The most unique experiences in the most distinctive places

Making Hotels That Matter

We believe in authentic flavor and celebrate true neighborhood character; not just the thoroughfares but the intriguing side streets. Our growing collection of independent hotels are remarkable in every way. Like the cities they inhabit, each Aparium hotel is unique—engaging, inspiring, individual, and real.

Our singular, community driven and collaborative approach to hospitality creates properties that are integral pieces of the cities they inhabit. From concepting and design to branding and management our unyielding excitement and infectious enthusiasm for our hotels comes through in every lobby, every room, every restaurant, every bar—every experience our guests have.

Our Story

Aparium was founded in 2011 by Chicago hospitality executive and entrepreneur Mario Tricoci and luxury hotel veteran Kevin Robinson. The duo saw a clear need for a company that could bring C-suite service and accommodations to underserved—yet distinct and important—cities while maintaining and celebrating the unadulterated character of each. Driven by the belief that all hospitality experiences should be fueled by the poetics of their surroundings, Aparium was born with an intense focus on unearthing the amazing moments unique to every city.

Since its founding, Aparium has grown into a new kind of hotel brand—one that ventures off the beaten path, both geographically and philosophically. It is a sophisticated hotel brand known for its singular ability to combine the business acumen of large hospitality companies with the charm of boutique hotels, bringing the disparate forces together in bustling, smaller markets.

Tricoci and Robinson’s capabilities and flair were never more prominently on display than during their time as

co-developers, owners and operators of the highly acclaimed Elysian Hotel in Chicago.

Opening its doors in 2009 on the under-explored outskirts of Chicago’s Gold Coast, the Elysian, with its cobblestone courtyard and allusions to the grand hotels of 1920’s Paris, quickly drew the interest, praise and admiration of most every hotel brand, hotel publication, rating service, and the public at large. With its remarkable designs, operations, and vision, the Elysian won numerous awards including being ranked number one in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards, earning a AAA 5 Diamond, and in 2013 netting a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.

The Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee provided Aparium’s first proving ground for its progressive hospitality philosophy. Recently voted one of the top 25 hotels in the United States, The Iron Horse has become the leader and a standard of excellence in the booming

independent hotel industry and remains a prime example of the complete Aparium experience. The Iron Horse is the embodiemient of Aparium’s signature Translocal Hospitality, Owner Collaboration, and Intuitive Service model. 

A tremendous compliment of openings is scheduled in the coming years in important locations as diverse as the oft written about downtown Detroit; the burgeoning North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis; the flourishing Crossroads district in Kansas City; the eclectic and diverse town of Montclair; La Crosse—one of the most exciting small cities in America—and Covington, a dynamic urban enclave serving Northern Kentucky and the greater Cincinnati area. Aparium’s unexpected experiences are poised to become important catalysts in the resurgence of many great American cities. Aparium aims to celebrate the true entrepreneurial spirit of each city with every new opening while adding the passion, commitment, and care Aparium is known for to the ever-changing cultural landscape.



Kevin Robinson

Co-Founder & Principal

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Co-founder of Aparium Hotel Group and its “Translocal Hospitality” philosophy, Kevin believes if you are everything for everyone, you’re not really anything. As a pioneer of a unique business model that merges the strengths of a mature corporation with the strengths of entrepreneurialism, Kevin’s “can’t stop, won’t stop” mentality paves the way for his mission in disrupting the comfort of sameness. Kevin established a wealth of experience and knowledge living and working abroad, with distinctive stints at some of the world’s finest full-service and luxury hotels. In addition to opening numerous hotels, Kevin led massive renovations, and assisted with multiple brand/ownership transitions. An adventure seeker that is always looking to try something new and wants to improve everything, he finds his Zen in the great outdoors, enjoying the simple things of life. He is also actively involved on several board positions and a non-profit organization which he co-founded.

