Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group hopes a little style can help it stand out in the crowded leisure industry. The company owns some 12 boutique hotels and manages about 45 others in 25 markets across the US. Kimpton buys older buildings in urban areas and transforms them into four-star hotels that feature mostly smaller, European-style accommodations. Upscale Kimpton Restaurants are located next to most hotels. The company's management services include strategic planning, sales and marketing, human resources, and administration support. Investment banker and founder Bill Kimpton opened the company's first hotel, the Clarion Bedford, in San Francisco in 1981.