On the scene at 1 Hotel South Beach hospitality industry panel (The Real Deal)

he Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association hosted a panel at 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach this week, which included executives from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Robert Finvarb Companies.

The panel, How to Entice Guests and Drive Revenue, discussed challenges and solutions to building hotel brand appeal and revenue. PwC’s Jonas Niermann moderated the panel, which included panelists Seth Gadinsky, co-founder of H3 Hospitality and owner of Gadinsky Real Estate; Borja Alvarez de Estrada, brand franchisee of Purobeach; Liubasha Rose, VP of design at Starwood Capital; and Brian Vujnovic, VP and director of operations at Robert Finvarb Companies.

Purobeach, a luxury beach club with locations from Portugal to Dubai, told The Real Deal that the company is scouting sites in Miami-Dade, with plans to open two hotel locations.

“Many of our customers from Europe are coming here, and they want to experience what they have in Europe,” Borja Alvarez de Estrada said during the panel at 1 Hotel South Beach on Tuesday. — Katherine Kallergis


Redesigning the South Florida nightlife

Four men with backgrounds in retail, real estate and marketing have teamed to transform South Florida’s nightlife. Ken Barilich, Seth Gadinsky, Cal Fortis and Justin Schultz recently formed H3 Hospitality with a goal of providing solutions for hotels to activate every square inch of their property to stay profitable.

I spoke with Gadinsky and Barilich about the hotel entertainment scene and what businesses can do to improve their services on a budget:

SFBJ: Are there any design trends that are particularly popular for hotels?

Barilich: The best hotels aren’t just hotels, they’re incubators for the next great trends in food, interior design, architecture and wellness. One of the trends is “more fluidity,” with less definition between the public spaces of the hotel. The definitions of rooms, lobbies, bars, restaurants and other public spaces are blurring. There is also a return to good taste for hotels. We are seeing some hotels move away from young and trendy with fewer gimmicks and, instead, they are offering more value for the guest’s money.

Gadinsky: Hotels and their restaurants are also becoming more seamless with the surrounding community. There is now less of a distinction between a hotel restaurant and a neighborhood hangout, with locals, and not just hotel guests, spending time there.

SFBJ: What can hotels do to provide quality, entertaining public space on a tight budget?

Gadinsky: A return to taste vs. gimmicks can be a cost-effective move for hotels. For example, doing away with lavish room service or bell stations in the lobby. This opens up room for the lobby to be utilized with kiosks for food, coffee and liquor service, and gives guests more value for their money. Hotels are becoming more inclusive and inviting in the outside world, rather than just guests staying on property. Many lobbies now provide comfortable workspace, accessible power and Wi-Fi access, food service and indoor-outdoor aesthetics, making them a draw for guests and the community.

SFBJ: Why does Miami Beach’s nightlife, retail and restaurant scene need a refresh?

Barilich: Miami’s nightlife, retail and restaurant scene has changed dramatically over the past decade. The influx of great outside hoteliers that understand the entertainment business … has elevated the market for hotels as entertainment options. Miami has become a “fish bowl” city … where people come and look to see what the latest trends are for the entertainment industry.

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Experts talk Miami Beach hotel trends

The Miami Beach hotel sector is experiencing a strong resurgence since the recession, but several industry experts say the market still has ample room to grow.

Hotel developer Robert Finvarb and Hersha Hospitality Trust executive Robert Hazard discussed the upside of the Miami Beach hotel market during a panel discussion at Wednesday’s Marcus & Millichap’s Commercial Real Estate Forum: Florida, held at Florida International University’s North Miami campus. South Florida real estate veteran Seth Gadinsky and Kimpton Hotels executive Tom Riley also participated in the panel, which was moderated by Lifestyle Media Group editor-in-chief Kevin Gale.

The pace of growth in the city’s hotel sector is currently 4-to-5 percent ahead of Manhattan, according to Hazard, senior vice president of acquisitions and development at Hersha. Hazard’s company owns the Courtyard Miami Beach Oceanfront hotel.

Yet the South Beach area of the city needs a “dose of reality” when it comes to room rates, Hazard said.

“The pricing is pretty much out of control,” he said. “There is no market for it.”

Momentum in the city’s hotel market has shifted in favor of the mid-Beach section, where developer Alan Faena is working on the massive Faena Miami Beach mixed-use project that spans several blocks along Collins Avenue.

Faena’s development should “bring a whole new group of people” to mid-Beach, Gadinsky said. “That’s an exciting neighborhood for a jet-setter crowd.”

Finvarb, who is currently developing the AC Hotel by Marriott near the Faena site, noted even traditional hotel operators like Marriott are trying to capitalize on the area’s edginess. Marriott is partnering with developer Ian Schrager on Edition Miami Beach, the first United States version of the brand.

