Hoteliers Reinventing the Boutique Hotel
In his 18 years as a highflier in the energy and commodities business, Kirk Lazarus stayed in countless luxury hotels. “But I was always looking for more,” says the South Africa native. So he took matters into his own hands and in 2002 built a lodge in South Africa’s Madikwe Game Reserve, an hour by plane from Johannesburg. Friends were impressed by the five ultra-private suites and plunge pools and persuaded him to open his property to the public as Molori Safari Lodge six years later. Since then, Lazarus has launched Molori Mirage, a villa on the Great Barrier Reef. Upcoming projects include Molori Clifton, an oceanside house in Cape Town (this winter), and Molori Beach House, in Santa Monica, California (next spring). The rates are steep—starting at $2,700 a night for a suite at the lodge—but Lazarus insists the experience is worth it and that his VIP clients (including Kate Moss and Mischa Barton) happily pay the price.
What’s the trick? Trusting your own instincts and preferences. A fearless adventurer (he recently toured Iceland and Greenland by foot, boat, horseback, and quad bike), Lazarus devises once-in-a-lifetime experiences for guests, such as a helicopter ride to a picnic spot on the edge of a cliff in Queensland, Australia.