In this episode of the Hotel Design Podcast we welcome incredible hotelier Larry Broughton, CEO of the boutique hotel company broughtonHOTELS. We also welcome the general manager of the Park James Hotel, Weston Spiegl.

This show was recorded on the evening of the Park James hotel’s opening celebration, which is located in the Silicon Valley city of Menlo Park. The incredible luxury hotel has 61-rooms and is designed to carefully balance great service and technology.

So, it’s natural this conversation focuses on combining design aesthetic created by Parissa O’Connell Interior Design – in this case California Craft – with critical intuitive guest facing, and back of house technologies. They discuss the design approach and its focus on using natural woods, balanced textures and the right lighting to create the overall visual appeal of the varied spaces.

However, this hotel is also about getting away from Silicon Valley technology, so the conversation discusses how to create the right tech balance as part of the design. For Broughton, that means incorporating only elements that are intuitive to use. Their philosophy, guests in Silicon Valley have enough technology in their lives, and the hotel experience must balance digital and real experiences.

For example, they discuss the hotel’s ‘pour over’ coffee experience is as critical as the guestroom elements that are plugged in. It’s all about crafting an luxurious feeling experiences that helps calm people while keeping them productive.

Then the conversation focuses on the actual design of the hotel, it’s overall look and feel and a discussion of the specific elements of the property. Broughton and Spiegl wax on about the importance of texture on wallpaper, as an example of getting the details right.

Also discussed is the importance of engaging a design team as early as possible in the hotel development process. This is essential to accurately create a hotel that fits the developer’s vision, operational necessities, and ultimately guest expectations. They talk about how developers look to save money by waiting to hire designers, but how in the long run that could create even costlier mistakes.

Broughton discusses the characteristics of a good leader and the leadership qualities Weston has that secured the job for him, though until this job had zero general manager experience.

Broughton also shares his design philosophy, what he expects from a design firm and ways to create a great partnership between developers and designers. It’s a matter of finding way to communicate the heart and soul of the project to designers in way they can then go and visually interpret that desire.

They even share the story of where the hotel’s name came from. Listen now and find out!

Visit us at or email us at