Mario Tricoci

Co-Founder | Chief Executive Officer

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Mario possesses a rare combination of legal, business and entrepreneurial experience, providing inspiring and distinctive leadership. Mario’s extensive knowledge of investment, capital structure, and control elements of the business world along with his innate ability to foster creative vision and operational strategy have allowed him to guide companies of varying sizes to success. Prior to co-founding Aparium Hotel Group, Mario was the President and Managing Partner for the Elysian Hotel Group – the management and development company responsible for the success of the much acclaimed Elysian Hotel Chicago (now the Waldorf Astoria Chicago). Prior to spreading his entrepreneurial wings, Mario was a real-estate and finance lawyer at a large international firm where he represented many globally recognized hotel and business owners as well as investors, handling the negotiations and consummation of numerous transactions involving some of the world’s largest hotel management companies including Ritz Carlton, Rosewood, Four Seasons, and Starwood Brands.

Joe Aguilera

Executive Vice President Sales + Revenue Management

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Joe Aguilera is a hospitality industry veteran, boasting over thirty years of extensive experience leading financial, service and marketing efforts on behalf of numerous well-known hotel brands. Before joining Aparium Hotel Group in 2016 and rising the ranks to Executive Vice President of Sales & Revenue Management, Joe most recently oversaw Midwest and Canada regional operations for the esteemed Peninsula Hotel Group. He graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Hotel and Institutional Management. An avid tennis player, Joe also enjoys classic movies and timeless literature, with Alexander Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo as his all-time favorite book.

Virginie Bishop

Director of Accounting + Office Administration

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Virginie brings 15 years of experience working in the hospitality industry to Aparium Hotel Group. She most recently served on the Financial Implementation and Revenue Team for Hyatt Shared Services. Virginie graduated from the Hospitality Management School in France. Her guilty pleasure is black licorice and she would love to one day island hop to all of the Caribbean Islands on a beautiful, traditional wooden sail boat. As an avid traveler and a French native, Virginie would not be able to live without taking trips back to her hometown with her two boys.

Kristin Byrnes

Director of Training and Development

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A Wisconsin native, Kristin Byrnes has created a successful career in human resources and hospitality operations and has recently joined the Aparium team as the Director of Training and Development. Kristin has spent the last 10 years working with Chicago hotels and most recently served as the Human Resources Manager at The James Hotel where she lead the recruitment of employees, developed training curriculum and maintained team member relations. She’s an avid reader and an art history buff who enjoys drawing and planning vacations around the world’s best art museums. Her perfect morning includes enjoying a cup of coffee while reading the New Yorker with her Goldendoodle Atticus.

Valerie Casper

Vice President Sales + Marketing

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With more than 10 years of hotel management and sales and marketing experience, Valerie brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her role as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Aparium Hotel Group. She’s involved in all stages of the hotel launch process and simultaneously manages the day-to-day of the brand’s hotel sales teams, as well as e-commerce, public relations and creative service agencies. She previously served as the Regional Director of Sales and Marketing at Aparium Hotel Group properties including Hotel Covington, The Iron Horse Hotel and Charmant Hotel. Originally from Brookfield, Wisc., Valerie is innately an early bird and wakes up and works out before 7 a.m. daily. Her favorite meal is sushi and a dirty martini, and her dream trip is to visit somewhere with exotic accommodations such as a water bungalow, treehouse or an ice dome.

Regina Cook

Assistant Vice President Finance

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Raised in Southern California, Regina’s experience traveling and living across the U.S. has given her a unique perspective on hospitality, an industry she has worked in for the last decade. Regina most recently served as the Director of Finance on the pre-opening team of the Conrad Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from San Diego State University with a B.S. in Finance. Regina is a power yoga enthusiast, enjoys runs along the Chicago lakefront and a fun day of paddle boarding. She loves going to Broadway shows and will never turn down going to a great concert or on a fun trip with her family.

Deena Ellis

Director of Recruitment + Benefits

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A human resources professional by both trade and passion, Deena is instrumental in her support of staff and management of talent. She holds a M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Roosevelt University and a B.A. in Psychology from University of St. Francis. Prior to joining Aparium Hotel Group, Deena was a Human Resources Manager at the Elysian Hotel Chicago where she aided in the hotel’s transition to Waldorf Astoria Chicago. In doing so, she served as Training Director and supported the team to achieve Five Diamond rating, earning a nomination for Manager of the Year with the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association Stars of the Industry award. Born in Bangkok, Thailand, Deena loves to travel to the beautiful country and explore its many beaches and native cuisine.

