by Erin Stephenson
Monday was the first day of the rest of our lives, or at least that’s how my partner Brian and I were describing it.
Seven years ago I started a boutique lodging company called 3rd Street Flats, which began with the renovation of the Historic McMinnville Bank building and introduced a new style of lodging in our community. Very quickly the business took off, and I recognized that I needed a partner to help me manage and grow the business, which is where Brian enters the story. For the last six years, the two of us have co-captained our ship, working with a great team to grow 3rd Street Flats to a second location in downtown McMinnville, and currently chasing our biggest dream—to open a luxury lifestyle hotel in Historic Downtown McMinnville—with the Atticus Hotel.
As our business grows, our company continues to evolve as well, and we’re incredibly excited to introduce our new Partner and General Manager, Ben Perle, who officially joined us this week. Ben is a long time friend and mentor, and Brian and I have been chasing the idea of having him join us as our partner for a long time, knowing that he’s exactly the right person to launch the Atticus Hotel and ensure that our collective vision of the hotel comes fully to life.
Ben’s Professional Experience
Ben grew up in San Francisco and France, and earned his undergraduate degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management from a college just outside Paris, before obtaining his Masters in Hospitality Administration from Cornell University, on their European campus. While working through an internship at the newly opened Disneyland Paris, Ben met the founder of what would become Chateauform’, a unique hotel concept specializing in exclusively catering to groups and corporate retreats. Ben joined the newly formed company and worked alongside his wife Maeve (also a Cornell grad) to transform what was once an 18th-century manor into the pilot site for Chateauform’, which has since grown to 53 locations across Europe.
After several years working to develop the Chateauform’ brand, Ben and Maeve decided to make a move to the United States and made Bend, their new home. Ben took a position with Sunriver Resort and spent almost a decade with the company in various roles, ending his time there as the Director of Resort Operations, overseeing all their lodging, property management, and recreation divisions, which included both the Sage Springs Spa and Airport operations. During his time working for Sunriver Resort, Ben also took on a consultant role and later partner/owner responsibility of The Astro Lounge, a downtown Bend bar, which is one of my favorite bars in Bend (and I’m not alone here–The Astro has been voted “Best Bar in Central Oregon”).
After departing SunRiver Resort, Ben joined the OXFORD Hotel group as General Manager of the OXFORD Hotel. Hired to craft the concept behind the Oxford–Bend’s first and only 4 diamond boutique hotel–Ben worked to develop the brand identity of the hotel, establish its service standards, develop marketing and hotel collateral, coordinate vendor selection and hire and train the entire hotel and F&B staff. Voted # 3 Hotel in the Country by Tripadvisor in 2017 and #1 Hotel in the Pacific Northwest by Condé Nast Travel, Ben’s passion for hospitality continues to live on at the Oxford.
Before deciding to join our team in McMinnville, Ben most recently served as Regional Vice President of Operations for the Oxford Hotel Group, overseeing properties in Oregon, California, and Idaho, representing 1,100 rooms and 320 employees. He has also been deeply involved in civic life in his community, having served on the board of directors of the Bend Chamber of Commerce, and as a current member of the Visit Bend board as well.
A Member of the Family
In addition to having an incredible breadth of experience in the hospitality field, Ben is one of the most creative, thoughtful and generous people I have ever met. An avid gardener, beekeeper, cook and entertainer, he’s ready to embrace our Willamette Valley lifestyle and is excited to indulge a lifelong passion for wine and get out into the vines in Oregon wine country. Always gracious, Ben has been an incredible source of support and encouragement for Brian and I over the last few years, always cheering us on as we’ve worked to bring our dream to life. Now more then ever, with Ben on board as a partner with our company and holding the reins as General Manager, we are so excited to bring the Atticus Hotel to life.
Welcome to the family Ben–we’re so excited to be on this journey together!