Think Hotel Group has set their sights on Washington Avenue.
The boutique hospitality group is best known for reviving the southern perimeter of Collins Park by rolling out a trio of charming historic hotels starting in 2011 that, today, includes Plymouth Hotel where Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill is nestled by the lobby, South Beach Hotel and Boulan. They also own Orange Blossom restaurant on Collins Avenue.
Their latest project is the revival of the historic Clinton Hotel (825 Washington Ave., South Beach; 305-938-4040), which they purchased in 2015 and reopened this January after an 18-month, multi-million dollar renovation.
“We concentrate on doing things right, even if that means we take our time,” says Shawn Vardi, COO of Think, who has moved slowly and deliberately in the acquisition of properties and the opening of new hotels in Miami Beach. “We’re here to stay. We planted our flag. We’re in Miami. We’re not a company that buys and sells quickly.”
At Clinton, they uncovered and restored the Art Deco property’s original Spanish tile floors in the lobby and moved the reception desk back to its original location for better flow. They also restored the courtyard swimming pool and struck a partnership with Boucher Brothers, so that their guests have dedicated beach service once they reach the beach two blocks away. “We wanted to provide an on-sand experience even though the hotel is located off sand,” says Vardi.
There are also plans for a forthcoming restaurant Falsa Limondada that will transform into a late night drinking boîte open until 5 a.m.
The 88 guestrooms have been gutted and restored with new furniture and bathroom finishes reminiscent of the design at The Plymouth Hotel featuring oversized tufted headboards and jewel-toned, cushy upholstered furniture in designated seating areas and subway tile bathrooms with glass showers and steel fixtures. “Our style is timeless, even throwback,” says Vardi whose business partner Hunter Gellen worked with Restoration Hardware on the hotel’s design details.
Beyond the Clinton, Vardi also sees potential in the revival of the somewhat seedy, yet on the rise, Washington Avenue. He’s spearheaded a Business Improvement District from Fifth to 15th Streets aligned with other business owners whose priorities are to improve the area’s vegetation, transportation, security and sanitation.
He notes neighboring hotel developments including Washington Park Hotel with their onsite Employees Only cocktail bar, the newly expanded Kimpton Angler’s and the forthcoming Moxy by Marriott as clear indicators that the area is poised for rebirth.
At Clinton, Vardi is courting sophisticated guests traveling with their partner or friends who aren’t looking to go clubbing during their entire South Beach vacation. He’s created a stylish hideaway close to the beach at a fraction of the cost of neighboring hotels.
Starting rates are from $229.