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Hotelier of the Year: Play It Again, Sam Nazarian
It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be 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...
It was pretty clear from the start of 2013 that Sam Nazarian would win the Hotelier of the Year for the second year in a row.
When we gave Nazarian this distinction in 2012, we hinted that 2013 would be an even bigger year for him. And he didn't wait long.
In February, SLS Hotels not only announced the SLS Las Vegas would open in fall 2014 but they also announced a new SLS Hotel for Seattle. Then in March, SLS released plans for a second hotel for Miami in the Brickell neighborhood (this hotel would also have SLS-branded residences attached.) The company laid low for a few months but then put forth some major expansion plans in July by announcing their intent to take the SLS brand to China by 2015.
Yet things really heated up at the end of the year. SLS and its parent company, sbe (also founded by Nazarian) opened their second Redbury Hotel in Miami Beach, just in time for Art Basel. (Remember, they also run The Raleigh in Miami Beach too.) Then the day before Thanksgiving, they dropped the news that they would be spinning off their Hyde nightclub into a hotel brand called Hyde Hotels. Two locations are already in the works in South Florida. And lastly, just a few weeks ago, the SLS International Hotel in Philadelphia was officially announced.
Amidst all this, the original SLS Hotel in Los Angeles celebrated its 5th birthday.
2014 will obviously be a hugely important year for Nazarian (and SLS and Hyde and Redbury) as many of these announcements and developments finally come to fruition (VEGAS BABY.) But will there be even more up Nazarian's sleeve in 2014? We kinda think it must be getting crowded up there but we guess, make hay while the sun shines. This hotel boom clearly won't last forever.
More importantly, will we see a three-peat next year? Possibly, but if Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin Hotels finally gets going and if Ian Schrager ramps up the Public Hotels expansion, that could make this race interesting.