André Tomes Balazs (born January 31, 1957) is the President and CEO of André Balazs Properties that includes a portfolio of hotels across the United States and residences in New York, especially in New York City.
Balazs was born in Budapest, Hungary. He graduated from Cornell University as a College Scholar and member of the Quill and Dagger society, and then earned a masters degree in business and journalism from Columbia University. He was a founding trustee of the New York Academy of Art, and has served as a member of the board of directors of the New York Public Theater and Wolfsonian-FIU. He was the recipient of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Design Patron Award. Balazs has two children with Katie Ford.
André Balazs Properties currently consists of eight hotels across the US. The luxury group comprises The Mercer Hotel in New York City; Chateau Marmont in Hollywood; and Sunset Beach on Shelter Island. The Standard hotels include: The Standard, Hollywood; The Standard, Downtown LA; The Standard Spa, Miami Beach; The Standard, High Line, Meatpacking District; and the newest addition, The Standard, East Village.
In addition to the hotels, André Balazs's residential properties include 40 Mercer Residences, One Kenmare Square, and William Beaver House.
In his early years, Balazs worked at Biomatrix, a New Jersey based bio-tech company founded by his father. In 1990, he purchased Chateau Marmont, subsequently launching his career as an hotelier. Located on Sunset Boulevard, the building was initially built in 1929 as apartments, modeled after Chateau d'Amboise, a royal retreat in France's Loire Valley.
In 1997, Balazs opened Sunset Beach, a luxury boutique hotel and restaurant, open seasonally and located on Shelter Island in New York. The property features 20 rooms and also houses a boutique featuring designer pieces of apparel, jewelry, and beach accessories.
In 1998, Balazs expanded his hotel collection when he purchased and restored The Mercer hotel in downtown New York. Designed by French designer Christian Liaigre, The Mercer offers 75 guest rooms on six floors of a Romanesque revival building.
The Standard, Hollywood is the first of Balazs's Standard hotels. Opened in 1998 on the Sunset Strip, the 139-room hotel features a 24 hour restaurant, shag carpeted floor-to-ceiling lobby with nightly DJs and video art.
The Standard, Downtown LA is the second of Balazs's Standard collection, which opened in 2002. The building was originally constructed in 1956 as the corporate headquarters of Superior Oil.
Opened in 2006, The Standard Spa, Miami Beach is a hydrotherapy spa hotel. It is located on Belle Isle, a residential island on the waters of Biscayne Bay.
The fourth and largest Standard hotel (337 rooms, 18 floors), opened in 2008 and is located in Manhattan's thriving Meatpacking District. The riverfront hotel bridges over the elevated High Line Park. The Standard, New York features The Standard Grill, the hotel's restaurant as well as an outdoor Biergarten, serving traditional German food and beer, and Le Bain and Top of The Standard.
Formerly the Cooper Square Hotel, The Standard, East Village is André Balazs's 5th Standard hotel, acquired in November 2011. It is located on the corner of East 5th Street and Bowery.
Balazs has placed a strong focus on the culinary programs for each of his properties. The restaurants at the properties include the Standard Grill at The Standard, New York, under the helm of Michelin chef Dan Silverman; The Lido Restaurant and Bayside Grill at The Standard Spa, Miami and Sunset Beach, with Executive Chef Mark Zeitouni; Bar Marmont and the terrace restaurant at Chateau Marmont with Carolynn Spence; and The Standard Biergartens in New York and Downtown LA with Kurt Gutenbrunner. Other chefs in the company stable include Jean-Georges Vongerichten at The Mercer Kitchen and Micah Fields at The Standard, Downtown LA.
In addition to his role as a hotelier and restaurateur, Balazs is currently revitalizing The Locusts, a historical private estate and retreat in Rhinebeck, NY; as well as restoring the farm operations on the property, which supplies fresh produce and farm-raised meats to The Standard Grill in New York City.
In 2007, Balazs began a collaboration with Wölffer Estate Vineyard on Long Island to create his own vintage of rosé.
In 2011, Balazs launched a sea plane service to the Hamptons, StndAIR, an 8 seat plane operating scheduled flights and charters from Manhattan.