With awards season, many A-listers will be attending the first major events since Kim Kardashian’s Paris Fashion Week attack carrying a new awareness of the potential vulnerabilities of hotel security. While safety fears might be a recent concern for guests, for those in the hotel industry preventing a crime like Kardashian’s, or an even worse one, has long been a source of nearly-obsessive planning.
“It keeps us up at night more than you would ever know,” says Todd Orlich, the General Manager of the Montage Beverly Hills, which has triple its normal security staff for an event like the Grammys. “I think it goes back decades. This is not just a new thing.”
Certain protocols are 101 for any hotel catering to VIP Grammy attendees. “It’s beneficial to make reservations under alias names, create room blocks near emergency exits for the whole entourage, and escort guests to and from their rooms via back-of-house areas which avoid public routes. Securing non-guest access to guestroom floors is also critical. And while it can be tough to tell a celebrity what to do, I always offer the Safe Deposit box for special valuables,” says Dave Wiggins, a security director in Los Angeles with TK.
For many top Hollywood hotels, responding to the Paris robbery hasn’t been a matter of increasing or revamping security than continuing with systems they already have in place. “We are very security heavy place. We’ve always had a security guard who stands in front of the elevator and makes sure that you are staying in the hotel room before you get in the elevator,” says Jeff Klein, who owns Los Angeles’s Sunset Tower Hotel. “I don’t know if other places have beefed up their security lately but for us it’s just remaining the same. It couldn’t be tighter if we wanted it to.”
Securing access to the building is one of Orlich’s team at the Montage’s top priorities. “The biggest thing that we’ve got is a downstairs arrival experience in the garage, so anybody that they’re bringing in that’s high profile, that doesn’t want to be seen we bring in through the garage. We can get them to any floor in the hotel via a private elevator and private access to all the meeting spaces,” he explains. But one of the Montage’s greatest resources, according to Orlich, is actually the support of the Beverly Hills Police Department. “We’ll inform them of who’s in so they’re around and present. Whether it’s an officer that’s on duty or an off duty detective that blends in, we make sure that we’ve got a lot of eyes on the place,” he says, proving that even in the age of technology, sometimes it’s simple vigilance that proves most effective.
This article originally appeared in the Dec. 31 issue of Billboard.