Haute Partners : Room Service with Keith Menin

Keith Menin

 “MARKET is our brand to grow for new projects that don’t already have historic associations like the Raffaello in Chicago or Gale in Miami Beach.”

Keith Menin has a lot to be happy about right now. Menin Hotels has expanded to 400 employees and is headed to larger new corporate offices. The Gale South Beach is the talk of the town with its chic-comfortable rooms. Both Dolce, and The Rec Room are understated successes, serving up a genre of laid -back heat reflective of Menin himself. The hotelier, who got his start working behind the desk of the Shelborne while still in high school, explained, “The Gale is probably one of my favorite, most exciting project we’ve ever done.” So much so, that they are annexing it by taking over The Cascade, a midcentury building in need of a make over across the street. The plan, which has already been put into action, is to create 30 suites in the building, each with a private balcony and Jacuzzi.

Other plans on the horizon include rolling out a new brand called MARKET under the Menin Hotels umbrella. Market will open its first hotel in Atlanta’s trendy Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. “MARKET is our brand to grow for new projects that don’t already have historic associations like the Raffaello in Chicago or Gale in Miami Beach.”

In Menin’s opinion high-end hotels with great service can also be a little stuffy, but hip hotels are a little short on service and luxurious build-outs. MARKET promises to create high-end hospitality service and build outs with a fun, hip feel. Part of that formula will include “great restaurants, bars and coffee shops,” that will be owned by Menin Hotels.

Despite his initial reluctance, Menin is finally delving into the restaurant business. “It’s a really big part of hospitality and, you know, a lot of people like dealing with one person. It’s easier to have Menin Hotels responsible for the entire asset.” So, in addition to future on-property restaurants, the group already has Vesper, Cantina Royale and Pizza Bar. Bars are also fair game and include existing venues Drumbar, a rooftop speakeasy on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, and Radio, a recently acquired local hipster spot south of fifth.

Offers come in all the time but the hotelier says he isn’t ready for just any deal. “There’s only so much time and if I’m not going to make real money, I’m not interested.” That’s because a lot of these deals would do more to expand his name, than his profits. For Menin, it’s not about the ego and number of hotels under his belt. “I know companies that have 10 or even 50 hotels and they lose money, but we thrive on being successful and doing great deals,” he says. Deals he and his Menin Hotels partner, Jared Galbut, who quietly operates the back end of the business, are interested in include a Lincoln Lane hotel near 1111 Lincoln and an opportunity to reimagine MIA’s terminal hotel. Menin is also looking at a restaurant deal with Chef Morimoto for The Shelborne with some new programming for the property. And thusly, by staying ahead of the curve, he will accomplish Menin Hotel’s goal of “great hotels in great locations delivering a great product,” as he puts it.