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A Setai Condo Owner Says Staff Morale is Low in Days After Shakedown

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April 3, 2012 at 3:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Setai Shakedown continues.

Just to get you up to speed: The management company at the luxury hotel in South Beach, GHM, was kicked out early Saturday morning and replaced with a new firm, Trevi Luxury Hospitality Group. We heard reports yesterday that Setai staff, including upper management, was heading to court to try and obtain an injunction to stop the takeover.

Meanwhile, GHM released their own statement saying the owners of the Setai, Setai Owners LLC which is actually a division of Lehman Brothers, "ignored a valid contract, stormed the hotel and have taken the law into their own hands."

We've been trying to get some reaction from staffers inside the hotel but people are reluctant to speak out. However, we did get an observation on life at the hotel post-shakedown from a Setai condo owner. Remember, the Setai also has about 163 residences on property. Most of them are owned by Lehman Brothers but several are not. Here's what this Setai owner had to say:

I am an owner at the Setai and unlike the CEO of the new operating company Trevi has represented, there have been significant and noticeable changes in the environment and service levels at the Setai.

Staff moral is the lowest I have ever experienced, service levels are at there lowest, the Grill is closed during the busiest time of the year, there is no security at the beach entrance to the pool allowing anyone to walk in and intrude.

As an owner I am very concerned with the current environment and my investment as they are sure to decline if this level of service continues and if they do, be rest assured my fellow owners and I will be looking for compensation to offset the loss in value that we as owners are forced to realize should that be the case.

I think the manner in which Lehman went about this was very unprofessional and not well thought out. As we all are aware, sometimes business dealings do not fare well however, there are ways to go about terminating agreements. Given that there are so many other investors besides Lehman, Lehman should have had the audacity to include its other owners in such a harsh and potentially costly decision.

My personal experience at the Setai has been second to none. Service levels I had experienced were the best I have ever experienced from any other resort that I have ever visited (and I have visited many).

Although I do not believe it to be the case, I will remain hopeful that The Lehman investors understand the challenge of executing a property such as the Setai at such a high level and are committed to ensuring these levels are not hindered.

Having said that, if the experience I have experienced over the past few days continues then we are in trouble.

For what it's worth, Trevi Luxury Hospitality Group and Lehman is trying to put the Setai condo owners concerns at rest. In the statement Trevi and Lehman put forth yesterday, Anthony Barsati, vice president of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. said, " “Our goal is to improve the profitability, management and overall ‘Setai experience’ for hotel guests and condominium owners. We believe that under the right management, this property has limitless potential."

Once again, to be continued....

Got any other scoop on the Setai Shakedown? Even better, do you work for either the Setai or GHM and want to share your story on the DL? HotelChatter is here for you! (Anonymity assured!)

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