One never-ending summer, my dad asked my sister and I to come to him with a business plan. If he liked our plan, he would adopt it. We were so excited at the prospect of having our ideas brought to fruition and began to devise a master plan for The Water Hotel.
My father and grandfather (Nonno) are private hotel developers and owners, so we knew that this was the market that we should strategically enter. Automatic points for us! We started working on the architectural drawings of the hotel, replicating those we often saw on my dad’s desk.
We wrote down all of our ideas, each relating to aquatics, of course. A floor-to-ceiling aquarium filled with sharks and jellyfish behind the front desk, a lobby bathroom that has bubble wallpaper, a restaurant where mermaids serve your seafood platters, etc. But the real selling point, the one that would have our guests pay the big bucks, was that each room would overlook the world famous waterfall, the Niagara Falls (in our hometown).
After what felt like months of preparation, but was realistically a few rainy afternoons, we brought our pitch deck (some pencil-crayon drawings and hand-written descriptions on printer paper) to the sharks. Nonno loved it, he oohed and ahead over all of our hard work and said that he would ABSOLUTELY one day open The Water Hotel. He would be a fool not to! Dad on the other-hand studied the drawings, and asked us logistical questions such as, “How many rooms are in this hotel?” “What is the average cost per room”, and not-so-logistical questions like, “How would a guest in a wheelchair take the mandatory water slide down to the restaurant?” After much deliberation, he finally declared, “Sorry girls, but I cannot build The Water Hotel. It is not a franchise, and so no one will know to come.”
We were stunned and angry. “Well Nonno is going to open The Water Hotel, and he is your boss!” “The Water Hotel will be the BEST hotel in the entire world and you are missing out on this huge opportunity.” “We will build the hotel one day and you’ll regret this!”
My dad didn’t budge on his answer, and as days and weeks went on, we forgot about The Water Hotel all together. We put our business-minds back into more liquid endeavors, neighbourhood lemonade stands and our Sunday afternoon dance shows.
Almost twenty-years later, I am once again reminded of my dream to open The Water Hotel. Having recently accepted a job at a luxury hotel in New York City, I am so excited to again work in the industry closest to my heart. The Water Hotel comes to mind, as the hotel that I will be working for is not a franchise, yet is recognized around the world as a New York classic. Although guests do not have to throw coins into a giant water fountain upon entry and the rooms are not lined with blue carpet to make visitors feel as though they are walking on water, it mirrors The Water Hotel in so many ways. It is a place where creativity is at the center of all endeavors and where guests are taken outside the real world and into a world of art and imagination.
This new experience may prepare me to someday open my own boutique hotel. I do not think that I can commit to bringing to life my sister and I’s first entrepreneurial baby, but I do know that The Water Hotel will forever be at the root of my passion for the industry and I look forward to someday finally making our dad regret his decision to not trust in our creative process.
Contributor: Victoria Menechella
Photo Credit: Noah Usry, Unsplash