Some changes have been made to Birmingham’s newest luxury hotel.
After opening last spring at 298 S. Old Woodward, the Daxton Hotel has become an independent luxury brand after splitting from its previous management group, Aparium Hotel Group, which led it from its opening.
The move, new managing director Raj Radke said, was made after the hotel’s owner, Mark Mitchell, decided the partnership was not a good fit for the new hotel and decided to spun off into an independent brand.
“It’s incredible to see all the success we’ve had since opening in April 2021,” Daxton owner Mark Mitchell said in a statement. “From the outset, we at Daxton have pledged to bring a quality hotel product to the Birmingham community and beyond, one that sets a new luxury standard for hospitality. With Raj at the helm and at the helm of the team, we expect continued growth and success in strengthening the Daxton brand nationally through this new chapter in its history and legacy.”
Radke said he hopes guests appreciate and recognize the changes being made to emphasize the hotel’s luxury standards.
“We focus on amenities,” he says. “We focus on telling stories.”
Inside, the hotel looks no different: the lobby and rooms remain the same, as do many of the works of art that first appeared last year. That includes the pink bunny by the elevators and the mechanical horse standing in the lobby.
One small element Radke said they added is a personal touch to show guests how important artwork is to the hotel: Complimentary water bottles are given to guests when they check in with one of several prints of artwork displayed in the hotel or from the outside of the hotel which can be seen through the water.
“As you drink water, you see it magnified on your face,” he said.
Guests also receive a small bracelet with a Daxton logo, something Radke says is also worn by the staff. Providing little perks like those heightens that sense of luxury, he said.
Remaining are both the lobby bar—which has been renamed the Geode Bar after the shape of the sculpture that envelops it—and the hotel’s restaurant, ma’am. The menu at Madam has shifted a bit, moving from Californian and Japanese-inspired dishes to a more diverse menu that includes a wide variety of global dishes, Radke said.
“I wanted to make sure Mrs was not one specific kitchen,” he said. “Madam is now defined as the rotating gallery of artistic culinary expressions from around the world.”
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The hotel has seen many guests, Radke said, with a 40% occupancy rate after the December books closed. That’s a figure that Radke says is a good one, especially during a pandemic where travel may be more restricted.
As for guests, many are business travelers, although there are plenty who stop only to stay overnight for the experience.
Radke, who has worked in hotels around the world, originally retired when his wife took a job in New York City last year. But when opportunities arose, he decided to move to Birmingham to run the Daxton.
“Every hotel has a good story,” Radke said. “It just needs a good storyteller and it starts at the top.”
Contact reporter David Veselenak at email@example.com or 734-678-6728. Follow him on Twitter @davidveselenak.