ROCK STARS OF HOSPITALITY: OUR DAY IN L.A.




If you like falling asleep to the sound of the waves when visiting LA, you can either rent a beach house just north of the city or book a suite at The Malibu Beach Inn; this recently refurbished 5* hotel is the closest to the surf anywhere along the coast. The hotel is positioned directly off PCH, at the north end of exclusive Carbon Beach, almost at the junction where the highway meets the famous pier which is now home to Malibu Farm. In fact, the hotel’s outdoor restaurant/bar overlooks the landmark pier and is the perfect place to watch the sun set as dolphins swim by just metres away. Very close by to the Malibu Beach Inn are the local attractions of Little Beach House, Nobu Malibu and the Cross Creek shopping destination. Here, Greg Day, the dashing and popular President of Hospitality for Mani Brothers Real Estate Group – owners of the hotel – gives us an insight into the Malibu lifestyle and what it takes to create a first class hotel by the sea…



  • C&B: “Greg, give us some background to the Malibu Beach Inn, your involvement and it’s recent refurbishment…”
  • GD: “The Mani Brothers Real Estate Group has four properties that are a combination of owner/operated and those that are managed by a hotel partner; I was hired to create this division in 2015, and at the beginning, we just had this first hotel, the Malibu Beach Inn Hotel and Spa. So, I oversaw the renovation, re-branding and re-positioning – Waldo Fernandez did the interior design and I used Kari Rasmussen for the curated little touches. Ryan Caldwell is now our Executive Chef; previously, he was the corporate chef for Broome Street Hospitality in New York city. I still oversee the hotel with amazing help from my team here at the beach… We also have many new projects in the pipeline: Two in Napa and one resort in Maui, Hawaii (pictured below, right) … all the time, we’re looking for places that fit our brand, for example they must be unique, A+ locations where we can see the opportunity of taking it to the next level…”


  • C&B: “The Malibu Beach Inn is an icon and has a fantastic history… what do you credit it’s ongoing success to?”
  • GD: “The hotel straddles this imaginary line between luxury and casual, which is very difficult to do. It is achievable for us because we are such a small property at just 47 keys. We are one of the Leading Hotels of the World, so our staffing level is really the key differentiator with 110 colleagues; this affords us the ability to really get to know our clients and customize their experience. I think the word ‘luxury’ gets used too casually these days; we as the hotel operator should not be the ones deciding what ‘luxury’ is – the guest does that… and it’s experienced differently by each individual. This is why a visit to the Malibu Beach Inn becomes a customized experience, and why the hotel has enjoyed such a level of success…”

  • C&B: “What do you believe most encourages ‘return guests’ to the Malibu Beach Inn?”
  • GD: “Details. Details matter in the hotel world. It is what makes the difference, so without question, it is our connection with our guests and getting to know them. Again, we straddle this imaginary line between the formal approach – which is usually associated with hotels at our level – and a more casual beach vibe. We don’t always get it right, but we do all work at it a huge amount. Of course, being the only hotel so close to the ocean in Los Angeles also helps magnetise returning guests…”
  • C&B: “What most improves a hotel guests experience, in your opinion?”
  • GD: “Care. You can’t fake that. We’ve all stayed in hotels where the ‘experience’ is just a rote exercise – the staff members are, generally speaking, polite to be sure, but your experience is just the same as everyone else’s. They’re not allowed to make independent decisions; however, at Malibu Beach Inn we use these occasions as motivation to create a unique experience for our guests…”
  • C&B: “What do you believe the Malibu Beach Inn offers guests, over and above other hotels?”
  • GD: “As with the word ‘luxury’ I believe the word ‘curated’ is too often used these days, but I cannot think of a better description for our overall amenity program; we try to offer things that are not provided at other hotels. For instance, we carry the Bamford (UK) line of amenities for the bathroom: shampoo, conditioner, etc. These products are not distributed in the United States, so everything has to be shipped FEDEX from the UK; by the time they discount the pricing for us, and we pay for shipping, I doubt either of us makes a dime on this, but the guests absolutely appreciate the effort. I’m also a great believer in ‘turndown chocolates’; I’m not sure why this stopped elsewhere in the world (most likely down to ‘costs’), but we all think it’s rather important; I’m not talking the mass produced chocolates with the hotel’s photo on it, but a real chocolate experience. I’ve worked with Katrina and Natalie Markoff of Vosges haut-chocolates for many years and they do a custom two-truffle box that goes on the pillow at turndown service. Also, we source our linens from Italy – from a small family producer called ‘Bellino’ – and we use them in three different colors so that each day there is a different ‘palate’ for the guests. All of this is ‘a labor of love’, and the feedback we receive is something we are all quite proud of…”
  • C&B: “What is the biggest challenge of running your hotel?”
  • GD: “Challenges? In a hotel? Hah. None! Of course, I’m kidding. Part of the love I have for the hotel business is that no two days are the same. This is why it is so interesting and why those details are so important. We’re incredibly fortunate to have a small property, a dedicated team and ownership that affords me the opportunity to make sure we have all of the things that make the hotel special. And, I suppose that’s the real answer to your question; the biggest challenge is remaining not only relevant, but unique. We’re typically strategizing a year out for everything from employee uniforms, to summer promotions…”


