Standard International CEO Amber Asher Talks Asia Expansion And 2023 Openings

What started as The Standard, Hollywood, in 1999 has since burgeoned into a global hotel group with hot spot locations such as Miami and the Maldives. Properties within the Standard International aren’t just places where guests check in to spend the night, they’re experiential destinations where people go to eat, drink, socialize and celebrate. Events at Top of the Standard (a.k.a. Boom Boom Room) or pool parties at The Standard in Miami are legendary, and Standard properties always capture the cultural zeitgeist of the city they’re in.

This past July Standard International launched its Asia flagship in Bangkok, Thailand with CEO Amber Asher leading the charge and she’s spearheading much more expansion to come as the group ventures into Europe, Asia and even Australia. We spoke to Asher about the group’s soon to open hotels and learn about her unique path into the hospitality industry.

You’ve recently opened Standard properties in Bangkok, Hua Hin, and Ibiza. How would you describe these properties and what experiences can guests have there?

Amber Asher: These three hotels are very special to us, because all were developed during the pandemic and are significant milestones along our global growth trajectory. The Standard, Hua Hin is totally unique in our portfolio. It’s a beachfront getaway set within a small, historical fishing village two hours from bustling Bangkok. It combines our unique approach to the spa experience, including a mud lounge and sound bowl sessions, and many unique culinary offerings such as our Thai Izakaya restaurant, Praca, our Juice Café, and our Italian all day dining restaurant, Lido (a nod to our beloved Standard Spa Miami). We also offer yoga, surfing, robust wellness amenities, and even activities for kids (while parents bask in the sun with a beautiful cocktail)—something you won’t find at every Standard.

The Standard, Ibiza is our second hotel in Europe, which we developed after the success of our award-winning property in London: The Standard, London. It’s a year-round, adults-only getaway that interprets the island in a layered, sophisticated way. You can’t beat the rooftop pool scene at UP or the ground-floor culinary experience at Jara. We also created Casa Privada as a bookable private residence with its own bar, perfect for groups. And starting next season, you can even book our Standard boat and head to Formentera, a short 30-minute ride away, for lunch and an afternoon swim.

Finally, The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon is our Asia flagship, located in one of the most iconic buildings in the city. The design was done by Jaime Hayon of Hayon Studios, in collaboration with our in-house design team led by Verena Haller; it’s nothing you have ever seen before, especially in a hotel. But this property is so much more than a hotel. In Standard fashion, we have multiple culinary offerings from Ojo, a Mexican inspired restaurant and cocktail bar at the top of our 76-story building, to The Standard Grill, its first introduction outside of NYC with a local twist, to Tease, a unique tearoom offering a lot more than Tea. We have a state-of-the-art gym and outdoor pool and much more.

Where will you be opening next and what’s the timeline for these new properties?

Our next big opening is The Standard, Singapore, scheduled for the end of 2023. We also have multiple projects under various stages of development for The Standard in Lisbon, Dublin, Brussels, Brooklyn, NY, Austin, TX, Mexico and many other major cities globally. We launched two residential projects this past year, The Standard Residences in Midtown Miami and The Standard Residences, Palácio Santa Clara, which were both over 50 percent sold in the first few weeks. We also own the Bunkhouse brand of hotels, which will be opening hotels in Mexico City, Louisville, KY (NULU) and other interesting locations in 2023.

What do all Standard Hotels have in common?

Each Standard creates its own identity and experience, reflecting the culture of its local community, but our guests understand that when they visit a Standard, they’re going to experience that location through music, design, cuisine, and our incredible people.

Who is the Standard Hotel guest?

The Standard guest is vibrant, creative (regardless of the industry they work or play in) and fun! They are seekers who care about people and their community and are always game for an adventure whether in their hometown or afar.

Even though you’re now the CEO of a hotel group, your career didn’t start in hospitality. What brought you to the hotel industry and what excited you about hospitality?

Yes, I was a real estate lawyer at a big law firm working 90-hour weeks – and in my mind, lifestyle hotels, are by far the most interesting real estate out there – they are so much more than a piece of property. I fell in love with Delano in Miami when I was 22 – it was like walking into a different world; beautiful and innovative design, incredible restaurants and lounges, a unique scent that you never forgot, a playlist you wanted to take home with you and incredible hospitality. It was aspirational, and that was the first hotel company I went to work for after leaving firm life.

What would you say is a personality trait someone who’s interested in getting into the hospitality industry needs to have?

To succeed in hospitality, you must truly love taking care of people. And, you must be able to approach collaboration with an open heart and determination to solve any challenge that comes your way. This business isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.

Which Standard property is your current favorite and why?

It’s hard to say – last year I said it was The Standard, London but now I have to say it may be The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon. It is just so different than anything you have seen before in our space. From the moment we opened this hotel in June, we knew it was a triumph, our Asia flagship. It is so special in that it reflects the vernacular of our brand while representing characteristics of Bangkok through details like the uniforms by Thailand-born Fah Chakshuvej, Creative Director at Fah Chak WO+MAN. To me, this project is a reflection of our team’s ability to accomplish anything that we set our minds and hearts to!

What’s your favorite thing to eat and drink at any of the Standard properties?

My favorite drink is the Meatpacking Manhattan at The Standard Grill. We have a wonderful new chef there, Chef Paul Hargrove, who is working with the team to create a new take on classic cocktails and his food is delicious. I love the creativity of in the Wild Red Snapper Crudo, the Steak Tartare and Snow Crab Claws and our Chef’s take on our Standard Grill classic dish like the Million Dollar Chicken.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post London’s Haunted Happenings: How To Best Spend This Year’s Halloween Exploring The Capital
Next post Must-See Music Festivals In Miami This Winter