Delano Hotel in Miami’s South Beach: A New Restaurant and Facelift

More than a decade and a half after breathing new life into South Beach, the Delano is getting its own rebirth.

The iconic boutique hotel sparked a transformation in South Beach when it reopened in 1995 following a makeover from hotelier Ian Schrager and designer Philippe Starck.

Food & Wine has posthumously honored The Florida Room at the Delano with a well deserved position on its 50 Best Bars in America list.

In preparation for its next incarnation The Florida Room will give way to FDR, “an invited escape speaking to the need of a sexy, evolved nightlife,” tout the press materials. a Vegas-based The Light Group production, it has officially closed.

During the recent Art Basel week, the Delano sold out with daily rates of about $1,025. The quarter that ended Sept. 30, the Delano was a key contributor to a company-wide increase in per-room revenue, Morgans Hotel Group said in its most recent earnings release. During the typically slow summer season, the hotel commanded average daily rates of $380 and revenue per available room of $224 — both double-digit increases over 2010.

With cosmetic enhancements throughout the property, a new restaurant and a relaunched nightlife venue all set to debut by late January, the hotel at 1685 Collins Ave. will get about $10 million in upgrades.

“It’s really about taking something that’s classic and reinvigorating it,” said Michael Gross, CEO of Delano owner Morgans Hotel Group. “This has been a phenomenal year for the property and it continues to perform very well. So it’s really about trying to take the Delano to the next level both in terms of the overall quality of the guest experience within the rooms, but also in the food and beverage and nightlife components, which were always so critical to what made the property so unique.”

These days, the trendsetter has a lot of company: The SLS Hotel South Beach is under construction a stone’s throw from the Delano. The W South Beach up the road, open since 2009, draws dependably hip crowds. And the nearby Surfcomber Hotel was recently folded into the boutique Kimpton collection after a renovation.

“The Delano’s been the epicenter since the mid ’90s. It’s had a long run at the top of the heap. I think they need to be doing something to stay current and fresh” said Gregory Rumpel, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels in Miami.

Upgrades: refurbished bungalows, an extended pool deck and new outdoor furniture, carpeting in the hallways, furniture in suites and flooring in elevators.

Every room will have an iPad, and bathrooms in suites and bungalows will include TV sets floating in the mirrors.

The hotel will also add three new board rooms to attract small groups and meetings by mid-March.

The biggest change, however, will come to the Blue Door Fish restaurant, which will become the Delano’s new signature restaurant, Bianca. Debuting the last week of January and operated by Vegas nightlife and restaurant conglomerate TLG.

Last month, Morgans Hotel Group closed on its purchase of a 90 percent interest in Las Vegas nightlife company TLG, which will oversee the new restaurant and nightlife space.

The menu is described as “modern Italian fare.” Executive chef Brian Massie, whose mentors include Lidia Bastianich, Charlie Palmer and Gualtiero Marchesi, promises innovative Italian with “local, farm to table organic ingredients” and will be involved with the Slow Food movement. Signature dishes include imported wood-grilled langoustines seasoned with Amalfi lemons; The Truffle Tagliatelle— house made pasta with fresh Peidmonte truffles shaved tableside and served in a light Parmesan sauce.

More than the menu will change; the restaurant will be less closed off than it is now with more light and “eye appeal,” said Morgans Hotel Group regional vice president JP Oliver, describing the new space as “a place to see and be seen.”

TLG operates several nightclubs, restaurants, pool lounges and bars for MGM Resorts International, but it has some local expertise as well: working as a consultant for TLG is South Beach nightlife veteran Chris Paciello.

Chris is currently living at the Delano next few months as he works to give back to the legendary beachside resort its No. 1 ranking among celebrities and their publicists, tabloid reporters, party crashers, bloggers, paparazzi, and plain ol’ party people.

For many, Miami Beach’s after-midnight glamour vanished the moment Paciello was handcuffed. Which is why he’s getting greeted back with hugs and kisses. “He’s a very bright, capable guy who has learned a great deal over the years,” said Al Malnik, owner of The Forge. “He’s going to bring back a lot of stars who wouldn’t otherwise be here.

Interior features four different areas for drinking and dining and sports a new look: “white walls juxtaposed with natural wood and refreshing green tones” as well as antique pillars imported from Southeast Asia and imported Italian furniture. Blue Sea will remain as is, a communal sushi spot also run by Massie.

The Rose Bar will be “re-introduced,” we’re told after a brief “cosmetic face lift dusting off the old design and including richer fabrics and colors;” and, finally, much to the dismay of many a cocktail fan,

In addition to the Delano, Morgans Hotel Group also owns, has ownership in or manages a dozen other hotels around the world, including the Shore Club and Mondrian in Miami Beach.

Over the past year, the company has sold several of its properties in a move to become “asset-light” and focus instead on developing and managing hotels.

Still to come are Delano hotels planned for Turkey and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and Mondrian hotels in Nassau and Doha, Qatar.“It’s a cornerstone of not just our Miami presence, but our company overall,” Gross said. “And part of our strategy going forward is to really focus on a couple of core brands. Clearly the Delano is at the heart of that global initiative going forward of building out the Morgans Hotel Group management business.”

“We are excited to partner with Morgans Hotel Group in introducing our brand to South Florida,” says Andrew Sasson, CEO of The Light Group, who got his start as a South Beach doorman way back when, go figure. “Our unique sense of style, attention to detail and cutting edge trends will be a perfect compliment to the chic Delano.”

About The Light Group
TLG is a leading hospitality management company with a ten-year track record of delivering cutting-edge food and beverage experiences at world class properties. TLG operates numerous venues in Las Vegas pursuant to management agreements with MGM, including nightclubs, such as The Bank Nightclub at Bellagio Hotel and Casino and Haze at ARIA Resort and Casino at CityCenter, restaurants, such as Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge at Bellagio Hotel and Casino and Diablos Mexican Cantina at Monte Carlo Hotel, pool lounges and bars.

About Morgans Hotel Group
Morgans Hotel Group Co. is widely credited as the creator of the first “boutique” hotel and a continuing leader of the hotel industry’s boutique sector. Morgans Hotel Group operates Morgans, Royalton and Hudson in New York, Delano and Shore Club in South Beach, Mondrian in Los Angeles, South Beach and New York, Clift in San Francisco, Ames in Boston, Sanderson and St Martins Lane in London, and a hotel in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Morgans also owns, or has ownership interests in, several of these hotels. Morgans Hotel Group has other property transactions in various stages of completion including a Delano in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, a Delano in Turkey, a Mondrian in Doha, Qatar, and a Mondrian in Nassau, The Bahamas, and a hotel in New York to be branded with one of MHG‘s existing brands. Morgans also owns a 90% controlling interest in The Light Group, a leading lifestyle food and beverage company.

RELATED TOPIC: Meet Christian Ludwigsen AKA Chris Paciello

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