SBE President Arash Azarbarzin On SLS’s Fantastical Growth

Arash Azarbarzin, Katsuya Uechi, Carlos Rosso
SBE’s Arash Azarbarzin, Katsuya Uechi, and Related Group’s Carlos Rosso

Haute Living caught up with SLS President Arash Azarbarzin at the launch of the SLS Lux, a new SLS tower in Mary Brickell that boasts all the chicness associated with SLS, but wit a whole new level of luxury. That means an association with Related Group, and tapping Yabu Pushelberg for the interiors.

Since joining SBE in 2005, Azarbarzin has been tasked with expanding the brand. Now, with the recession behind him, he’s finally been able to take SBE and its SLS hotel brand to the soaring heights it’s always been destined for. And expanding it is. With a successful SLS on South Beach, Hyde Midtown with the Related group and two different SLS projects in downtown Miami, it’s safe to say they are on fire.


HL: This is going to be the second SLS Lux ever?

AA: Correct. The first will be opening August 22 in Las Vegas. The SLS there is going to have 3 towers and we wanted to have a different personality for each tower. The all-suite will have 286 suites, and be called the SLS Lux.


HL: You have SLS Brickell, a hotel and condo property, going up a few blocks away on Brickell, why another SLS so close?

AA: The demand for SLS Brickell was so overwhelming; we could have sold it three times over. There are also synergies that can happen between the two properties. For example, a resident here could potentially go back and forth, use the pool there etc, so instead of one, there can be two playgrounds for the guests [near each other].

We also wanted to take advantage of the momentum that we have and the infrastructure that SBE has, not only in South Beach but growing around the country. And this property is different, it is positioned even higher than the one down the street. The SLS Lux is going to be more luxurious, have more amenities. All the details are next level.


HL: Tell me about the $3 million “Torso” sculpture by Fernando Botero and other great art you are incorporating into the project.

AA: When you have a partner that has a museum named after him, Mr. Jorge Perez, we sit in the backseat and follow his lead. He is such a tremendous force to be reckoned with in the art community and so when he says this is the art installation that we are going to do, we just say, ‘Yes sir’!”


HL: SLS is growing so fast, what is the key to your success?

AA: If I had to pick one id say it’s the seamless integration of every aspect of the property, we manage the spa, we manage the restaurants [Katsuya, Bazaar by Jose Andres], and we don’t lease anything out.


HL: What’s the greatest thing about your job?

AA: For me the greatest thing is that 4 years ago, we were sitting in our office and the world was coming to an end. All our properties were in jeopardy, the market was crashing and the debt market disappearing and we were just like, ‘What are we go going to do?’ And 3 years later SLS Las Vegas is about to open and we just got a deal that was announced on SLS in the Bahamas, and we have projects for Miami under construction, Seattle, Philadelphia. That is the greatest thing.

See the opening here:

Photo by World Red Eye.