Luxury experiences at the core of Hyatt’s new strategic approach

Katherine Melchior-Ray, Vice President Luxury Brands at Hyatt Corp., in charge of Park Hyatt and Grand Hyatt, speaks to CPP-LUXURY.COM exclusively about her company’s new focus on unique lifestyle luxury experiences, at the core of the DNA of the luxury brands of Hyatt. Appointed in 2013, Melchior-Ray brings to Hyatt her vast experience in luxury fashion and accessories, having previously worked for major companies such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

Park Hyatt’s long established partnership with the arts has seen the addition of ARTPHAIRE, a digital art magazine curated by Park Hyatt, with hotels having an active involvement. On February 4th, 2014, Hyatt Hotels announced the unveiling of an original art piece from the iconic contemporary artist, Robert Rauschenberg, which will hang in the lobby of Park Hyatt Chicago.

Titled Tropicana/Channel, the piece speaks to the Park Hyatt legacy of its founder, Jay Pritzker, who had a vision that the brand would be an extension of his own home and revolve around great food and wine, great art and the best level of service. The display of the Rauschenberg, which is on loan from Hyatt’s Executive Chairman Tom Pritzker, is inspired by that heritage.

“It is fitting to have this work, which was created while Rauschenberg unpacked his own boxes, unveiled in Chicago as Park Hyatt unpacks its boxes in new locations set to open this year in New York, Vienna, and Zanzibar,” said Katherine Melchior Ray, adding “The Park Hyatt brand is all about providing guests with rare and intimate experiences that go beyond the typical hotel stay. Whether in Chicago, Buenos Aires or Shanghai, we feel that giving guests access to the very best contemporary art keeps the brand relevant and true to its long-standing legacy.”

The latest luxury lifestyle partnership unveiled by the Park Hyatt has been with Swiss luxury watchmaker Jaeger LeCoultre with Park Hyatt Vendome Paris as the backdrop for a new advertising video featuring the watchmaker’s Creative Director and showcasing the Duomètre Unique Travel Time, an ideal timepiece for business travelers.

In November 2013, Park Hyatt and Sotheby’s announced an exclusive collaboration aimed at providing rare and exceptional experiences and to curate connoisseurship activities in art and beyond. Offerings for guests and clients of both brands will include exclusive promotions, as well as events and curated experiences, beginning in February 2014.

Under Melchior-Ray’s guidance, Park Hyatt  forged in late 2013 a partnership with yet another iconic partner, the Carnegie Hall,  relevant to Park Hyatt New York, which is opening this Summer just across the street. However, Carnegie Hall does have larger brand extensions, especially with the Vienna Philharmonic, relevant for the new Park Hyatt Vienna which opens in June 2014.

Melchior-Ray has 20 years of experience building luxury and fashion brands internationally. She has worked as a senior executive on three continents in four languages, setting global strategy in marketing, business and product development while developing top class local teams in their native languages.

Melchior-Ray’s most recent position was Executive Director of Strategic Planning at Gucci in Japan. She also served as Vice President of Marketing for Louis Vuitton Japan and for Tommy Hilfiger Japan. Prior to Japan, she lived in France, developing the global marketing department for the Nordstrom brand Façonnable. In the United States, Melchior-Ray led the development of Nike’s women’s footwear division from the brand’s headquarters in Oregon. Melchior-Ray graduated from Brown University in Providence, R.I. and studied at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan.