At Loews Hotels, growth has traditionally been done in slow, measured steps. The 18-property chain is about to kick it up a notch with an expansion initiative that aims to add units in strategic markets and locations.

“If you look at a map it's easy to see in which markets we don't have hotels,” says Jack Adler, president & CEO. “While many upscale brands have multiple properties in a given market, our philosophy is to have one major and unique hotel in each of the cities where we want to be.”

For now the growth focus is on North America, and the wish list includes San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Vancouver, Seattle and Toronto, as well as some second-tier cities and resort locations, such as in Mexico. The company hopes to consummate two to four deals a year — some on its own, some with partners and some as management deals.

Before launching the new growth initiative, the company took steps to strengthen the brand. It shed a few properties — the Metropolitan in New York City and the Loews L'Enfant Plaza — that no longer fit the brand profile. Others, such as the Loews Coronado Bay in San Diego and the Loews Ventana Canyon in Tucson, got facelifts. The chain added The Madison, a landmark Washington, DC property, to the fold and announced the development of a 400-room resort at Lake Las Vegas in Nevada.

However, the biggest change was a beefing up of the Loews management team with the hiring of several operations executives and several in development, including new Executive Vice President of Acquisitions and Development Glyn Aeppel.

Why the traditional slow-growth policy in the past? “Our company's philosophy has always been to find the right deals that fit with the other hotels in our portfolio and that produce good returns for the parent company and our partners. That hasn't changed,” says Adler.

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