Hotelier of the Year: Sam Nazarian Lights Up SLS (and Others)
It's that time of year again: the 2012 HotelChatter Awards! Between last Friday and today, we're showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
2012 was exactly the exciting year for the hotel world we hoped it would be with more new hotels open than we've seen in a long time. And as we've already mentioned, one of those hotel openings that had us crazy excited was the SLS South Beach.
After years of speculation--will it open or will it just fade away?--hotelier Sam Nazarian managed to open the long-awaited spin-off to the SLS at Beverly Hills. And the SLS South Beach does not disappoint from its kinky bedrooms (hello, mirrors on the ceilings) to its so-hot-right-now selection of restaurants and lounges to the celebrity designers who put their rock star touches on the place.
While the SLS South Beach is not for everyone--once could successfully argue that it's just a nightclub and restaurant with rooms attached--the Shah of SLS has managed to transport his nightlife je nais se quoi into the hotel realm. After all, who doesn't want to party in Lenny Kravitz's poolside bungalow or eat sushi at Katsuya and get wasted at Hyde? Certainly most of the people who head to Miami for its lively party scene. And Nazarian's only just getting started.
We've had SLS New York (coming next year) and SLS Las Vegas (coming very soon) on our radar (thanks largely in part to Nazarian's ability to secure some major financing for these projects) but earlier this month, the news finally came out that Nazarian and the W South Beach's owner had partnered up to buy the Raleigh Hotel, also in Miami Beach.
Nazarian's sbe Hotel Group has already taken over the spot with renovations to begin in April. If everything goes well, there could be more Raleighs in the future. That's in addition to the planned expansion of Nazarian's Redbury Hotel brand.
So while we've given a nod to Nazarian for his work in 2012, we've got a feeling that 2013 will be an even bigger year for him. Will he be the first hotelier to nab this award two years in a row? We shall see.
[Photo of Sam Nazarian at the opening of the SLS Los Angeles by HotelChatter]