“I’ve worked with Marriott for 12 years,” Finvarb said. “The only way the Marriott can get cool is to acquire cool.”

One sector trend to monitor is the transition from local to “more sophisticated” hotel operators in the city, according to Gadinsky.

“There’s a gap of quality operators in Miami Beach,” he said. “Some of the spaces are beautiful and completely under-utilized.”

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Gadinsky Real Estate Partners With Legendary Nightlife Duo to Target Under Serviced Market

Seth Gadinsky and Justin Schultz of Gadinsky Real Estate and legendary nightclub developers Cal Fortis and Ken Barilich — of With Smith — announce the launch of their new collaboration:H3 Hospitality. The full service company will offer real estate, design, and operating services to hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and family entertainment properties.

The idea for the company came about when the four partners collaborated on a hotel project and realized that no other company in South Florida has the experience to provide all of these professional services to the hospitality industry.

Check Out Bubble in Charlotte, NC

H3 Hospitality’s Cal Fortis receives a mention from Jarvis Holliday at Charlotte Magazine:

“Even without a guided tour, you’ll be impressed with Bubble’s décor. The space was designed by Cal Fortis and his team at Big Time Design, who are responsible for designing notable nightlife venues in Miami and New York City. There was great attention to detail paid to the wallpaper, lighting selection, floors and the elevation of them, marble sinks in the bathrooms, and several other touches. You’ll certainly take notice of the large prints of Barbie dolls enclosed in glass along one of the walls.”

Cal Fortis of H3 Hospitality in the News

Callin Fortis of Big Time Design Studios Headlined the Club and Venue Design Expo in 2012. Here is what Yahoo! Finance had to say about it:

Delivering Global Design in a Challenging Economy

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwire -11/09/11)- Callin Fortis, co-founder of Big Time Design Studios, will be the keynote speaker for the first Club and Venue Design Expo scheduled to take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California on Wednesday and Thursday, February 1 – 2, 2012. Fortis is the nightlife legend that created and founded the international award-winning brand, crobar. He is known for having his finger on the pulse of what was, is and will be, and has dominated the world’s nightlife and hospitality scene for more than two decades. Creator of numerous clubs: Cameo, Rain, Vinyl, UK’s mega club Gatecrasher and more, Fortis has significantly influenced nightclub design as we know it.

Kicking off the two day conference and exhibition, Fortis will present: How to Deliver Compelling Global Design in a Sluggish Economy. “As designers we face more than a design challenge. We face creating a memorable experience with decreasing financial resources, while addressing the needs versus want of the patrons,” says Fortis.

The co-founder of Big Time Design Studios will also head up a panel on the second day of the conference that underscores his message in the keynote speech. “The Art of Nightlife Storytelling” will outline one of the most important elements in the hospitality industry — the entertainment branding formula for revenue generation, which is ultimately driven by design. His colleagues, Kenny Barilich of crobar Worldwide, Dan Agne of Sound Investment, along with Vello Virkhaus of V Squared Labs and Steve Jarvis of GMR Marketing, will lend their expertise in the panel.

Upcoming Projects

Fortis’s latest projects include Dirty Martini in West Palm Beach a modern and fresh retake on classic martini culture. Bubble, a champagne bar and lounge in Charlotte, North Carolina, represents a new foray into the luxury brand market demographic for Bar Management Inc. who operate over 40 units nationwide. In Miami Beach, The award winning B Bar is created in concept, ethos and design and sets the bar higher than it ever was in SOBE’s ever-mercurial changing hospitality scene. Big Time Design Studios next hospitality project is in the burgeoning Midtown/Design District of Miami, which is at the center of urban revitalization and experiencing a renaissance.

Big Time Design Studios

In 2007, Big Time Design Studios was consulting interior architect to ensure Marcel Wanders vision was made into reality on the public spaces in Morgan’s hotel flagship – The Mondrian. Following, BTDs completed CRUNCH, a complete re- branding of the multi city chain of fitness centers with outposts nationwide. Drawing on 20 years of experience in design, architecture and high end hospitality concepts, Fortis has launched has set his sights on a much loftier goal — to combine, fashion, music, branding, and design into one package. His catchphrase for this unique melting pot is Marchitecture. Whether dancing, shopping, eating or checking into a hotel, Fortis finds that how people move through space, how they experience the journey, and how they interact with their surroundings — are all built on the same foundation. Fortis says, “It is the big things that create the impression and the little things that create the memories.”

Selected Awards

Interior Design – crobar New York; Mega Club Design – crobar New York; Sound and Lighting; Design – crobar New York; Renovation – Cameo Theatre, Miami; Hotel Lounge – B Bar, Miami; Club Design – crobar, Miami



Adoré Nightclub

“We are excited to expand to Miami Beach,” says Waits. “It’s a capital of nightlife worldwide and we look forward to bringing our vision to the city,” says McCormack.

