Tommy Hilfiger is buying, redoing The Raleigh; no comment from Michael Schwartz on restaurant's fate
Fashion designer plans to turn it into 'five star, chic hotel'
Quick! Call the preservationists fast. Tommy Hilfiger's buying The Raleigh, according to WWD. Not even two years since David Edelstein partnered with SLS's Sam Nazarian and The Raleigh is changing parents again as if it's the delinquent child of hospitality that no one wants. Hilfiger says he's always wanted to own a hotel and because of that he is starting his own hospitality group, "centered on fashion, art, music and entertainment." While you're on hold with the preservationists, speed dial Hotel Impossible's Anthony Melchiorri, please.
Hilfiger said Wednesday that "we’re going to turn it into a five-star chic hotel with all the amenities." Because nothing stays chic like Hilfiger, right? He also has plans to "create a whole new dining experience." So what does that mean for Michael Schwartz, whose Raleigh restaurant has only recently gotten settled into its new digs, garnering rave reviews? On the record from Camp Schwartz? "No comment." Everyone's being understandably tight lipped right now, but an insider jokes--we hope--that "Hilfiger is going to tear down the bar and turn it into a boutique run by his daughter." G-d forbid.
Crispy Soloperto, who went from hanging out at the hotel to working there for over a decade as bartender and eventually its chief concierge said, "Having worked there for so many years, it' s a shame that no one has held on to it for a longer period than Andres Balazs and [previous owner] Ken Zarrilli. It's a shame. If I had the money I would have bought it." But back to those preservationists. Hilfiger says the hotel “needs a full redo. It’s a bit dated.” Some fashionistas would say Hilfiger knows a thing or two about things that are dated. Others disagree. Says a hotel insider, "Tommy would be great for the hotel. He understands classic glamour as opposed to SBE's unsophisticated audience." Jo Manning, a member of Miami Beach's Historic Preservation Board chimed in, saying, "Wonder if anyone told him that as an historic hotel it has to go through the Historic Preservation Board? He has to get board approval for any redo." Stay tuned.
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