EPIC Hotel: The Perfect Stay in Downtown Miami

“Planning to pop the question and want that special ring? EPIC’s relationship with luxe jewelers such as Harry Winston or Tiffany allows us to make a visit to their private room for a very personal ring showing, something your loved one will never forget,” explained Eric Jellson of Kimpton Hotels Florida & Cayman Islands. In an interview, Jellson and I discussed the origins of the EPIC hotel in Miami, the quintessential Kimpton experience, and how best to organize a truly luxurious itinerary for your next visit. 

Tell me a little bit about the origins of the EPIC hotel in Miami, and what it means to be part of the Kimpton Hotel family.
This was a very special time for all of us involved in the project. We were tasked with bringing to life the Kimpton culture for the first time in Miami, as well as being part of the renaissance of downtown Miami. It was a commitment all of us took very personally, seriously and with a great sense of pride, because we knew this hotel would be the catalyst for many great things to come for Kimpton and Miami as a global gateway to the Americas. Our team persevered and we successfully opened a luxury hotel and residence during a declining economy in December 2008.

Epic Hotel Pool

Earlier you talked about how you hope guests walk away from their experience at EPIC as if they were “cared for.” How do you bring that vision to life at EPIC?
This starts from the time we hire. As we interview, we’re looking to better understand how you genuinely care for people. After all, in this business we are here to serve, and create moments that are memorable. We refer to these as ”Kimpton Moments” and we recognize and reward employees monthly for these awesome random acts of kindness.

We can teach you how to make a bed or many other “task” oriented skills, but we cannot teach you how to genuinely care for people, which is why and how we strive to be the “most loved” boutique hotel company.

As Miami’s only downtown waterfront hotel with private dockside arrival, EPIC certainly pushes the envelope of luxury. In terms of other truly unique experiences, how else can guests take advantage of all EPIC has to over?
Reaching out to any of our concierges is always a good start. Let them know why you are visiting the city and the hotel. From there they can curate the perfect stay. If you’re coming to town with and want to start the night off right, let the concierge arrange for a private mixology class upstairs in the private room of LILT Lounge – the hotels live music lounge.

If you are a foodie in search of Miami’s best or the hottest restaurants in town, chances are you are going to need a reservation and they can assist. Planning on doing some luxury shopping in the Miami Design District? Let them secure your complimentary car service to the district—an EPIC insiders note—and enjoy some of the world’s best stores.

Planning to pop the question and want that special ring? EPIC’s relationship with luxe jewelers such as Harry Winston or Tiffany allows us to make a visit to their private room for a very personal ring showing, something your loved one will never forget. Surrounded by water and welcomed by luxurious yachts at the hotel’s private marina might put you in the mood to upgrade your yacht with a new Ferretti Riva, we can help arrange that for you as well, and so much more.

Ferretti Riva Yacht

Tell me a little bit about the different restaurant and lounge spaces at EPIC–Area 31, Lilt and Zuma.
We thoughtfully presented & activated restaurants and lounges that are aligned with our global and well-traveled audience. Area 31 on the hotel’s 16th floor offers the freshest seafood and fish from its namesake waters of Area 31, ranging from the mid Atlantic to the waters of Brazil. Area 31 offers both inside and outside al fresco dining, featuring sunsets and the magic of the city’s night lights and ”moon over Miami”, which appeals to both our locals and visiting guests from cold weather climates. Area 31 also services the hotels 13,000 square foot pool deck and 10 private cabanas that look out to South Beach Biscayne Bay and Miami’s Port.

If you were to recommend an itinerary for travelers coming to experience EPIC for the weekend, what would be your top 3 experiences for guests, and how can EPIC help arrange such a plan?
This is a tough question given the diversity of our city and the many interests of our guests, but here are my top three picks in no particular order, all of which can be arranged by our concierge.

See Miami by water at sunset and at night. Renting a yacht does not have to be anything crazy. It can pick you up at the hotel’s private marina. Have Area 31 prepare a to-go basket filled with bubbly, cheeses, meats, olives, and whatever other goodies you’d like. Hop on board, and watch the city come to life. It’s simply amazing,

Eat, dine, graze, and then repeat. I love the fact that there are so many “foodie”-type restaurants to sample. The choices range from the exclusive see and be seen restaurants like Zuma and Prime 112 to neighborhood cultural favorites like Café Versailles, a Cuban restaurant in Little Havana.

The EPIC pool deck, though I’m a little biased. There is nothing better than chilling at this pool deck on the weekends: great vibe, lounge music, interesting people-watching, cabanas to enjoy with friends, and an exhale spa cabana to get a massage. It’s the perfect “pre-game” to a night on the town.

If you have time, a visit to the design district for some uber-luxe shopping and maybe a little bubbly in between purchases—to catch your breath after you bought that crazy-expensive time piece.

Rahim Kanani is the author of critically-acclaimed hotel management book and hospitality management book A Wealth of Insight: The World’s Best Luxury Hoteliers on Leadership, Management and the Future of 5-Star Hospitality.