A second-generation family business, Newport Hotel Group today is a sophisticated owner/operator of diverse hotel properties. Our experienced management team has over 100 collective years of hotel and real estate experience, but our company retains the close-knit character of its beginnings.
Jon and Douglas Cohen, founders of Newport Hotel Group, developed an interest in real estate from a young age. Their father, Dr. Earle Cohen, was a pediatrician and real-estate investor in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1972, Dr. Cohen purchased the Millstone Village Inn, a large restaurant and banquet facility in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. Dr. Cohen purchased the historic Hotel Viking in Newport, Rhode Island several years later. At ages 7 and 5 respectively, Jon and Douglas began work in the family restaurant and later the hotel. By their respective high school graduations, they had gained experience in all facets of hotel operations, working in positions as varied as dishwasher, prep cook, accounting clerk, front desk manager and many others.
Jon went on to obtain an undergraduate degree in business economics from Brown University and a law degree from Duke University. Before forming Newport Hotel Group with Douglas, he practiced real-estate law in New York City at Schulte Roth & Zabel, LLP. Douglas also pursued economics, obtaining an undergraduate degree from Harvard University. After college Douglas joined the real estate investment group at Bear Sterns in New York City, and then returned to Cambridge to earn an MBA at Harvard Business School. Throughout this time, the brothers regularly discussed their interest in finding an entrepreneurial business opportunity where they could apply their complimentary professional and personal backgrounds.
Unexpectedly, difficult economic times and their father's sudden illness would bring Douglas and Jon that opportunity. The Hotel Viking, still owned by the Cohen family but managed by an outside firm for several years, had suffered as a result of the commercial real estate downturn of the early 1990s. The property required hands-on operational expertise and management, as well as significant capital investment. Jon and Douglas committed to make the Hotel Viking their first business venture, and took over the day-to-day operations of the hotel. They subsequently formed Newport Hotel Group as an umbrella company focused on pursuing additional hospitality investment opportunities.
Jon and Douglas began recruiting top management talent with hospitality experience, the majority of whom are still with the company today. Utilizing hands-on marketing, direct sales and cultivation of strong repeat business, the Newport Hotel Group team was able to grow annual year-round occupancy at the Hotel Viking from 40% to 76% by 1999. By the time the property was sold to LaSalle Hotel Properties, a publicly-traded REIT, in 1999, the Hotel Viking was once again recognized as the premier hotel and conference facility in the Newport area. Newport Hotel Group continued to manage the property for the new owner over the next several years, overseeing the ongoing operations, renovations, and expansion of the hotel.
In addition to the Hotel Viking, Newport Hotel Group has purchased, renovated, developed and managed over a dozen hotels in 6 states, totalling more than 2,000 guest rooms. These range from 50-room boutique waterfront hotels to 300-room full-service convention properties. We have run both independent and branded hotels, and have operated hotels on behalf of public companies, investment funds and investor groups.
Jon and Douglas Cohen understand hotel operations on the front-line level and have the sophistication to work with lenders and financial institutions to structure multi-million dollar real estate transactions. Newport Hotel Group enjoys a leading reputation in the New England hotel market today.
The majority of our senior executives at Newport Hotel Group have worked side-by-side with the principals of Newport Hotel Group since the early 1990's. Accordingly, they share the principals' detailed approach to management coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit. In many cases, before joining Newport Hotel Group, senior management began their careers with large corporate hotel companies, including Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt.
For example, Scott Alemany, Director of Hotel Operations, was a 15-year veteran of Marriott International before joining Newport Hotel Group as General Manager of the Hotel Viking in 1995. Scott brought invaluable sales and marketing systems knowledge to our independent hotel property.
Today, our management professionals take a hands-on approach, applying carefully developed controls to track the success of management initiatives at each hotel daily. Each member of our team plays an essential role in our success. To learn more about Newport Hotel Group's leadership, see bios for our management team below:
Douglas D. Cohen, President (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Douglas Cohen focuses on the feasibility, financing, design, construction, and overall development strategy for hotel acquisitions and new developments. For existing hotels in NHG’s portfolio, Douglas concentrates on renovations, specific value-add strategies, and sales and marketing.
Prior to founding Newport Hotel Group in 1993, Douglas worked in the real estate investment banking group of Bear, Stearns, & Co, Inc. in New York City, where he specialized in securitized and conventional debt financing, acquisitions, and other principal transactions for all types of real estate assets.
Douglas earned a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1993. He is also cum laude graduate of Harvard University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1989.
Douglas has served on the Zoning Board of Review and the Zoning Subcommittee of the Planning Board of Newport, Rhode Island. He is a former Trustee of the Newport Art Museum and served on the Board of the Newport County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Newport Harbor Management Plan Commission.
