This Chic Hotel Group Is Expanding in Europe — and Rethinking What Luxury Means to Travelers

The Standard CEO Amber Asher tells T+L what's next for the hotel brand, and what luxury really means in 2024.
This Chic Hotel Group Is Expanding in Europe — and Rethinking What Luxury Means to Travelers

The Standard Hotels, long established in the U.S., has recently launched internationally with the debut of

"The markets we're going into haven't been tapped as much by luxury lifestyle brands," Amber Asher, the CEO of Standard International, the parent company behind The Standard Hotels, told Travel + Leisure. "I think what we do is unique — going in with the type of culinary offerings, the nightlife, and the incredible designers and artists we're working with."

The Standard, Brussels, is expected to welcome guests in the first half of 2025 in the former World Trade Center. The hotel will sit next to a greenhouse with a botanical garden inside and will have a "harmonious blend between nature and modernity," according to a press release provided to T+L. The property will have 180 guest rooms and 20 residences that offer an "extended-stay concept," which Asher said is "the first time The Standard has really done that."

Later in the year, The Standard, Lisbon, is set to open in a now-defunct naval hospital in the historic district of Alfama, the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon. "This project is so unique because we're working with a kind of the confines of this former military hospital, but obviously, redeveloping it in a very respectful but beautiful way," Asher said. "I think Lisbon has just been a place where people have really flocked to in the last few years: it's a great destination, a lot of cool things are happening, and it's still somewhat affordable."

The hotel, which overlooks the water, will have 172 guest rooms and 32 residences, a pool deck and terrace with panoramic views of the city, a cafe with views of Campo de Santa Clara, a live-fire cooking restaurant, and a bar in a restored pharmacy. Repurposing existing buildings is a theme for The Standard; Asher told T+L that the brand "loves to take buildings that have their own unique history and origin."

When it comes to picking destinations for new Standard Hotels, it's largely about what guests want. "Will our guests want to go there, and will they be excited?" Asher said. "Sometimes we create destinations, like we did with The Standard, Hua Hin, in Thailand, which is not a place with a lot of lifestyle hotels."

Beyond the Europe expansion — Lisbon, Brussels, Dublin — over the next three years, Asher said there are projects in the pipeline in Latin America. "I think it's a real opportunity to go into places where you can still develop gorgeous, amazing hotels that are really culturally rich and really connect with the place and the people," she told T+L.

As The Standard continues to grow in the luxury space, it's expanding on what the brand offers travelers. "There's a million different definitions these days for luxury," Asher said. "Where it used to be about thread count, turndown service, and all of those elements, it's now about the experience, the connection, and going somewhere that is yet to be discovered. As we've grown, we've elevated our design game, from where we started with The Standard, Hollywood; heightened our culinary offerings; and set guests up to explore the next big thing. We're creating these memorable experiences, which I think is what luxury these days is all about."

By Susmita Baral 

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