Summary of the interview at the 2017 Stay Boutique Leadership Conference with
Sue Walter, ex-CEO, The Hospital Club
Sue Walter’s specialty is taking birds with broken wings and making them fly. It’s what she likes to do...and what she did in 2003 when she joined co-founders Paul G. Allen and Dave Stewart in opening The Hospital Club. The H Club’s location was once a dilapidated, closed hospital, but now is home to one of the most exclusive private clubs in London. “For a short time after opening, they actually had a few people show up looking for medical services,” Sue laughed.
The H Club offers members in creative industries a community to collaborate, work, connect, and be mentored. Sue describes it as “A community of like-minded people in a space that is specifically created for their needs.” And out of that community came a boutique hotel. “The blurring of lines between the hospitality spaces comes from the hospitality industry trying to understand our clients,” Sue says, “How they live, work, rest, and have leisure time.”
Making a list of things they didn’t like about hotels was the starting point of what to leave out when they decided to expand to the hotel industry. The smaller, personal gestures like hand-written notes in the rooms and homemade cookies set out for guests made the list of things to keep. Sue reminds us of Maya Angelou’s words, ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’
With their next location set for Los Angeles, The H Club LA members can look forward to the same type of community that London offers. There will be spaces where you can work, collaborate, and entertain, but there will be something recognizable to Angelenos. “The building is designed to showcase the artwork of the community. The music is local musicians. Talks are from influencers in the community.” Sue describes. “We don’t tell our customers what they want, they tell us.”