Jon E. Cohen, Principal (email@example.com)
Jon Cohen is responsible for the general management of Newport Hotel Group, including oversight of all facets of hotel operations, interfacing with management and human resources teams, and development of corporate strategy.
Jon has a valuable combination of legal and business experience. Prior to founding Newport Hotel Group in 1993, he worked as a real estate attorney for the law firm of Schulte, Roth & Zabel, LLP in New York City, where he specialized in restructuring of distressed real estate. He also worked as a financial analyst in the New York office of Merrill Lynch & Co., rotating through the equity analysis, mezzanine finance, and internal corporate profit-modeling groups.
Jon earned a J.D. with Honors from Duke University School of Law in 1992 and is a 1987 graduate of Brown University, where he received his B.A. in Business Economics.
Jon is licensed to practice law in the states of Massachusetts and New York. He served on the Planning Board for the City of Newport and is a former Trustee of the Newport International Film Festival. Jon is an adjunct professor at Brown University, where he teaches a seminar on entrepreneurship to juniors and seniors. He is also a member of the advisory board for the Brown University Entrepreneurship Program.
Scott J. Alemany, Corporate Director of Operations (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Scott Alemany joined Newport Hotel Group in 1995. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as the General Manager of the Hotel Viking and The Inn at Newport Beach (now the Newport Beach Hotel and Suites). Scott supervises operations for all of our properties and serves as the direct supervisor to each of the hotel General Managers. Additionally, he is responsible for developing sales and marketing strategies and directly oversees their implementation at property level.
Prior to joining the Newport Hotel Group in 1995, Scott was a Director of Marketing for Marriott Hotels. He received his B.S. in Sociology from the University of Connecticut in 1980. He is the Newport County Representative to the Board of Directors of the Providence and Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau and a former member of the advisory board of Historic Hotels of America.
Don McCall, Chief Financial Officer (email@example.com)
Don McCall has been the CFO of Newport Hotel Group since 1999. He is responsible for corporate financial reporting, including tax compliance, lending relationships, and investor management correspondence. Additionally, Don oversees hotel technology support systems and third-party technology relationships.
Prior to joining the Newport Hotel Group, Don was an audit partner at Rooney, Plotkin & Willey, a leading regional accounting firm. Prior to that time, Don worked as a senior manager for Ernst & Young. He is a C.P.A. and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Don is a member of the Board of Newport County Chamber of Commerce and serves as Treasurer for Child and Family Services of Newport County. He received his B.A. in Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento.
Linda Nunes, Corporate Director of Human Resources (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Linda Nunes joined Newport Hotel Group in 1995, serving as Director of Human Resources at The Hotel Viking before assuming her current position. In her present role, Linda is responsible for policy compliance with regional and federal regulations, implementation and management of employee benefit and compensation plans, managing organizational human resources practices, and overseeing the employee recognition and performance-management process.
Linda received a B.A. in Psychology from Catholic University in 1992.
Alfred Gauthier, Regional Director of Sales (email@example.com)
Alfred Gauthier oversees group sales activity, production, training and group revenue for all of the Newport Hotel Group properties.
Al has been working in the hospitality industry since 1981, most recently as Director of Sales for the Hotel Viking. Prior to that, Al worked as a Sales Manager for Caribbean Hotel Management for the Cayman Islands, Wyndham Hotels as a Regional Sales Manager in Miami, Director of Sales for Embassy Suites in Fort Lauderdale, and as Sales Manager for the Holiday Inn in Providence, RI.
Al is the former president of the Ft. Lauderdale Chamber Ambassador's and a member of the Florida State Association Executives (FSAE), Board Member of the New England Association of Executives (NESAE), American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), American Bus Association (ABA), and Meeting Professionals International - New England Chapter (MPI/NE).
Suzanne Ruckdeschel, Internet Marketing Manager / Office Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Suzanne Ruckdeschel has been the office manager for Newport Hotel Group since 2001, and prior to that at the Hotel Viking from 1990 to 2001. Suzanne is responsible for overseeing all sales and marketing systems, updating web sites, and placing all advertising for the properties under our advertising division, Hospitality Advertising Ltd.
Kristen Martucci, Human Resources Manager (email@example.com)
Kristen Martucci is the Human Resources Manager for the Courtyard Marriott at Yale, the New Haven Hotel, the Holiday Inn Express, and the Newport Beach Hotel and Suites. She has been working for Newport Hotel Group since 2000.
Steve Griot, Manager of Technology and Information Systems (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Steve Griot has consulted for Newport Hotel Group for nearly ten years and recently joined our team full time. Steve oversees all aspects of our technology and information systems including the integration of our home office server with all properties.