The Inside Scoop

Retreats Resources Newsletter,
August, 2015

Dear friends and colleagues,

Welcome to "The Inside Scoop!", a behind-the-scenes, slightly irreverent glimpse into our continually evolving community of hotels, resorts, hospitality industry "movers and shakers" and the trends that are shaping our world.

Every few weeks we will offer you in depth interviews of people who intrigue us, reviews and overviews of places that excite us, and news and updates from the folks we are following, all dished up and easy to digest.

For more in-depth reading and additional photos, we'll offer links to the "News and Views" tab on our website. And our Cherry On Top features booking incentives to send your RFPs our way. So let's dig in - it's hot out and things are pretty cool in here!

1 Hotels: "We are not a brand - we are a cause!"

Barry Sternlicht Chairman and CEO,
Starwood Capital

1 Hotel South Beach

It isn't often that one of my meeting planner friends is the first to discover an exciting new brand, grabbing me by the hand and insistently leading me over to their stand at IMEX to meet with the team from 1 Hotel South Beach. It did not take me long to catch her enthusiasm, sitting for over an hour with their managing director, completely drawn in to their passion and vision, drinking their "Kool-Aid," one sweet sip at a time.

So it was with a great deal of pride and excitement that I journeyed to Miami to tour the hotel pre-opening and to sit down with their team to discuss exactly what makes this fresh new brand concept so unique.

Joining me were Michael Laas, Director of Impact for SH Group (a position created for him by brand founder Barry Sternlicht), Zach Felter, Director of Sales and Marketing, and two of my most beloved Roadshow veterans, Nicole Doebrich and Sonia Datta, who had recently joined the sales team.

Paraphrasing Barry's vision statement, Michael told me, "Our new brand is being built around a simple premise - that that the world is a beautiful place and we want to keep it that way. We strive to bring the beauty of nature indoors and to do what we can to protect the environment in countless different ways. We want to treat our employees humanely, give back to the local community and the world, and create an immersive experience for our guests."

"Whoa! That is a tall order," I thought. He is talking about nothing less than changing the way in which hotels of the future build, operate and create a profoundly different guest experience. But if anyone was up to the challenge, I would think that the creator of W Hotels, the former chairman of Starwood Hotel Group, and the gatekeeper to billions of dollars in investment capital sure would be!

From the largest hotel "green wall" in North America that makes up their facade and beckons you inside, to the extensive use of beautifully reclaimed beetle wood from a formerly distressed Colorado forest, to the triple filtered drinking water served in glasses made from recycled wine bottles and the sprig of fresh herbs hanging from a handmade door hanger to remind you that your room is being "refreshed", there are a thousand innovations in this delightful property and each one comes with a story.

It was promised that all of their "associates" in the service of creating an optimal guest experience, will be prepared to share those stories with the inquiring guest. In a paperless world, the "story-book" I suggested to do just that was deemed way outside their intention to do away with waste. It's a shame- this place- the vision and the execution and the sheer beauty of the finished product could make a pretty inspiring coffee-table book- one that I would be proud to own and show off.

In a city known for its nightlife, 1 Hotel South Beach is specializing in things that happen during the day. Their "Daylife" program will offer yoga on the beach, paddle board and surf lessons, kayaking through mangrove tunnels all arranged through the dedicated Concierge team, as well as a fleet of Tesla electric cars, a state-of-the-art Spartan fitness center - and four pools which take on a spa-like ambience during the day and a sophisticated lounge-y vibe after dark.

Beachcraft With the selection of James Beard Award winning chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio to create the food and beverage experience with the able assistance of Chef Fernando Cruz in the catering offerings, the 1 Hotel South Beach team feels that they are staying true to their mission and their vision in this important area. Chef Colicchio, known for his activism around protections for farmers as well as our food sources and anti-hunger campaigns, will ensure that as much of the food as possible is sourced locally, organically produced, and friendly toward the health-conscious guest.

At "BeachCraft," their full service restaurant, as well as at "The Sand Box" - Chef Collicchio's first ever casual poolside grill- fresh and healthy dining will be front and center. The "farm-to-lobby" bar, cleverly christened "Tom on Collins", features carefully curated local beer, wine on tap and handcrafted cocktails, as well as "small plates" from Chef's extensive repertoire.

"You will still be able to get a burger", Michael Laas assures me, "but it will be from a cow who ate really well!"

With 426 sleeping rooms and 25,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, 1 Hotel South Beach is poised to be a real catalyst for change within the meetings and events industry, especially in Miami Beach, where meeting space is scarce and tranquility hard to come by. The hotel is quite literally "living proof" that true luxury and responsible hospitality practices can go hand in hand.

1 Hotels South Beach

Click here for a list of some of the ways that 1 Hotel South Beach is putting ideas into action.

As our conversation came to an end, we began to become quite philosophical about living life with authenticity, passion and commitment. Michael pointed me to the Holstee Manifesto, which became sort of a personal credo for some of the team at 1 Hotel South Beach, as they seek to integrate their work life with their personal ideals.

And here is the Holstee video- hope you find it inspiring!


The Holstee Manifesto is a call to action to live a life full of intention, creativity, passion, and community.


So excited to share that Retreats Roadshow "pioneer," Stu Lang has recently rejoined Amangani in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as their General Manager. Stu is looking for group business this winter and promises to be good to you- take advantage now of this opportunity to experience renowned, world class hospitality in one of the most heart-stoppingly beautiful hotels in North America. See it for yourself at and share your RFP with me for more booking incentives.

Most of you who are receiving this newsletter have no doubt fallen under the spell of Belmond Charleston Place's Director of Sales and Marketing, Charlie Wellman - truly a "one of a kind" marketer. You may have been the lucky recipient of bobble heads, flower seeds, iPods loaded with Charlie's favorite tunes, a "Magic Eight Ball" or a Viewmaster - "retro" gimmicks meant to remind you to include Belmond Charleston Place in your future plans. I was delighted to read a C-Vent hospitality industry blog titled "A Lesson in Spunky, Personality Packed Hotel Marketing" featuring our iconoclastic friend. About time his unique brilliance and irreverent wit was recognized! Drop Charlie a note of congrats at If you have an RFP for him, just copy me for your free pair of Maui Jims.

Another Roadshow favorite, Yvette Lemoine, formerly of The Resort at Pelican Hill, has moved over to the newly refreshed and rebranded Capella Marigot Bay in St Lucia as their Director of Gobal Accounts and Incentives. Recently married to former Kiawah Resort sales manager, Michael Baumuller, Yvette has relocated to Miami and is looking to help you create a truly unique experience at her harbor-front resort, operated under Horst Schutze's Capella flag - and to his exacting standards. If you are curious about the possibilities, reach out to me and we can kick around some ideas...

Cherry on Top

Thanks to our partnership with Maui Jim, all RFPs you send my way will be recognized with a gift certificate for you to select some cool shades. Check them out at

Exclusive booking incentives at each of the hotels featured in our newsletter - let me leverage my partnerships and extensive network on your behalf! Drop me a note at, or call me at 919-259-9051.

Any opportunities for 1Hotel? They are currently offering:

  • an upgrade to an ocean view studio or one-bedroom suite for the meeting planner, as well as a complimentary spa treatment
  • 1 free room for every 35 booked

Send me your RFP between now and Nov. 30 and be eligible to win a weekend stay at this yummy property!

Stay cool, everybody! More yummy tidbits coming soon. Till next time...

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