SBE Hotel Group (SBEHG), a division of SBE Entertainment Group (SBE), today announced plans for the launch of its new luxury hotel concept, to be called SLS Hotels. The first SLS property will be operated under a management agreement with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) . As part of the agreement, The Le Meridien at Beverly Hills will undergo a complete transformation and emerge as SLS Los Angeles, part of The Luxury Collection in early 2008, which will offer guests exceptional experiences indigenous to Los Angeles. The luxury SLS group will ultimately include hotels and resorts in the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. The announcement was made by SBE CEO Sam Nazarian.
The SLS Los Angeles property joins SBEHG's expanding roster of hotels which includes Miami's Ritz Plaza which the company is currently redeveloping along with Makar Properties, for reopening in mid-2008. On March 2, SBE also reached an agreement to acquire Las Vegas' famed Sahara Hotel & Casino, with equity partner Stockbridge Real Estate Funds.
“With SLS, we are examining and rethinking every possible aspect of the luxury hotel experience to create an entirely new paradigm that is truly in tune with what sophisticated travelers want today,” said Nazarian. “To that end, we've teamed with the best minds and companies in the industry to help make SLS into one of the premier hospitality forces in the world, with an unwavering commitment to absolute innovation, the highest quality, and intuitive guest service.”
As for what the SLS name represents, Nazarian added, “SLS is not an exact acronym for anything in particular. Most importantly, it is a name that will become synonymous with timeless elegance, intelligence, humanity, discovery and a completely novel guest experience.” SLS properties will offer the utmost luxury, with lively public spaces, private guest check-in, highly personalized and attentive service, and a decor which will go beyond the notion of 'interior design' into a work of art.
Design Exclusive with Philippe Starck
A crucial component of the SLS concept's recipe for success is creative mastermind Philippe Starck, who is designing the look and feel of all SLS properties under a 15-year design exclusive with SBE for North America, the Caribbean and Mexico. The SLS hotel properties will be the first truly luxury hotels that Starck has designed in North America, having completely redefined every aspect of the hotel experience in the 1990s and spurred the 'boutique hotel' movement which has now permeated every corner of the industry.
This agreement builds upon a six-year design exclusive signed in May 2005 between SBE and Starck, under which Starck is currently designing several distinct restaurant and lounge concepts. The first of these new concepts, Katsuya, launched in June 2006 in Los Angeles' tony Brentwood neighborhood and has quickly become one of the city's hottest restaurants.
Starck's ingenious concepts for SLS promise to surprise, soothe, excite and enchant, and represent an important evolution for the celebrated designer. He commented, “The world — and what I call the 'global tribe' which travels it — are very different from when I designed my first hotels. What I am creating for SLS will be incredibly timeless, chic, bold and ultimately humane, designed only to bring happiness in an elegant way.”
Culinary Wizardry by Chef Jose Andres
SBE also announced today an exclusive collaboration with renowned culinary innovator Jose Andres to oversee all food and beverage development for SLS properties. In the gifted hands of chef Andres, SLS guests will enjoy revolutionary culinary experiences in the hotels' restaurants, lobby and bars, as well as for in-room dining, banquets and meetings. A particularly strong signature of SLS will be pioneering, multi-faceted culinary and lounge concepts for the hotels' lobby spaces.
“Working with the SBE Hotel Group is a very exciting new challenge for me,” said Andres. “Food and beverage is increasingly playing such a pivotal role within the best luxury hotels around the world and it is a very fulfilling next step for my company.”
Andres, deemed “the boy wonder of culinary Washington” by the New York Times, was voted “Best Chef of the Mid-Atlantic Region” by the venerable James Beard Foundation in 2003 and “Chef of the Year” by Bon Appetit in 2004. He is internationally recognized for bringing both tradition and avant-garde Spanish fare to America, earning him the title of Spain's unofficial ambassador to the US and influencing the way Americans eat today. To this end in May 2007, he will be inducted into the Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America, by the James Beard Foundation joining an elite group of restaurateurs for this prestigious recognition. Andres and his THINKfoodGROUP team have created some of the most renowned Washington D.C. restaurants, including Jaleo, Oyamel, Zaytinya, Cafe Atlantico and his critically-acclaimed minibar by jose andres.
Management by Starwood
To ensure an unparalleled level of guest service, SBEHG has teamed with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. which will manage the Los Angeles property under the umbrella of its world renowned The Luxury Collection(R) brand, which includes famed hotels such as The Gritti Palace in Venice, The Phoenician in Phoenix, Arizona, and the recently opened Marques de Riscal in the Rioja region of Spain.
The Luxury Collection(R) is an elite brand of distinctive properties ranging from imperial palaces, romantic hideaways and historical landmarks to tropical resorts, recognized as some of the finest hotels in the world. There are over 50 The Luxury Collection hotels and resorts in more than 25 countries, each reflecting the true essence of the destination. The SLS Los Angeles property will also benefit from Starwood's market-leading Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program.
SBE Executive Expertise
Collaborating with M. Starck on the design and creation of SLS is SBE Chief Creative Officer Theresa Fatino, who directs all aspects of SBE's environmental, interior and graphic design, and orchestrates such vital brand touchstones as operating supplies, staff attire, ambient music, and retailing. Before joining SBE, Fatino was a senior executive with W Hotels where she played a key role in numerous facets of the brand.
A trio of seasoned hospitality executives round out the SBEHG executive team, contributing their cumulative industry expertise to the creation and growth of this new hotel brand. These include SBEHG President Arash Azarbarzin, whose two decades of hotel management experience include involvement with both the W and St. Regis Hotel brands; SBE VP of Development Joe Faust, who spent 15 years with the Hyatt Hotels corporation, and SBE VP of Marketing Michael Doneff, who has worked with high-end lifestyle brands such as One&Only Resorts, St. Regis, W Hotels, Dom Perignon and the Michelin Guide.