New hotel chains are popping up as fast as condo
projects lately. Philippe Starck
, the ubiquitous designer who is
no stranger to hotel design, has been selected by SBE Hotel Group to create the look for a new unnamed hotel brand. SBE
is owned by Los Angeles club god Sam Nazarian and the first property will be on the site of the Le Meridien in Beverly
Hills which is set to open in 2008.
SBE managed to tied Starck down to a 15-year exclusive deal (so much
for his claim in an interview last
that he'd be retiring in three years). The new boutique brand will be hitting all the hot spots
including New York, Miami and the Caribbean but instead of creating new hotels, these will all be conversions.
Starck will also remodel the Ritz Plaza in Miami but it will not be part of the new brand. He will also design
restaurants and lounges including a new Brentwood restaurant set to launch in May.
SBE seems to have
learned from the drama involving the Roosevelt hotel and Amanda Scheer Demme, who blocked hotel guests from her
exclusive clubs. In an article in Travel
, Michael Doneff, SBE Entertainment Group’s vice president of marketing promises that "if
you stay at our hotels, you will have preferred access to our nightclubs.” It's a smart move to make the
guests feel like they pare part of an exclusive group rather than feeling alienated in their own hotel.