The Art of Hospitality

Both gentlemen were ecstatic about the possibility of embarking on a project that would be built from the ground up, rather than the refurbishment projects that are standard in the historic Art Deco district. “By building a brand new condo-hotel, we were able to construct great rooms with high ceilings. And with such access to the ocean, the idea was to give everyone fantastic views, which is why we did it from scratch, instead of taking an old property and rehabbing it.”

uring the design stages, not only did they take into account the beachfront perch, they created a property that would benefit its surrounding neighborhood. “We have three-and-a-half acres on the ocean, surrounded by Collins Park, which is now redone, the Bass Museum, the Miami Beach Ballet, the new library,” explains Edelstein. “The property is at the heart of what is the cultural capital of Miami Beach; it was designated as such.”

Both Edelstein and Rosen cite the decision to fly the W’s flag as a natural one as well, despite the plethora of competing companies that were interested. “When I bought the land, I knew it was one of the greatest plots on the East Coast of the United States,” Edelstein explains. “I negotiated with every hotel operator, both nationally and internationally. There were a few operators who didn’t want to be in this location….The chairman and founder of the Starwood, which owns the W, always wanted a Miami location. It’s a brand that fits with Miami. It’s hip, it’s cool, it’s known for design. And aside from being a very trendy boutique hotel, it is known for its ‘Whatever, Wherever’ service. The combination was compelling to Aby and I—this is the right brand. It fits like a glove.”

So they embarked on creating what is certainly the finest hotel in the W portfolio. This was the brand’s 31st property, but the first all-condo hotel. W considers the South Beach hotel its global flagship, and Rosen believes that the property is pushing the W to step up its game. “This is probably the best W that you’ve ever seen. It makes the entire brand work harder now, because everyone looks at them and thinks, ‘Wow, why are the other Ws not like this?’ The quality of materials and types of finishes are far beyond that of other W facilities, but I think they are changing their whole philosophy and bringing it up a notch.”