Think Hotel Group, the rap-idly expanding Miami Beach-based hospitality company, owned by Hunter Gellin, Mark Shemel and Shawn Vardi, has taken South Beach by storm. The lifelong friends, all in their early 30s, purchased the entire block on 21st Street between Collins and Liberty Avenue in South Beach’s Collins Park neighborhood just months ago. The block, which the team refers to as The Think Hotel Group Campus, includes Charles St. NYC Kitchen, The Boulan Hotel, South Beach Hotel, The Ansonia and Plymouth Hotel. With this recent acquisition, the hotel group has cornered a niche in the boutique hotel market offering affordable, chic options in a premium area of South Beach with hopes of transforming it into the hippest block in town.
The hotel group owns and operates all their properties, with the exception of The Boulan, including Charles St, a neighborhood restaurant that also serves as a casual spot for Boulan and South Beach Hotel guests to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as quality room service. “Most hotel owners hire big names to operate their properties, but we’re starting our own flag,” says Vardi. Think Hotel Group’s current project and next big launch is the unveiling of the renovated South Beach Hotel, which is set to debut early March 2014. “As we continue to expand, Think Hotel Group is excited to put South Beach Hotel on the map as a prime destination for Miami Beach lovers looking for chic décor and comfortable, yet affordable accommodations in the heart of the most exciting neighborhood in South Beach,” says Gellin.
South Beach Hotel preserves much of its original Art Deco design serving a more laid-back and affordable alternative to The Boulan. The lobby of South Beach Hotel will feature hand-carved Guatemalan wood furniture with sleek, minimalist guest rooms decked out with every modern comfort, including plush pillow top bedding and walls adorned with art by famed local artist Santino Sverdlov. “We are very aware that Collins Park is the up and coming Design District of Miami Beach,” explains Vardi, referencing the exclusive use of art throughout the hotels, some of which is available for purchase.
One of the most anticipated projects for the newly re-branded neighborhood is the alfresco restaurant planned for the courtyard of South Beach Hotel, the next incarnation of Miami’s favorite laid-back pop-up, Sweetwater Beer Garden. “Late last year the hotel group introduced the pop-up lounge Sweetwater Beer Garden in the Ansonia Hotel to rave reviews. Spearheaded by longtime Miami Beach nightlife visionary Tatanka Guerrero, Sweetwater will move from the Ansonia and now join South Beach Hotel as a permanent, here-to-stay venue,” says Vardi. The eclectic, hip but approachable outdoor lounge will feature an expanded food and drink menu.
So what’s up next for the young, vibrant hotel group? Developing the two additional hotel properties – The Ansonia and Plymouth Hotels. “We want to help revitalize Collins Park. It’s important to us to create an environment that hotel guests and local will enjoy alike. Each property will be crafted with relentless attention to detail to provide a social atmosphere and unique experience for all,” says Gellin.