Nicolas Esclapez & Esteban Lozada, a new partnership for a new kind of offer. Nicolas Esclapez is the owner of the future Canopy by Hilton Cannes and of two other properties. “We operate our own properties and are willing to operate more.” Esteban Lozada is Senior Director development for Hilton in France and North Africa. “Same as Nicolas, we want more hotels”. They are both working together for the opening of the Canopy by Hilton Cannes following a rebranding of the property.
How did your partnership start?
Esteban Lozada: “We have known the family for a while. I have arrived the French Riviera around 7 years ago and I was introduced to Madame Esnée. She was the head of the group at the time. As soon as I learned that there was an opportunity for this property, I met Nicolas Esclapez who is now at the head of the company.”
Nicolas Esclapez: “When we met Esteban, we found out through a lot of discussion that the lifestyle positioning and the mindset we had as owners was very complementary to few brands in Hilton’s portfolio. We chose to work not only with the brands but also with the person. Esteban has been very professional all the way along. We expect to develop new collaborations with him.
We are very opportunistic, we want to dream, we want to develop. We are very interested in owning and operating what could be referred to classical hotels. We are also very good at operating destination restaurants; we also want to operate more lifestyle brands. Operating existing hotel or developing new buildings is of interest for us.”
EL: “When you have a partner that is onsite, that knows the market and how to run its properties, it does it very well. When we see how capable they are of doing great things with our brands, we just want more with them.
We obviously want to grow the number of partners we have, but we also want to repeat business with our current owners. It goes quicker, we know each other’s, and how each party works. We have trust in each other’s, and it is very important.
Tell us about the new property
NE:” It is a big change for this property. We have been observing everything that didn’t work and are willing to change it completely. We will rebrand the destination restaurant on the rooftop with a cocktail bar and showcasing the sunset terrasse which is well known in the city. The rooms will be completely refurbished with Rami Fischler around the sunset light theme. We are very interested in art as a family and will use the rooms to showcase some pieces of art by very young artists that have been chosen by a jury of 12 collectors.
On the ground floor we will create a coffee shop aligned with the Canopy Central purpose to bring local people to the hotel. The former spa area will be transformed to create 12 apartments for long stay customers. We keep our interior/ exterior swimming pool, which was well known by the local people, as well as our spa services.”
EL: “There was a big work done by Nicolas and his team to find out the right position for the property. We had a lot of conversations and a very similar point of view on what this property can achieve. We wanted to differentiate this hotel to other offering in the city. We didn’t want to compete with luxury hotel in the Croisette. We also wanted to differentiate from rather traditional four stars and upper upscale hotels. There was a segment we found not really present within the destination, upper upscale lifestyle positioning. We wanted to get this hotel into the city and get the city into this hotel. Canopy is exactly that mix between international travelers and local experience.”
NE: “To us, it is with differentiation that we add value for the customers. We want to do things differently from the way it used to be done by the past on the Riviera. This lifestyle positioning was made for this property. We really want to offer a different offer for this little well-known market and are excited about it.”