Troy Ellis

Vice President Finance

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Troy brings more than 10 years of finance experience in the hospitality industry to Aparium Hotel Group as Vice President of Finance. Originally from St. Louis, he received his B.S. in Finance from DePaul University. Prior to joining Aparium Hotel Group, he worked at a wide range of properties under the Hyatt portfolio in the Chicago market. His favorite U.S. city is Wailea, Maui and he hopes to retire there one day. If he could travel anywhere in the world, he would go to the Dominican Republic to watch the World Baseball Classic.

John Farris

Chief Marketing Officer

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Born and raised in suburban Detroit, Mich., and having lived throughout the U.S. and traveled worldwide, John brings his years of business, brand and marketing experience to the hospitality industry. John most recently served as Director of Global Marketing & Brand - Business Development & Alliances, at the Harley-Davidson Motor Company in Milwaukee, Wis. He graduated from Central Michigan University with a B.S. in Marketing and a minor in Economics. He is a motorcycle enthusiast and collector, an avid runner and a devoted yogi. One of the many cities he loves to visit is Vancouver and the must-see places there are Dynasty for Dim Sum followed by a motorcycle ride up the Sea to Sky highway. If John found $10,000 on the ground, he would arrange travel to San Francisco with his four adult children and have dinner in the courtyard at Foreign Cinema Restaurant in the Mission District.

Ted Findling

Finance Manager

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Ted Findling joins Aparium Hotel Group as the Finance Manager, bringing invaluable industry experience from his time at some of the top hotels in Chicago. Upon graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Findling jumped head first into the hospitality world and never turned back, having most recently worked as the Accounting Manager for Conrad Chicago. As an avid golfer, hitting the links on the pristine courses in Scotland tops Findling's bucket list. He is a Korean BBQ enthusiast and loves to discover hidden BBQ joints (the more hole-in-the-wall the better).

Erika Hirt

Vice President Human Resources + Associate Development

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With over 20 years of experience in Mexico and the US, Erika has collaborated with prestigious companies including the Four Seasons, Park Hyatt and most recently the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago. As the Vice President of Human Resources & Associate Development for Aparium, Erika continues to look for ways to inspire purpose and creative  initiatives to elevate the employee experience, translating into improved guest experience and impact the bottom line. Erika is an active supporter of PAWS, Heartland Alliance, St. Judes’ Hospital, and Merci Home for Boys & Girls, having also participated in the U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants in 2009, 2011 and 2016.

Michael Kitchen

Vice President of Acquisitions + Development

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Michael Kitchen serves as the Vice President of Acquisitions & Development for the Aparium Hotel Group. After graduating from Michigan State University’s Hospitality Business Real Estate and Development program, Michael moved to the British Virgin Islands to work hands-on in the industry as Biras Creek Resort’s Assistant General Manager. He then spent six years in a consulting capacity focusing primarily on luxury and boutique hotels and resorts before joining the Aparium team in 2012. Michael has played a role in each Aparium project from concept to construction, spanning the gamut of everything from raising capital to securing local artisans for collaborations. He enjoys exploring new places and restaurants, and believes a weekend in Traverse City, MI can’t be beat.

Angela Kuzma

Executive Vice President Operations

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Raised by a military family from Wisconsin, and having lived and traveled in over 40 countries, Angela brings a worldly point of view and a dedicated work ethic to the Aparium Hotel Group team as the Executive Vice President of Operations. Angela’s extensive hospitality experience includes time spent both in front and back of house of hotels and restaurants. She started her career in hotels as a sales analyst, but has also spent time as a pastry chef, working alongside a James Beard Award winning chef in New Orleans. She has also headed up operations at esteemed establishments including New York’s Soho House and China Grill Management. Angela’s spirit is adventurous, having jumped out-of or off-of multiple planes and cliffs, and her heart is with her dogs, dedicating her free-time to animal rescue. She enjoys trying new foods and exploring new places, and a skill she’d like to master in advance of retirement is bowling.

Ryan Lent

Development Manager

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With a diverse background in construction and design throughout the country, Ryan brings versatile building industry experience to the hospitality industry. At Aparium, Ryan focuses on executing successful developments while working closely with architects, engineers, and construction team members. Prior to his role as Development Manager at Aparium, Ryan served as design engineer on high-rise projects and as a Project Manager Owner’s Representative for Marcus Hotels. He graduated from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, with a B.S. in Architectural Engineering. Ryan is an avid traveler, who finds solace in hiking with his wife on vacation and is always looking for another opportunity to visit remote parts of Vancouver Island, Kauai, or vibrant European cities. A former elite speed skater and passionate road cyclist, he now spends his free time with his kids.

