Javier Beneyto is the General Manager of the new Metropolitan by COMO on Miami Beach and is busy readying the hotel for its big unveiling in December. The hospitality expert of Spanish descent is no stranger to COMO’s luxurious properties, having started in 2002 and serving in the same role at The Halkin by COMO in London and Cocoa Island in the Maldives. It’s no wonder the haute hotel group is putting the supervision of the construction, running of the hotel and conceptualization of their food and beverage service in his hands.
HL: I understand wellness is a big part of COMO hotels.
JB: It is. Wellness has been part of COMO for 23 years. It’s all about being healthy. We will have our COMO Shambala Spa, with our signature products, a hydrotherapy pool on the roof and gym facilities. Although for us, it starts with the food.
HL: Yes, you have that famous COMO Shambala menu at all your properties with vegan and raw dishes.
JB: Yes, we have this menu in addition to a regular menu. Our Executive Chef, Amanda Gale, designed it and it focuses on how you mix the ingredients and how they come alive on the plate and in your body. It’s not about dieting, it’s part of a 360 degree revision: spirit, mind and body.
HL: This is a huge renovation project of an Art Deco hotel. How do you handle that?
JB: We have an amazing Italian interior designer Paola Navone. We are trying to respect the history of the building and use a palate of colors that is very soothing and calm. No aggressive colors. For us, it’s about taking care of what is most precious to the guest, which is sleep. And we need to try to design something where guests can feel comfortable when they are awake, too.
HL: Who are COMO’s hotel customers?
JB: Our customers are people who are seeking peace, quiet, good food and good sleep. We are not flashy and they don’t want to be, either. It’s about a down-to-earth approach to pampering and caring for our customers. We have a lot of very important people who come here to ‘disappear,’ but for us, everyone is a celebrity.
HL: That’s an unusual approach in Miami Beach.
JB: That’s one of the reasons we wanted to open a property in Miami Beach, because, personally, I don’t think you can find that here. It will be something intimate, something like a cocoon. I know it’s going to be a challenge, but the property is in the perfect location. Our guests can still go out to party if they’d like, but then they can come home, sleep well and wake up to a nice breakfast.
HL: So no pool parties?
JB: No, we will not. We don’t want to interrupt the guest experience. I’m a very conservative hotelier and I was born and raised into a different kind of hospitality. You can’t have a relaxing time with your wife or family while there is a pool party.
HL: What’s the most unique feature on the property?
JB: Well, we’re the only hotel on Collins Avenue to have a boat dock, so that’s very special.