The Art of Hospitality

This art-as-a-centerpiece formula has treated Rosen well throughout his career. An unstoppable real estate mogul, he is also a noted contemporary art collector with nearly 500 works in his inventory, including 80 Warhols. His New York office is located in the Lever House, which RFC Holdings purchased in the late 1990s. Visitors find fantastic works of art at every turn. At the time of our cover photo shoot, which took place in the lobby of the building, Barbara Kruger’s Between Being Born and Dying covered the entirety of the glass windows, both inside and out, in addition to the floors. With letters reaching as high as 17 feet, the phrase “Know nothing, forget everything, believe anything,” adorns the exterior, while inside, the walls read, “If it screams, shove it, If it vomits, starve it, If it sees, blind it,” and, “If it laughs, choke it. If it cries, drown it. If it sighs, shame it. If it loves, buy it. If it moves, f*ck it.” And the floor: “You make history when you do business,” and, “A rich man’s jokes are always funny.”

On display in the courtyard is Tom Sachs’ Bronze Collection, which presents the familiar icon Hello Kitty. A similar sculpture is on its way to Miami for installation at the W South Beach in time for Art Basel.

he fair will serve as a sort of coming-out party for the property, which quietly opened its doors this summer. “We didn’t do your typical ribbon-cutting opening party with a bunch of corporate back-slappers,” explains Edelstein. “We wanted to do something to elevate the brand and the property to be a bit more chic and with a bit more discretion.” Chic and discretionary certainly describe the itinerary at the property throughout Art Basel. On Wednesday alone, the W South Beach will host the official Art Basel VIP Welcome Dinner at Soleà, Larry Gagosian’s private dinner at MrChow, and the ArtNexus party in celebration of the fair. Thursday, Rosen will host a private dinner with mega-collector Alberto Mugrabi and news print mogul Peter Brandt in the Grove and Soleà, followed by an after party at WALL with art dealer Vito Schnabel, gallerist Alex Dellal, and Stavros Niarchos. That same evening, Cartier will host its private dinner at MrChow. Edelstein stresses that guests of the property, which is sold out for the duration of the fair, will be treated like royalty as well. On Saturday evening, he is hosting “We Rock the Arts” at WET. “Hotel guests will get a private performance by Glen Matlock of the SEX PISTOLS, combined with graduates of the New World Symphony, Jesse Yusef Murphy of the Brazilian Girls, and HykCast,” explains Edelstein. Art Basel Miami Beach will also host its official closing party at the W on Sunday evening.

As Rosen explains, this week is very special because it gives them a chance to introduce and showcase the property to the international art world. “We are doing these various events to show people how art and architecture work together,” he states. “They will see how we take care of our owners and our renters. It’s going to be totally inviting, all open tab—that’s just how we do our celebrating. It is like we are opening our home by opening this hotel.”

The property is the next evolution in hospitality, not only in Miami Beach but also across the globe. “We’re very proud of what we built,” says Edelstein. “Everybody always says, ‘You built the best W,’ or, ‘You built the best hotel on the beach.’ My goal was not only to build the best hotel on the beach or the best W; my goal was to build one of the great hotels of the world. Miami Beach deserves that.”

Rosen sums it up: “We are very excited about Art Basel and to contribute to Miami architecturally. Let everyone who comes down to the W judge how good a job we did.” So swing by the property and judge yourself. Rest assured, you will not be disappointed.