Located on iconic Collins Ave. and beside the boutique Boulan Hotel, Adore will be Miami Beach’s first venue to open doors in nearly a decade. Inspired by a forgotten cathedral’s fall from grace, Adore features a decadent candle bar with engraved antique mirrors downstairs with a darker hanging chain bar to refresh mezzanine level guests. The deep reds and glowing ambers create an atmosphere that is both sweet and sinful, where guests can explore the intimately hidden corners of the venue. Luxurious booths circle the dance floor, while a glowing cathedral ceiling floats above the stage and DJ.

In addition to the nightclub’s plush decor, the 12,000-square-foot space will also be equipped with the finest sound and lighting systems in the city. Adore will feature the most elite sound system in Miami using the latest line by Funktion-One, the industry leader of premier nightclub audio systems. With over 100,000 watts of hi-fidelity power, clients and artists can expect an enhanced nightclub experience unparalleled by other venues.

Setting new standards in nightclub technology, SJ Lighting has created a lighting and video design that raises the bar for world-class clubbing. Partygoers will vibe to the DJ’s tempo late into the morning hours under a custom three-dimensional LED sphere, propelling the disco ball concept into the 21st century. While facing the DJ booth, guests will discover a floor to ceiling LED display showcasing video imagery and effects that are fully integrated into the control systems. Expect the imagery, color and effects to flow together seamlessly with the music and atmosphere of the night. Adore’s control system is considered the industry standard throughout the professional lighting community, having been implemented at esteemed events including EDM festivals, the Olympics and the Super Bowl.

About Adore Nightclub
Created by The Ocean First Group, Adore is owned by leading hospitality entrepreneurs and renowned nightlife moguls, Cy Waits and Cory McCormack. Adore Nightclub will be located at 2000 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL, 33139. Operating hours will be Thursday through Sunday evening from 10:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. For additional information, please .

For the original article:

Hotels Need That Extra Zing

South Florida’s hospitality market is improving with the economy, but hotel operators can’t relax. Better times mean more competition luring guests from properties that are even the least bit dowdy. (Guests are fickle, shallow, and easily stolen away… like our prom date.)

H3 Hospitality partner Seth Gadinsky tells us that “value enhancement for hotels is a constant goal–they need to keep up with competition as fresh new hotel brands appear on the market monthly.” It’s critical to keep up with the industry’s changing trends, to develop unique food and beverage concepts or retail offerings, and to bolster a hotel’s assets. (Might we suggest having an in-hotel magic shop?) Recently Seth, who owns Gadinsky Real Estate, formed H3 along with colleague Justin Schultz and nightclub developers Cal Fortis and Ken Barilich to specialize in adding that missing zing.

Seth adds that common-area assets like lobbies, restaurants, retail, and even storage areas and rooftops are great opportunities for hotels to generate revenue. “Hotels can use these spaces to create one-of-a-kind dining or entertainment, and their guests will talk about it,” he says. These spaces also become separate revenue drivers for people not staying at the hotel and, when marketed properly, give the hotel another recognizable brand. Pictured: the B-Bar at The Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach, which Cal designed. (Perfect for those inclined to dance battle.)

Link to full article: 

Welcome to

The entire H3 team is thrilled to introduce our new online presence that will become the go to place for the most up to date information about the company. As the site evolves, we encourage you to come back and check out the many projects in development as well as those already completed. As our site is brand new, let us take a moment to show you around:

Who We Are: This page allows you to get to know the team and the expertise they bring to the table. It is the variety and multitude of experience that each person brings to the table that makes H3 such a unique partner for all of your nightlife, retail, family entertainment, and food & beverage needs.

Projects: Here you will find a sample of projects that the H3 partner companies have already completed. This page will change the most as new projects featuring galleries highlighting construction progress and completed designs are added.

Services: With the variety of experience that comes with the H3 team, we thought it would be helpful to tell you about the type of services we can offer you. This list is just a sampling of the many ways we can help you reach your goals.

Blog: Whether it is through our Blog, Twitter updates, Facebook posts, Instagram pictures, or any of the various social media outlets, let this page be your go-to source for updates on H3, our perspective on the hospitality industry, and anything we feel like sharing with you. We recommend you bookmark this page before our home page and check it often.

Contact Us: If you feel like reaching out to us for any reason, use our contact page to send us an e-mail, call us, or get directions to our office. We would love to sit down with you and discuss how H3 help maximize a hospitality space.

Thank you again for visiting our new online home. We look forward to working with you! If you would like to reach out to us, please e-mail

– The H3 Team