Katy Madsen

Brand Manager

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Bio coming soon.

Daniel Malave

Vice President Finance + Office Administration

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Dan Malave serves as Vice President of Accounting & Administration for Aparium Hotel Group handling all the financial reporting for the development side of the business. He graduated from Huntington University with a B.S. in Accounting and received his MBA from the University of Notre Dame. Dan most recently served as a Controller at the Elsyian Development Group where he worked for 10 years. Dan married his high school sweetheart and together they have three teenage sons and two dogs. In his free time he enjoys traveling across the U.S., listening to the late Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, watching action movies on his projector screens at home and playing sports with his sons.

Alejandra McBride

Office Manager

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Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Alejandra brings a worldly presence to Aparium where she currently oversees the operations of the office & facilities as the Office Manager. She attended School of Hospitality Management & Tourism at Universidad del Salvador in Argentina. Previously, Alejandra has worked at Accenture, Oracle Argentina, The Hilton Buenos Aires Hotel and the Alvear Palace Hotel in Argentina, the Hilton Drake Hotel in Chicago and Newlink Communications in Miami. Alejandra is an avid traveler who speaks five languages and runs a travel blog where she documents her journeys around the world giving tips to honeymooners and globe trotters. She loves listening to The Beatles, dancing, baking, watching Netflix marathons and biking with her husband and long hair Chihuahua, Hershey.

JC Name

Director of Technical Services

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As Director of Technical Services and Standards, JC focuses on the management of Aparium’s hotel projects during the final phases of design and development and into the start of the pre-opening process. Additionally, he is involved in the creation and maintenance of product standards. Prior to joining Aparium Hotel Group, JC held several corporate hotel development, operations and guest service roles throughout North America in cities including Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Mexico City. Originally from Guadalajara, he received his Master of Management in Hospitality from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, with a dual focus on Operations and Marketing. He additionally holds a law degree from Mexico’s Panamerican University. JC loves to travel and hopes to check Buenos Aires, Rio, Sao Paolo, and Lima off his bucket list next. His last meal on earth would be an ice cream sundae with all the trimmings.

Todd Reed

Executive Vice President of Development

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Todd Reed is a thirteen year veteran of real estate development in Chicago. He has helped to lead dozens of hospitality and retail projects through his past work with Bovis Lend Lease, M Development, and DRW/Convexity Properties. Todd enjoys skiing, traveling to Colorado and of course building hotels! When he is in Chicago (on rare occasion!), he enjoys finding authentic restaurants in Chicago’s residential neighborhoods, or seeing shows by My Morning Jacket, Broken Social Scene and The Black Keys. As a graduate of Colorado State University and DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, Todd acts as an active member of the Urban Land Institute and the Real Estate Alumni Association at his alma mater.

Bridgette Summers

Director of Hotel Development

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With a background in opportunistic real estate across asset classes with an emphasis on hospitality, Bridgette brings diverse experience to Aparium. As the Director of Development, Bridgette’s focus is on sourcing and executing on the vision for the owned real estate in Aparium’s portfolio. Prior to Aparium she worked for WeWork as the Director of Real Estate for WeLive and other brand extensions. Bridgette is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. Aparium brings together all of her favorite things – experiential travel, seriously good food and beverage, and cultural exploration. When she’s not traveling, you’re likely to find Bridgette spending time outdoors hiking, running, horseback riding, or at home with her family and the dogs – Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.

Eric Ziegenhagen

Director Of Social Media

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By overseeing the digital voice of Aparium Hotel Group, Eric showcases the extraordinary service, design and guest experiences of each property via social media. By managing social media strategy and content for top U.S. hotels, restaurants, and spas since 2011, Eric has mastered the art of cultivating a social community among the hotels’ prospective and returning guests. With a B.A. in English from Kenyon College, Eric’s experience extends beyond hospitality. As a playwright and stage director, his work has been produced in both Chicago and New York. He has also been a contributing writer for the Poetry Foundation and Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and a longtime arts consultant for The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.