Business Style: Marie-Louise Sciò
The CEO and Creative Director of the Pellicano Hotel Group, Marie-Louise Sciò, makes Holiday-Chic suitable for the office
Sun-kissed skin, chestnut brown hair and a Roman-aristocratic profile: Marie-Louise Sciò, 42, in her green caftan dress could have sprung from a sophisticated photograph by Slim Aarons. No wonder: the president and creative director of the legendary hotel "Il Pellicano" (and the younger "La Posta Vecchia") knows her way around "La Dolce Vita". The hotel on the coast of Tuscany became the property of the Sciò family in 1979 and has been an important hub for the international jet set since its foundation in the 1960s. But there's no snobbery or professional pride, instead, a relaxed elegance has always ruled. Translating this luxurious legacy into the present while maintaining hospitality is the task of the native Roman. The studied architect and mother of a teenage son invited us into her world: into the headquarters of the hotel group and the consulting offices in Rome.
Madame: Have you always had the plan to take over the family business one day?
Marie-Louise Sciò: No, that just happened to happen. Actually, I wanted to paint and make films. But I listened to my father's wish and learned something decent in his eyes. That's how I came to architecture. I studied at the Rhode Island School of Design in New York, where the subject is really taught as an art form. At some point, my father casually asked me to renovate two bathrooms. From then on, everything developed very organically. Today I can't imagine anything better.
Madame: How did you approach the renovation?
Marie-Louise Sciò: My aim was to address a younger generation without sacrificing the soul of the "Pellicano". From the interior to the uniforms to the typography, we have changed everything, but it doesn't feel strange at all. We still live with the same values, but we have told the same story anew. For example, we used Pierre Frey fabrics in many rooms. We furnished our bar with original Midcentury chairs by Giò Ponti, and I had our parasols rebuilt from a 1965 model.
Madame: The young generation now likes to scout hotels on social media. How Instagram-friendly must a hotelier be?
Marie-Louise Sciò: Of course, many guests inform themselves in advance about the hotel on Instagram or have only just become aware of it, but one must not sell an empty shell. In concrete terms, this means not only living up to expectations but exceeding them. "Il Pellicano" is not a hotel in which Bling Bling rules anyway. We believe in discreet luxury.
Madame: A short excursion into the analogue era: What childhood memories do you have of "Il Pellicano"?
Marie-Louise Sciò: I always spent the summer holidays in our hotel. I remember hiding behind the rose bushes in the evening and watching this wondrous adult world. Like scenes from an old Cinecittà film: beautiful women in beautiful dresses, embodying elegance and grace.
Madame: You have founded a consulting agency in your hotel group. What is the intention behind it?
Marie-Louise Sciò: In many places I observe that the target was missed: Hotels are often only concerned with the visual aspect, or too much with an architect's vision. They often forget that really good hospitality should appeal to all the senses. We can certainly offer help here. And we launch many interesting cooperations. Next, together with Birkenstock, we are launching a seven-piece capsule collection called "Il Dolce Far Niente".
Madame: Where do you prefer to spend your holidays?
Marie-Louise Sciò: Preferably in places where absolute silence and peace prevail - as isolated as possible from the rest of the world. For example, I was in Patagonia and Lapland. Especially the latter fascinated me: There is an extreme cold of up to minus 30 degrees Celsius with about 20 hours of night during the day. But when it gets light, the color spectacle in the sky is simply breathtaking. Next on my itinerary is Mongolia. However, this is difficult to reconcile with a 17-year-old son. He would rather go on a party holiday in Ibiza ...
Madame: Besides the memories, what is the most beautiful souvenir you have ever brought home?
Marie-Louise Sciò: A sculpture of the Argentine artist Luna Paiva, which I discovered in Buenos Aires. It is a small golden cactus made of bronze. Since then I have been following and admiring her life: she is a creative artist who works with many materials - from bronze to paper.
Madame: You are eagerly driving the expansion of your hotel group. What exactly are your plans?
Marie-Louise Sciò: Our goal is to slowly build a small hotel group of six houses. We want to bring the "Il Pellicano" out of Tuscany into the world without letting the Tuscan spirit disappear from the houses. Because we are firmly convinced that the "Azzurro" and "La Dolce Vita" lifestyle works far beyond the borders of Italy.