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Hotel Lawyer: Ali Kasikci accepts MD position at Montage Beverly Hills. Luxury hotel and residential mixed-use project on a fast track now!

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28 August 2007
Hotel Lawyer in Beverly Hills with good news for luxury hotel mixed-use aficionados. The trend of hotel mixed-use continues. This time, Beverly Hills will get its turn as the city anxiously awaits the latest luxury hotel development by the internationally acclaimed Montage Hotels & Resorts. Just steps from Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, and in the City’s “golden triangle,” this 201-room luxury hotel will be a fresh breath of air to those who appreciate “the best.”

Alan J. Fuerstman, founder and CEO of Montage, today named award-winning hotelier Ali Kasikci as managing director of the new 201-room Montage Beverly Hills, scheduled to open in the city’s “golden triangle” in fall of 2008. Ali Kasikci is widely respected as one of the top luxury hotel leaders in the world. His departure has to be a great loss for the Peninsula Beverly Hills and its guests. He will not be easy to replace. (See, article “Ali Kasikci, “Hotelier of the World,” leaving Peninsula BH for new challenges.“)

Kasikci takes the helm of Montage Beverly Hills


Ali Kasikci is one of the great hotel leaders of the world, with many international awards, including recognition in 2004 as “Hotelier of the World.” He has just been appointed Managing Director for the Montage Beverly Hills, scheduled to open in Fall 2008. This new position will keep Ali in Beverly Hills, a city he loves. Kasikci spent almost 16 years as Managing Director of the Peninsula Beverly Hills, where he turned the hotel around from $6 million in losses to $1.8 million in profits, and at the same time led the hotel to become the first (and only) 5-star and 5-diamond hotel in Southern California. Now he looks to achieve even higher levels for the Montage Beverly Hills.

In making the announcement, Fuerstman said, “I have known Ali for a long time and have always admired his great success at caring for guests and contributing energetic leadership to his community. With his legendary passion for perfection and his belief in highly personalized service, he shares our philosophy that true luxury is serving guests graciously and attentively.”

And Kasikci looks like the perfect choice for this position. After nearly 16 years managing The Peninsula Beverly Hills, Kasikci was ready for new challenges, so he resigned from the hotel he took to 5-star and 5-diamond recognition. Now he plans to do the same for the Montage Beverly Hills.

“I am especially excited that the next phase of my career will be opening and managing Montage Beverly Hills,” said Kasikci, who was named “Independent Hotelier of the World” by Hotels magazine in 2004. “I am honored that Alan Fuerstman chose me for this great opportunity. Most importantly, this world-class property will be a vital addition to a community I treasure and that has had my heart since 1992.”

A leader in the hospitality arena, Kasikci spent five years with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Newport Beach, California, prior to joining the Peninsula Group. An active community leader, Kasikci served as chairman of the Beverly Hills Visitors Bureau and as president of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce.

The city of Beverly Hills appointed Kasikci “Executive of the Year 1998.” He currently serves on the board of directors of The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and in 2004, he and wife Donanne were honored by The Maple Counseling Center with their Crystal Award for Community Spirit.

Hotel mixed-use project at new standards of luxury.


The new seven-story Montage Beverly Hills, inspired by the Spanish Revival architecture and Mediterranean styling prevalent in Beverly Hills, will feature 201 guestrooms (including 55 suites) ranging in size from 500 square feet to 2,000 square feet for the Presidential Suite. There will also be 20 private residences, three restaurants, a rooftop pool and a full-service 20,000- square-foot spa. Located just steps from Rodeo Drive at Canon and Beverly drives, the hotel will also incorporate an art collection that celebrates the golden era of Beverly Hills and an outdoor urban oasis reminiscent of California gardens of the 1920s and 1930s, with landscaped lawns and covered pedestrian galleries.

Montage Hotels & Resorts is a luxury hotel and resort management company founded by Alan Fuerstman in 2002 to serve the affluent traveler. He selected the brand name “Montage” to reflect the artful assemblage of unique properties in stunning settings, each with residential-style elegance, distinct sense of place and the highest quality services and amenities. The company’s first and flagship oceanfront resort, the 250-room Montage Laguna Beach, opened in February 2003 in the vibrant arts community of Laguna Beach, California. The company’s second property, Montage Beverly Hills, will open in the fall of 2008 in the heart of the Beverly Hills golden triangle. A third property, Montage Deer Valley, is currently under construction in Park City, Utah, and is scheduled to open in time for winter ski season of 2010-2011.

What’s this all mean?

Hotel mixed-use is stronger than ever. The luxury segment is doing particularly well. The Montage Beverly Hills has taken a long time to get this far, particularly because of a pitched multi-million battle launched by dissidents, most notably including Robert Zarnegin and Probity International who control the Peninsula Beverly Hills, joined by the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. But hiring Kasikci to lead the new team marks the “home stretch” for the Montage Beverly Hills. Maybe the Peninsula Beverly Hills and Four Seasons should have spent their millions modernizing and updating their own product instead of fighting the inevitable.

The Montage Beverly Hills is a 21st century hotel built for the 21st century. This world class project is sure to keep Beverly Hills’ aging inventory of venerable hotels on their toes.

This is Jim Butler, author of and hotel lawyer, signing off. We’ve done more than $50 billion of hotel transactions and more than 100 hotel mixed-used deals in the last 5 years alone. Who’s your hotel lawyer?
Our Perspective. We represent developers, owners and lenders. We have helped our clients as business and legal advisors on more than $50 billion of hotel transactions, involving more than 1,000 properties all over the world. For more information, please contact Jim Butler at or 310.201.3526.

Jim Butler is one of the top hotel lawyers in the world. GOOGLE “hotel lawyer” or “hotel mixed-use” or “condo hotel lawyer” and you will see why.

Jim devotes 100% of his practice to hospitality, representing hotel owners, developers and lenders. Jim leads JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® — a team of 50 seasoned professionals with more than $50 billion of hotel transactional experience, involving more than 1,000 properties located around the globe. In the last 5 years alone, Jim and his team have assisted clients with more than 100 hotel mixed-use projects, all of which have involved at least some residential, and many have also involved significant spa, restaurant, retail, office, sports, and entertainment components — frequently integrated with energizing lifestyle elements.

Jim and his team are more than “just” great hotel lawyers. They are also hospitality consultants and business advisors. They are deal makers. They can help find the right operator or capital provider. They know who to call and how to reach them. They are a major gateway of hotel finance, facilitating the flow of capital with their legal skill, hospitality industry knowledge and ability to find the right “fit” for all parts of the capital stack. Because they are part of the very fabric of the hotel industry, they are able to help clients identify key business goals, assemble the right team, strategize the approach to optimize value and then get the deal done.

Jim is frequently quoted as an expert on hotel issues by national and industry publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, BusinessWeek, and Hotel Business. A frequent author and speaker, Jim’s books, articles and many expert panel presentations cover topics reflecting his practice, including hotel and hotel-mixed-use investment and development, negotiating, re-negotiating or terminating hotel management agreements, acquisition and sale of hospitality properties, hotel finance, complex joint venture and entity structure matters, workouts, as well as many operating and strategic issues.

Jim Butler is a Founding Partner of Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP and he is Chairman of the firm’s Global Hospitality Group®. If you would like to discuss any hospitality or condo hotel matters, Jim would like to hear from you. Contact him at or 310.201.3526. For his views on current industry issues, visit