As an expert that has astute design methods and an eye that goes far beyond the ordinary, Manrao’s ability to blend the business and branding side of her brain with the artistic and inventive side truly makes her a modern-day Renaissance woman. Her signature approach has influenced over 148 hotel properties world wide—including luxury and lifestyle brands like W Hotels, St. Regis, Waldorf Astoria and Mercedes-Benz—and has resulted in awe-inspired reactions from clients and press alike.
Manrao is best known for creating self-coined “indie luxury” environments—more often than naught, for the world’s new breed of gypsetters—via her Susan Manrao Design banner. These are memorable, eclectic spaces that embody a nontraditional approach to luxury with avant grade art installations and objects from emerging artists. Inspired by her tenure at the W Hotel brand in New York, she seeks out the undiscovered and unusual. As a proponent for emerging artists and innovation, she has sought as far and wide as 22 countries to curate an expansive library of international design resources.
Always interested in interior design and the arts, Susan Manrao honed her creative skill set across the disciplines of graphic design, hospitality and interior design. In 2004, she oversaw the creative direction of the W Hotel brand, which led to her being awarded leadership of the St. Regis & Luxury Collection brands in 2007. Susan returned to her native California in 2008 as the Global Head of Design for Hilton Hotels Worldwide Luxury & Lifestyle division.
An avid photographer whose work has been exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art, she has an appreciation of artful design and anything visually arresting.
Susan’s work and expertise has been featured in major national media outlets such as the New York Times, Huffington Post, USA Today, WWD, Apartment Therapy and In Touch Magazine.
Whether it is educating a new luxury residential and retail destination how to connect with its core demographic through a lifestyle-oriented design experience or helping a newly divorced bachelor create a stunning personalized home space, Manrao lends her rare and independent aesthetic that merges a knack for the modern exquisite with an unconventional appeal.
Susan began working in hotels at an early age helping her parents run their family business of boutique hotels in Silicon Valley. The only thing she wasn’t allowed to do was the design, because her father loved doing that part himself. Perhaps it’s no surprise then, that Susan went on to design luxury hotels for some of the world’s best known brands such as W Hotels, St. Regis, and Waldorf Astoria.
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