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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:
Hotel Lawsuits / Miami Hotel Mambo / Renaissance Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Hotel Owners / → All Tags
Ruh-roh. There's even more trouble in Miami Beach.
Just after we learned about the Setai Shakedown, we saw that the owners of another Miami hotel that made our sexiest bathrooms list, The Eden Roc Renassiance Hotel, are now suing Marriott Hotels and their Renaissance brand for grossly mismanaging the hotel after an extensive renovation. Business Week has this choice bit from the hotel owners' lawsuit:
“In the face of Renaissance’s failures, Eden Roc has quite literally shoveled money into the project to make up for Renaissance’s incompetence,” Eden Roc said in the complaint. “And while Eden Roc loses its shirt, Renaissance and its parent company and guarantor, Marriott International, have lined their pockets with management fees.”
It's still several years away from completion, but the new 124-room tower going up on Greenwich Street has hopes of becoming one of the hottest nightlife and dining destinations in the downtown area, set to compete directly with the Trump Soho and Tribeca Grand.
But is that such a daunting task? Maybe not for the man who claims to have pushed the Indigo brand "into a higher gear" with the opening of Hotel Indigo Chelsea, which he owns.
We can now confirm with absolute certainty that the newly-opened Z Hotel has alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol. The independently-owned Long Island City hotel celebrated its grand opening with a wild rooftop party on Tuesday night, and—we have to give them credit—the views were killer.
Just take a look at this video to see what we mean. In addition to the freely-flowing liquor, champagne, and beer, pizza was being served out of the oven, a violinist was jamming on the roof, and the dance music was so infectious even the owner, Henry Zilberman, couldn't keep still.
Another boutique hotel pops up this summer in one of New York City's outer boroughs, and—surprise!—it's got a rooftop bar. Long Island City's Z Hotel, a sleek 100-room tower adjacent to the Queensborough Bridge, is almost ready to open its doors, but will the area's total lack of foot traffic spell doom for the much-hyped project? Owner Henry Zilberman, whose background as the owner of a local car service makes him something of an expert on location, is optimistic about the destination's appeal to tourists and business travelers. In a 2007 interview, Zilberman made the convincing case:
"I drive around here all the time, and you can take the Queensboro Bridge and be at Bloomingdale's in three minutes. Even with traffic, it's faster than the subway. It's a mystery to me why it took so long for Long Island City to be discovered."
Renderings of the Z (Z for 'Zilberman,' or for 'zany?') have been circulating on the web for a few years, and now that the whole thing is up, we have to admit, we like it a lot better than the nearby Ravel Hotel's bland exterior. At the Z, balconied walkways are set off by playful multicolored panels, and the grey-brick-and-glass facade is much more at peace with the neighborhood's industrial backdrop. But the question remains: how will a hotel premised on the appeal of its "Gansevoort vibe" make out in such bleak surroundings?