Center. That project earned Stonebridge Hilton’s Dual-Brand Developer of the Year award in 2013.
In 2014, the company converted Denver’s iconic Colorado National Bank building into its first Renaissance Hotel, the Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center hotel, which received Marriott’s 2015 Hotel of the Year award for the Renaissance brand in the western United States.
The company continues to grow beyond its home state’s borders as well. This year marked Stonebridge’s first opening in the Boston market, the Residence Inn Boston Watertown, as well as the opening of the Renaissance New York Midtown, the company’s third Marriott-branded hotel in Manhattan.
Dimond said he considers the company’s best accomplishment, however, to be its people.
“Our company now employs over 3,000 associates across the country and they deliver distinguished hospitality each and every day,” he said.
Part of that mission to deliver distinguished hospitality is keeping up with changes in the industry, the biggest of which has been technology, Dimond said.
“We are constantly evolving to stay on top of cutting-edge technology,” he said.
Those efforts help a lot when it comes to guest satisfaction, he said, and the company’s “ability to give and receive feedback … and improve each and every day.”
As the company continues to evolve to meet its guests’ needs, brand companies are doing the same, Dimond said.
“Our guests have become more diverse and, as a result, our hotel offerings need to reflect their diversity and lifestyle,” he said.
Case in point: The company is developing a 147-room Moxy hotel from Marriott in Seattle, near Amazon’s headquarters. Development has begun on the new build, which is scheduled for a 2017 opening.
While brands continue to be a huge part of Stonebridge’s strategy, Dimond said more independent hotels are definitely in the company’s future. Stonebridge currently operates the Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown, West Virginia.
“We anticipate more in the future for the appropriate locations,” he said.
When it comes to projects, Dimond said there really is no prescribed “sweet spot” for Stonebridge.
“We are all about making good decisions,” he said. “If a deal makes sense, we will do it.”
He called the company’s pipeline “exciting,” citing projects in the works in Boston; Washington, D.C.; Seattle; San Francisco; Denver; and Boulder, Colorado.
“We will continue down the same path that brought us this far, with thoughtful execution every day,” he said.