In the past two years alone, there were more than 30 hotel openings in Miami, which meant 30 more scene-y rooftops to choose from in a city of plein air quaffing. The hotel boom saw the rebirth of some major hotel landmarks, like the Betsy and the Fountainbleau. Coming this December, Miami will welcome the highly-anticipated, multi-million dollar restoration of the Shelborne Hotel. And nobody knows the Shelborne better than managing partner Keith Menin, who actually worked there as a bellhop when he was a teen. We caught up with him to get the 411 (or 305, rather) on the mega hotel, his thoughts on the Kardashians, and where to get the best meatballs in town.
Obviously, you’re attached to the Shelborne considering you worked there as a teenager. Will we be seeing old-school Shelborne or something entirely modernized? The Shelborne is one of the last original landmarks in Miami, so I felt it was time for a comeback. I believe that if you have an old art deco building from the 30s you should keep it and just update parts of it. We are actually bringing a lot of what used to be in the hotel and transforming it for today.
What do you see lacking in other Miami hotels? I see a lot of these new hotels taking away from the art deco movement. Either they knock a building down, or they transform the building into Asian, newly modern, or Starkified design. What I am doing is keeping all the old looks of the art deco building and pretty much bringing back everything that was there and updating it for today while keeping its vintage authentic feel.
What will make Shelborne unique? Most new hotels in South Beach went way too modern and minimal, when people now really want the comfort of the past. We are really restoring the Shelborne to its Art Deco glory while interjecting all of the modern high-tech bells and whistles guests expect. We are also going to make the Shelborne accessible with great public spaces and a red-hot restaurant and lounges, all at great prices so that locals can become regulars and we can attract the young crowd.
You also helped launch the Sanctuary hotel and Mondrian South Beach. Super scenester hotels, huh? I strive to create the right mix at my parties and have my “Go to” people in all the major industries down here, like fashion, models, music, and film. These people know everyone worth knowing and they like to have a great time. I make sure that they have a great hotel to party in and are well taken care of and they make sure that the party is packed with the Miami A List. I also involve all my closets friends and family and I invite the right group of people that know how to bring a great following.
Where are your favorite hang-outs in Miami? Mondrian Sunset Lounge is the best place for happy hour, as we have one of the best places to watch the sunset in all of Miami. When the sun goes down its all about the fantasy. And for food, Macaluso’s has the best meatballs. It’s a great place for a quiet get-together or date, Joe Allen has a great vibe. I like to go here for my lunch meetings. Pizza Bar for the best pizza in Miami!
What are your thoughts on the Kardashian’s Miami reality show? Are you glad they’re moving to NYC? I actually love their show and I think they’re great. I know them very well, and although I think they will be missed in Miami, I think it will shake up New York in a great and positive way.