San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, a collection of boutique hotels and chef-driven restaurants in the United States, is an acknowledged industry pioneer and was the first to bring the boutique hotel concept to America. Founded in 1981 by Bill Kimpton, the company is well-known for making travelers feel welcomed and comfortable while away from home through intuitive and unscripted customer care, stylish ambience and having a certain playfulness in its approach to programs and amenities. Each hotel provides a range of exciting culinary experiences through affiliated, top-rated, destination chef-driven restaurants. Kimpton leads the hospitality industry in ecological practices through its innovative EarthCare practices that span all hotels and restaurants. Privately held Kimpton has consistently earned the highest ranking customer satisfaction scores by the Market Metrix Hospitality Index, exceeding all other hotel companies including those in luxury and upscale segments. Among the company's newest properties is EPIC Hotel and Area 31 restaurant in Miami, which opened December 2008. Currently, projects are underway in New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago and Virginia.