Interview By Lisa Gmur, CSW
Hyatt has come a long way since 1957, when Entrepreneur Jay Pritzker purchased the Hyatt House motel near Los Angeles International Airport. In 1969 Hyatt began expanding internationally and over the years since, has grown by developing new properties, as well as through acquisitions.
Today Hyatt’s portfolio includes more than 1,000 hotel and all-inclusive properties in more than 65 countries across six continents. Of course, there are their traditional Hyatt Hotels, like Hyatt Regency, Grand Hyatt and Park Hyatt. But they are so much more than that today.
In 2007, they launched their first Lifestyle Brand, Andaz. (Andaz is the Hindi word for style) And when Hyatt acquired Two Roads Hospitality in 2018, they revealed the organization of a new dedicated lifestyle division, which brings together the traditional Hyatt’s with brands like Andaz, Alila, Hyatt Centric, Joie de Vivre Hotels, Thompson Hotels and tommie.
We talked with Miranda Breedlove, National Director of Bars for Hyatt Lifestyle Operations about everything from the wine program, to the positive repercussions of the pandemic, and even her favorite wine.
(Hint: it’s not red)
Miranda Breedlove, National Director of Bars, Hyatt Lifestyle Division
Okay, so you look like a supermodel. You must have had aspirations of being an actress or model growing up in Minnesota?
Ha! Thank you. But no, not really. So many other things come to mind more, like Veterinarian and photographer. I have a lot of great photographer friends now so maybe I need to thank them for my photos.
Well, they definitely have a pretty great subject to work with. What did your parents do? Were they in hospitality?
They owned a soap company. We sold soap at craft shows and fairs around the country. They ran the business and made the soap in the basement of our house.
That is so cool. Definitely a hospitality kind of thing. How about food and wine. Was it a gourmet kitchen atmosphere growing up?
I was definitely a Spaghetti O’s kind of kid.
The entrée to pasta! Do you remember your first taste of wine?
I don’t, but I remember the first time I realized how interesting it was during a whole day of tasting solely pinot noir when I grasped just how different a single grape can be in a wine.
Right? It’s crazy. I remember doing a chardonnay tasting at 7am and being so awakened to how many different kinds of chardonnay there are. Did you ever have an “aha” wine moment?
I had a bit of an "aha moment" with Sherry. Walking through bodegas in Jerez gave me a real understanding of what, ”sense of place” means. Every time I smell sherry, I am immediately transported back there in my mind. It’s a wonderful experience.
Exactly. You described it perfectly. I have that experience with Semillon and Australia. I am either in the Hunter Valley or at my in-laws in Sydney tasting aged Semillon. Did you study wine or hospitality in college?
Loyola University, Harrington School of Design and Columbia College, all in Chicago. I studied Photography, Studio Art, Politics and Sociology.
Cindy’s, perched thirteen stories above Millennium Park, part of the Hyatt Lifestyle Hotels concepts
So not wine, but they are all things that play into what you do now. How did you get your job with Hyatt Lifestyle?
I saw a post online in a social media group I was in. The job description covered literally everything I wanted to do, and I had no idea such a job existed!
Lucky and fabulous! It is not easy finding a job that checks all the boxes. What experience did you bring with you?
A strong understanding of how independent bars and restaurants work and a fresh perspective on hotel operations.
Well, it’s been really great working with you and the cool people at the Hyatt Lifestyle concepts like the Andaz and Alila which you’ve connected us with. Would love for you to share more about your wine program for our readers.
We structure our wine program based on supplier portfolios to give our teams the autonomy to choose wines that make sense for their programs. We have very unique concepts so choosing a specific wine for all of them makes less sense in our case.
And that rolls into how you pick your wines, right?
I try to choose suppliers that have portfolios that can offer something great for all of our different types of restaurants and bars, while choosing some companies that have better-known labels and some that focus more on esoteric wines and unique varietals to make sure we have a good range on our menus.
Makes terrific sense. Have you been on the wine cocktail wagon like all of us?
I’m a big fan of the Spritz and try to incorporate them into our menus when it makes sense. Guests love them, they’re refreshing, low ABV and you can add some really fun, fortified wines and flavor profiles in.
Do you have a favorite wine varietal?
There are so many that I love, but my go-to is usually Gruner Veltliner or something orange from Eastern Europe.
Dining at the Thompson Hotel, Dallas, Texas
Yum! Yes! Royal Tokaji! How about a favorite food?
I love all food! Favorites include seafood, almost any Asian cuisine, and sandwiches.
How about a favorite food & wine pairing?
Oloroso Sherry and Jamon Iberico.
We need to meet at a Tapas Bar! Where do you live?
I currently live in Chicago with my husband and two Pit bulls.
I was raised to be very independent, so the traditional “white picket fence” lifestyle was never attractive to me and that’s not what I have which is great. Ultimately, I think I’m probably in better/cooler place now than whatever the younger version of me would have said I’d be up to.
What are your hobbies today?
Running, boxing, reading, checking out new bars and restaurants with friends.
Very cool. Guessing COVID has affected your life like it has all of us.
Having started with Hyatt three months before the pandemic, Covid changed the original structure of my job in a lot of ways.
I have been able to really focus on the parts of it that are important to me, spend more time with our teams, and create the role in an interesting way.
Personally, it allowed me to slow down and learn to find balance more purposefully.
Exactly. You nailed it. I have heard something like that from so many friends. I know I feel that. But now it’s time to get out there and travel again. Where have you been? Where are you craving to go?
I have spent a lot of time in California recently and am really loving it out there.
I’ve been to Thailand, India, Paris, southern Spain. I try to go somewhere new every time I travel for personal reasons if possible.
If it had to be somewhere I had been before, probably Goa in India or Koh Chang in Thailand. I would love to see Japan, Vietnam, and Norway.
You had me at Goa. Thank you so much!
This was great thanks for the feature!