THE ITALIAN VISIONARY HOTELIER
Born into the hotel industry, Stefano Ugolini decided not to follow well-established hospitality trends. Instead, he tapped into his creative soul and gave birth to an empire he branded Hotelphilosophy.
More than two decades have passed since Stefano Ugolini set out on his own to start a radically different kind of hotel business. “I felt the need to free luxury hotels from the stereotypes of the traditional Italian scene, mostly dominated by hotel chains,” he says. Over the years, Ugolini strived to assert himself in Italy’s high-end ...
“Once my guests have experienced one of our hotels, the goal is to get them to want to experience all of them. It’s like opening a box of assorted chocolates: you are not satisfied until you have tasted each and every flavor.”
... hotel sector, defining a new concept of hospitality that was centered on the values of uniqueness and imagination. The goal was to be more engaging and charismatic, more alluring and less impersonal than what was already out there. “I didn’t ask for advice about which way to go,” he explains. “I just went with my gut.” Today, Hotelphilosophy manages ten hotels, from Rome to Sardinia. Like Don Giovanni, Ugolini is unable to choose a favorite from the list of his lovers, he finds it impossible to claim this or another hotel as his most beloved. “I love hotels with strong, individual personalities,” he explains, and in fact he has a tendency to personify them. He sees Leon’s Place, in Rome, for instance, as an “arrogant prima donna,” and he deems Palazzo Barbarigo Sul Canal Grande in Venice as an “incurable nostalgic.” “Once my guests have experienced one of our hotels,” he continues, “the goal is to get them to want to experience all of them. It’s like opening a box of assorted chocolates: you are not satisfied until you have tasted each and every flavor.” The future promises to open significant new chapters in Ugolini’s career. A hotel on the Amalfi coast and a resort in Puglia are coming soon. And, at long last, Hotelphilosophy may soon add a prestigious palazzo hotel in Florence—the only major Italian city not already in its portfolio. For the latter project, notes Ugolini, “negotiations are underway to involve a well-known lifestyle brand.”