BREAKING NEWS Mayor Tommy Battle announces death of Eula Battle, Huntsville's first lady Full Story

Beauty maven Bobbi Brown is getting into the hotel business

Bobbi Brown is best known for the beauty brand bearing her name. The minimalist, flattering eyeshadows and lipsticks ...

Posted: Mar 15, 2018 11:40 PM

Bobbi Brown is best known for the beauty brand bearing her name. The minimalist, flattering eyeshadows and lipsticks won many busy working women as fans, but Brown sold the company to Estee Lauder in 2016 and has been looking for a new project ever since.

The answer came in a form she didn't expect -- a hotel in her pretty suburban New Jersey hometown.

Unlike many in the beauty and fashion worlds, Brown was content not to be a regular on the New York City party scene, preferring a quieter life with her husband, developer Steven Plofker, and three sons in Montclair, about 45 minutes outside of Manhattan. Montclair is a picturesque, sleepy college town that refutes the cliche of New Jersey as dirty and industrial.

Does this mean that A-listers might abandon Manhattan for the 'burbs? Brown thinks it's worth taking the risk, and she spoke to CNN Travel about her new life as a hotelier.

Meet George

Brown didn't plan to get into hotels -- and she claims to have zero interest in building another brand. But after her youngest son went off to college and her husband began exploring a property in central Montclair, it seemed only natural for Brown and Plofker to merge their talents.

Enter The George, a 32-room boutique hotel named after, and inspired by, George Washington. (The nation's first president spent lots of time in New Jersey.) It officially opens to the public on April 1, 2018.

"Let me tell you, it was not easy having a very creative developer alongside someone who considers herself an expert in color," Brown laughs. "[My husband and I have] been married 30 years in September. We raised three boys together. We have a happy marriage, but we're very strong-minded people and have learned when something is non-negotiable."

Among those non-negotiables? Dyson hair dryers and bathrobes from Ikea -- both things that Brown herself swears by and uses at home. She spent years traveling the world for her work and considers herself an expert on what hotels are doing right -- and what they're doing wrong.

A few of her favorite things

While the expensive Dyson hair dryers will have to be signed out from the front desk to prevent thievery, Brown had a very specific idea of which things guests would need in grabbing distance, namely coffee -- so there are Nespresso coffee makers in every room to prevent pre-caffeinated guests from having to interact with other humans.

Brown, who loves the Soho House hotels around the world and opts for boutique stays over big-name brands with loyalty programs, also wanted to keep things personal. Since she has strong reactions to fragrances, she chose a delicate peppermint lavender scent for all the in-room toiletries, and has a policy against using perfumes or room sprays in common areas.

"We're very hands-on people," Brown says about why the hotel project suited her and Plofker so well.

"I get into the details. We're going to be serving breakfast and brunch both to hotel guests and the community, we'll have an afternoon tea and smoothies. It matters what yogurt we serve. I will be curating everything," Brown says. "It's a small hotel, so it's about customer experience and accommodating."

And customer-friendly service doesn't just extend to guests of the human persuasion. Brown, a dog lover, has made The George extremely animal-friendly. Not only are there special doggie treats and beds, but travelers can pick out their pup's accessories (such as a food bowl) ahead of time when they make their reservation so that everything in the room will be ready to go upon arrival.

Another challenge for Brown and Plofker was negotiating Montclair's quirky local laws. The town has a very small number of liquor licenses, which can make it tough for a new bar or restaurant to open.

While The George does not have one of those licenses, Brown has come up with creative ways to bring booze onto the property, such as having a favorite local wine store host on-site tastings. (The licenses are portable, which works out nicely.) Her team can also arrange for deliveries to individual guest rooms.

The hotel's small size also makes it easy to accommodate specific dietary needs, from gluten-free to diabetic-friendly.

The one thing The George will never have, though? A spa.

The George, 2317, 37 North Mountain Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey 07042; +1 973-783-7878

Huntsville
Overcast
75° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 75°
Florence
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 80°
Fayetteville
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Overcast
74° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 74°
Scottsboro
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 79°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22400372
Mobile14282314
Tuscaloosa9983132
Montgomery9691196
Madison899992
Shelby703560
Lee643966
Baldwin637567
Marshall426748
Calhoun410259
Etowah402049
Morgan394532
Houston363132
DeKalb316727
Elmore309552
St. Clair279742
Limestone269227
Walker268092
Talladega255034
Cullman225823
Lauderdale206340
Autauga199928
Franklin199131
Jackson199114
Colbert190627
Russell19023
Dallas185227
Blount183823
Chilton180531
Escambia170928
Covington164729
Coffee16409
Dale162551
Pike130212
Chambers127343
Tallapoosa127286
Clarke126716
Marion104229
Butler99840
Barbour9819
Marengo96721
Winston89913
Geneva8337
Pickens80317
Randolph79514
Lawrence79230
Bibb78913
Hale74529
Cherokee71514
Clay70712
Lowndes69927
Bullock63517
Henry6316
Monroe6279
Washington62112
Crenshaw59030
Perry5796
Wilcox55712
Conecuh55413
Fayette54712
Macon52919
Cleburne5247
Sumter46421
Lamar4575
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 232061

Reported Deaths: 2922
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby34370552
Davidson29801325
Knox1183387
Hamilton11097102
Rutherford11031106
Williamson661848
Sumner5636107
Wilson440253
Putnam411053
Montgomery385751
Out of TN379435
Unassigned37653
Madison361378
Bradley340821
Sullivan318844
Sevier314920
Blount310231
Washington308043
Maury307435
Robertson248539
Hamblen232743
Tipton219222
Gibson205437
Dyer202326
Hardeman178732
Coffee176020
Trousdale17407
Obion163617
Bedford159020
Dickson156218
Wayne15607
Greene155650
Anderson155513
Loudon154010
Fayette152022
McMinn150832
Cumberland148924
Lawrence146217
Jefferson145818
Weakley143425
Carter141532
Henderson135425
Monroe134823
Warren13399
Hardin131319
Lauderdale130818
Macon125724
Franklin121115
Haywood119025
Roane11857
Overton111211
Johnson11046
Hawkins109923
Carroll109324
McNairy108825
White107614
Marshall10528
Rhea104816
Cheatham96911
Lake9683
Smith93313
Bledsoe9244
Cocke92212
Giles89234
Campbell8647
Fentress8497
Lincoln8012
Crockett76620
Henry74110
Hickman73913
Chester71214
Marion6999
DeKalb67216
Decatur62511
Grainger5314
Grundy5168
Claiborne4956
Union4932
Polk46913
Jackson4165
Humphreys4094
Morgan4086
Houston38914
Benton3879
Cannon3862
Unicoi3641
Clay36312
Lewis3502
Sequatchie3294
Scott3244
Stewart3087
Meigs2944
Moore2452
Pickett2445
Perry2041
Van Buren1911
Hancock1123

Community Events