  • C&B: “In what way have the arrival of Little Beach House, Malibu Farm and Nobu impacted your business?”
  • GD: “All of these have been terrific additions for Malibu Beach Inn. Malibu Farm is 200 yards from the hotel, so our guests frequent that restaurant quite a lot as well as going to Ranch at the Pier for some amazing and unique local shopping. We work with Little Beach House quite a lot; most Soho House locations have guest rooms but as LBH does not, we offer a Soho House members rate through their own network. Nobu has been in it’s current location for a number of years now but it’s strong as ever with a wait list nearly every day. All three of those destinations are really lovely to work with as they do their very best to accommodate our own guest’s needs…”
  • C&B: “You’ve also got some great shopping in the area – which nearby retailers do you use and personally recommend in Malibu?”
  • GD: “Malibu has a rather large outdoor shopping pavilion; three of them actually. They are all end-to-end-to-end, so we all think of it as one location. It’s just one mile from the hotel and there’s a great mix of restaurants and quality shopping such as Intermix, James Perse, RRL Ralph Lauren, Oliver Peoples, Lululemon Athletica, John Varvatos and Faherty…”
  • C&B: “Who’s your personal favourite menswear designer?”
  • GD: “I’ve always been a fan of Michael Bastain and some of the collaborations he has done both here in the U.S. and in Europe. When I was young, I shopped at my father’s tailor; he made the majority of what he sold using high end fabrics like Harris Tweed and Vitale Barberis. That old-school service disappeared and everything was suddenly made for the mass market; sure, it was cotton or wool, but of fairly poor quality. So, I’ve been impressed in recent years to see the likes of JCrew and Brooks Brothers – while still utilizing the mass market – using high quality cloths from Baird McNutt, Carpini and Larusmiani for their products…”


  • C&B: “No trip to Malibu is complete without watching the sunset from your terrace… which is your favourite cocktail?”
  • GD: “A Negroni is always my go to in any bar. However, our Bar Director, Josh Curtis, changes the cocktails with great regularity so I do try to sample at least one of them each time I’m here…” C&B: “And your favourite meal in the restaurant?” GD: “Chef and I worked on the Soupe de Possion for a long time to get it just like the south of France; it is absolute perfection and I have it nearly every time I’m in the restaurant; I’m also a huge fan of ordering a bottle of Faire La Fête Rosé and Truffle Frites for brunch!” 🐬💦

  • Follow Greg Day on Instagram at @gday_la

THE MALIBU BEACH INN: http://www.malibubeachinn.com



INTERIORS: CREATING THE BEACH HOUSE VIBE



NICKY SUMMER: “It’s tempting to bring a piece of beach-life home with you at the end of the Summer season, but how to do it? I love a relaxed vibe at home all year round and bringing nature into the environment is quite easy to do through installing plants, ocean-scented candles, driftwood objet, exotic shells and powdery white sand – just add music by BEACH HOUSE for a 100% holistic inside/outside experience! To create a beach theme that’s controllable, I had a huge, 2 metre square bespoke low table made in lucite (a very resilient form of acrylic) and glass by my regular interior design supplier Carew Jones. I filled the 6cm deep top of the table with white sand (ethically) imported from a far away beach, added bleached coral, a variety of shells, driftwood objet, small mementos and then walked through it in bare feet to leave footprints in the sand. Yes, I’m crazy like that! Next, I bought large floor standing lamps made from large driftwood pieces by Bleu Nature in France. For accessories dotted around the beach house, I have large Belgian storm lanterns with sand and large beeswax church candles, an enormous natural half clam shell, which weighs a ton, sitting like an organic sculpture in the centre of three mirrored low tables, and books by my favourite designers who use nature throughout their own schemes ie Christian Liaigre, who is an absolute inspiration to me and my own interiors work. The art is framed butterflies that I found in Rio when I was invited to the carnival years ago – they’ve since had to be reframed, and I did this myself in limed wood frames I found in an antique shop. The two deep seated ivory linen sofas that face one another are from Andrew Martin in London and I have bleached stools made from ancient petrified wood. The twelve cream linen skirted dining chairs that were made to my own design. The rugs are black leather trimmed coir placed on top of wide slatted floorboards from an old Provencal kitchen. The dining table has a top that’s made from battered – but polished – old copper and iron panelling – very rustic, like something you might find on a long forgotten shipwreck at the bottom of the sea. I always have a bottle of Christie Brinkley’s ‘Bellissima Prosecco’ on ice and in the fridge I have runny French Camembert that I serve with truffled honey and octagonal shaped rye crackers. When I have guests round, sometimes I project starlight against the walls of the reception room… I love that effect. I burn ‘Elegant Gardenia’ scented candles by Thompson Ferrier, that just seem to fit the almost all-white classic/contemporary elegant/relaxed scheme perfectly. The most breathtaking aspect of the whole interior is that I’ve got two ceiling height natural palm trees in my reception room… nobody can quite believe it. When they were delivered very early one morning, the van driver announced ‘doorstep delivery only’, the nightmare words that all interior designers dread hearing, so I had to find two random guys at 7am to help haul them into the house and install them in huge clay planters. Pieces of natural beauty and elements of natural brawn – that’s how you create a beach house!”



*My beachscape table above includes the completely transparent lucite and glass table itself which was made bespoke by Carew Jones. The 6cm deep top was filled by me with pure white, powdery sand and a shake of glitter that sparkles when the sunlight catches it. On top of the sand, I placed a few beach finds that have good memories for me including shells, an old Indian quartz beaded necklace, various sized starfish, pine cones from the trees outside, seabird feathers, a book of matches from Club 55, a marble heart-shaped stone. I trod my footsteps across the sand just for the fun of it… On top of the table sits a large piece of bleached coral I found washed up under a palm tree after a storm, a box of matches decorated with seashells from a trip to Mauritius years ago, an ‘Elegant Gardenia’ two-wick candle from Thompson Ferrier in New York and my Chanel aviators. None of this means much to anyone other than myself, but I like it because everything in the table reminds me of something special and represents the driftwood memories of my life – a lunch with rose wine in St Tropez, or a romantic moonlit walk along the shore, or an evening at home with friends… The moral of this table is that to personalise your own space, you should just go with the flow and throw together anything you feel and like – there aren’t really any ‘rules’ in design!



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