The seeds for all of this were planted in 2002, when Schulze founded the Atlanta-based West Paces Hotel Group shortly after leaving Ritz-Carlton. He started off by signing management contracts to run existing hotels for their owners, and today West Paces oversees an impressive roster of 11 properties, including the Carefree Resort in Arizona and the Daufuskie Island Resort in South Carolina.
But when Schulze talks excitedly about his plans, what really gets him going are the two brands he's creating from the ground up. All Solís and Capella hotels will be privately owned - but Schulze and his team will manage them.
Solís Hotels will occupy new as well as existing (but fully renovated) properties. In Chicago, for instance, Schulze and his development partner are spending $125 million to convert the 46-year-old, 39-story Hotel 71 into the Solís Chicago Hotel Condominiums.
"Today there's a lot of concern about chemicals," he says. "So all Solís amenities will be organic, and so will much of the food." When it comes to amenities, he says the hotels will have all the best bells and whistles but will emphasize service amenities, such as on-site activity directors, great bartenders, and greeters (rather than doormen) at the entrance. He's asked his team of architects and designers to create classic, high-quality interiors designed with comfort foremost in mind.
The Capella experience, on the other hand, will be more about wants than needs. Location is critical to the Capella experience, so Schulze's team is working triple time to secure its one-of-a-kind settings. The flagship Capella Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas, for example, will perch on a spectacular 24-acre parcel where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. The two Capellas in Ireland will be built in medieval castles.
"Capella is for travelers who desire enriching experiences and superb service rather than ostentatious displays of consumption," Schulze says. "It will be elegant but with lots of heart. Elegance without warmth is arrogance."