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Hotelier of the Year: Play It Again, Sam Nazarian

December 31, 2013 at 3:02 PM | by | ()

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.

Archived Comments:

Sam Nazarian?

Really?  This man has failed his way upward.  Keep in mind Sam -- who is playing with daddy's money (Qualcomm $$) here -- first bought the Sahara in 2006, but mismanaged and bungled the SLS rollout so badly that the SLS Las Vegas is only now, 7 years later, coming into fruition. Who wasn't happy with that?  Stockbridge, the venture capital firm that got screwed by this deal.  It is only with occasional injections of Daddy's money and some high roller d-bags who think SBE has anything resembling a business model that additional SLS hotels are in the works.  Keep in mind, too, that Starwood partnered with Sam on the SLS Beverly Hills - but is so turned off by his every business move that they refused to affiliate themselves with the new SLS hotels.  Before you crown him hotelier of the year, wait for his hotels to actually open.  I promise you they won't, not in the fashion you guys think he will.  He named his hotel chain after a $200,000 Mercedes-Benz model, for goodness' sakes.  He and Trump can battle out for the classiest hotelier around... meanwhile the savvy readers of yours will keep their ear to the ground on what the Ace folks, Sean MacPherson and Andre Balazs are doing... you know, the hoteliers who are hoteliers by trade, not because they have a lot of money to throw at something flashy.

Ex Employee

This post sounds like an ex and disgruntled employee making wild assumptions on all aspects of Sam's timeline.  Sad!

Oh God...

This man deserves this awards. From the Hyde Hotels to the SLSs, he's been on fire. It doesn't matter if it's "daddy's" money or not (btw, people are still using this excuse), he's turning it into profit. And from what I've been reading, Sam chose not to partner with Starwood for his newest properties. It's called growth and expansion. And speaking of Andre Balazs, did he not sell the Raleigh, which is now an sbe property?

Concepts Do Not Equal Hotels

Not an ex employee by any means. But I don't buy into unwarranted hype.

"From the Hyde Hotels... he's been on fire."

Hyde Hotels doesn't yet exist. It's literally a concept.  

How about I come up with 10 hotel concepts on paper?  Will that make me hotelier of 2014?

SLS Opening

I spent a week over the opening of SLS Miami.  Great hotel.  Curious to see what the LV location will look like.