The main ballroom in 1 Hotels South Beach offers 6,500 sf of meeting space that is anchored by a 20-foot green wall made of living moss. It reflects the kind of ‘design by nature’ concept that Starwood Capital’s chief executive Barry Sternlicht was going for when he decided to go all in on developing a lifestyle brand that appealed to an environmentally conscious guest.
The 426-room property is festooned with eco-friendly surprises that either encourage exploration of surrounding areas or bring the outdoors in—from art installations made entirely of plants to complimentary CitiBikes and rides in Tesla premium electric cars. When it opens officially in March, an on-site plant lab will offer an interesting teambuilding opportunity where groups can create a terrarium together or individually.
Sternlicht says the underlying differentiator of 1 Hotels is that it’s “not a brand, it’s a cause.” The first step to materializing 1 Hotels South Beach was to reimagine the Art Deco Perry South Beach Hotel into an eco-luxe haven. Recycled and reclaimed wood, neutral colors and natural light opened up the building. This vibe is maintained throughout the property in guest rooms and social spaces. One case in point is the main pool deck, which will have bursts of greenery tucked between wood accents, poolside cabanas, built-in glass fire pits, concrete insets of sand and sections of turf spread over 30,000 sf of space. Other interesting spaces will include the naturally-lit atrium with its grand balcony, sculptures and artworks inspired by nature. The rooftop terrace will include the only ocean-facing rooftop pool in South Beach. In all, 16 meeting rooms will be available.
At its core, Sternlicht says 1 Hotels will emphasize the changing face of luxury. “Luxury is not derived from extravagance, but from recognizing the simple, abundant natural beauty that surrounds us.”
His philosophy is easily found on-site but also transitions well in excursions to local sites such as five-acre Paradise Farms, chef Tom Colicchio’s regular go-to. The farm uses biodynamic principles to grow a range of micro-greens, edible flowers, vegetables and fruits. Along Biscayne Bay, Stiltsville introduces groups to a Prohibition-era assortment of shacks-on-stilts.
The hotel’s culinary offerings also have a creative eco-theme. Groups can head to the beach or bay with a chef-prepared picnic basket or brown paper snack bag—toss in a star map and binoculars for evening star gazing. As one of the more pioneering culinary concepts, lobby farm stands will serve up fresh produce from local farmers and suppliers.
At A New Restaurant, Colicchio likes to wrap seafood in foil with herbs and citrus and put it right in the coals to enhance its flavor. The exhibition kitchen provides a view of the day’s catch and farmstand-fresh vegetables.
1 Hotels South Beach’s March debut is joined by its sister property, 1 Hotels Central Park, with 1 Hotels Brooklyn Bridge Park coming down the pipeline.
Clearly at the opposite end of the spectrum, the crystal-drenched Baccarat Hotels was also launched by Sternlicht last year. The design concept puts a contemporary spin on the 250-year-old traditions of the Baccarat French crystal company, also owned by the Starwood Capital Group. To give you an idea of its extravagant bent, 17 glass chandeliers and 15,000 pieces of crystal stemware from France’s Baccarat factory are placed throughout the property. Baccarat Hotel New York is slated to debut in February, with Rabat and Morocco properties debuting later this year and in Dubai in 2018.