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A Stately Boutique Hotel From a Beauty Legend

The makeup mogul Bobbi Brown — who left her eponymous brand in 2016, but is still influential — just opened a 32-room hotel called the George Inn — and it’s in Montclair, New Jersey. Along with her husband, entrepreneur Steven Plofker, Brown is making the family-centric suburb — which is a 35-minute ride away from New York City on New Jersey Transit — something of a destination.

Brown went from launching a lipstick line in 1991 to building a brand that Estée Lauder bought in 1995. Through her busy and fantastically successful career, she says she’s been lucky to work with her husband. The same is true for the new venture, the George Inn. “My husband is this amazing guy; he’s the one who kept me normal,” Brown says.

After Brown stepped down from her company in 2016, she and Plofker, also a real-estate developer, started talking about a venture that would become the George. “It was falling down; it was awful,” Brown said of the building they found, which was originally built as a private house in 1902. Today, restored and renovated, the George feels like a grand but welcoming and cozy home. Brown worked with One Kings Lane to decorate the public rooms downstairs, including the painted paneled library, seen above.

The graceful double stair in the lobby leads to the guest rooms, no two of which are alike. They’re stocked with amenities test-driven by Brown herself. When asked where she sleuthed out her sources, she said that she and Steven love to travel and see what’s out there. She adds: “I have to tell you, I found some doozies at Home Goods.” Photo: Lesley Unruh
This room could get me to pack my bag for a visit. Brown’s design strategy for the décor was no different from how she’s approached designing her other companies. “I have two role models. One is Mickey Drexler, I could write a book about him. And the other is Richard Branson because I know he sat in coach and thought, How can I make this experience better? I did the same thing with makeup, and I did it with the hotel.” Brown collaborated with brands like Nespresso (every room has a Nespresso machine at the ready). Photo: Lesley Unruh
Although each room is different, there’s an easy elegance in play, with comfort being key. Each room features Casper mattresses, pillows, and bedding. Photo: Lesley Unruh
“We have the best robes, and I looked at every single one out there,” Brown said. “And the best one is from Ikea.” The guest baths are unfussy with an industrial vibe. Dyson hair dryers are supplied, and amenities include EO bath products. And if you packed light, Hello toothpaste is waiting, too. Photo: Lesley Unruh
Some people want to take home bathrobes or an ashtray, but I would go for the mini Smeg refrigerators tucked away in each room. The George definitely ups the ante in making Montclair a new destination. Photo: Lesley Unruh

*This article has been updated to clarify that Bobbi Brown left her cosmetics company, but is not fully retired.

Inside a Stately Boutique Hotel From a Beauty Mogul