LAGUNA BEACH, Calif.—Montage Hotels & Resorts is pleased to announce the appointment of Rick Riess as managing director of Montage Laguna Beach. In his new role, to be assumed on Aug. 18, 2014, Riess will oversee all operations of the flagship resort.
A veteran hospitality executive with over 35 years of experience, Riess joins Montage from Sea Island, a luxury resort in Georgia, where he was managing director. Under Riess’ leadership, Sea Island earned and continues to hold Forbes five-star ratings for its luxurious accommodations, its spa, and the restaurant.
“I have had the pleasure of knowing Rick for many years and have followed his career as a skilled operator of some of the finest resorts in the U.S.,” said Alan Fuerstman, founder and CEO of Montage Hotels & Resorts. “We are excited to have him as a member of our team and look forward to the continued growth of Montage Laguna Beach with his creativity and inspirational leadership.”
Previously, Riess was president and CEO of Plumpjack Group in San Francisco, where he oversaw resorts, wineries, restaurants, retail, and real estate development. Before that, Riess served as chief operating officer and founding partner of Auberge Resorts, where he was instrumental in the opening of numerous small luxury resorts, including Calistoga Ranch in the Napa Valley; Esperanza in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; CordeValle in the Silicon Valley; and The Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, S.C., which is now a Montage-managed resort. Riess inspired stellar results during his tenure with Auberge, with The Inn at Palmetto Bluff and Esperanza both being ranked as top resorts in the world by readers of Condé Nast Traveler.
Riess’ wealth of experience in luxury hospitality was garnered in management at hotels, restaurants and golf clubs in Hawaii and the West Coast. Prior to joining Auberge, he spent five years as regional vice president for Grand Bay Hotels and Resorts’ Western Division overseeing The Boulders in Carefree, Ariz.; The Lodge at Ventana Canyon in Tucson, Ariz.; the Peaks Resort & Spa in Telluride, Colo.; and Carmel Valley Ranch in Carmel, Calif. Harper’s Hideaway Report named The Boulders the No. 1 resort in North America during his tenure.
Riess began his career with Hyatt Hotels Corporation, serving for 18 years in management positions in Texas, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Florida, and Hawaii. During turns as general manager of Hyatt Regency Kauai, Hyatt Grand Cypress, and Hyatt Regency Gainey Ranch, all resorts were ranked in the top five of the Hyatt organization for customer service.
Riess currently sits on the board of directors and is a member of the Resort Committee of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, chairman of the Golden Isles Visitors Bureau, and commissioner for the Brunswick and McKinnon airports. He and his wife are excited to be back in California and looking forward to making their home in Orange County.