Miami's long had a reputation for being one of the world's glittery playgrounds and as such its hotels garner global attention. From Flagler's Royal Palm to the modern design gem that is the Fontainebleau, hotels speak to the mood in the Magic City. The latest mix of culinary, culture, and creativity has brought chic boutique offerings back to the forefront. Miami was ripe for something new and fresh and almost as if on cue LA's SBE landed in Miami with SLS, Hyde Beach, Katsyua, and The Bazaar. At the helm is Thomas Meding, Area General Manager for SBE Hotel Group which currently that includes the SLS South Beach and The Raleigh Hotel with SLS Brickell on the horizon.
Meding is well-known for his expertise in hospitality but it's his taste and love for family, fashion, music, and design that make him an ideal Ambassador. His morning ritual of checking emails while smoking a cigar and sipping an espresso is a delightful blend of pragmatism and pleasure. We caught up with him to discuss trends, travel, style, and more.
What's the first piece of art you fell in love with?
The first piece of art I feel in love with was my oldest son’s portrait of me as an oger! I really enjoy Peter Burega’s contemporary and abstract paintings - his choice of colors and lines are fascinating to me.
Who are your favorite designers?
Architecturally, I love mid-century modernism and admire leading architects such as Donald Wexler and Richard Neutra. In the world of fashion, I like Salvatore Ferragamo.
What is the best piece of style advice you've ever heard?
Wear what makes you happy... but, know what looks good on you.
What is inspiring you these days?
Everyone I work with inspires me. Their passion and enthusiasm to be the best and wanting to make a difference inspires me every day.
What is your motto?
Live and let live - surround yourself with positive people and be grateful for everything you have.
What is your favorite indulgence?
My favorite indulgences are a cigar and an espresso.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement in life are my children and living a balanced life with my wife. In terms of my career, there is still so much to do!
What career other than your own would you like to attempt?
I would love to be a musician but I have absolutely no talent.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I am happy with who I am but could definitely be a bit more patient.
What's one thing about Miami that you love?
Just one thing? It’s more like ‘what’s not to love.’
As a leader in the hospitality industry what trends do you see emerging?
I believe that the appetite for lifestyle brands will continue to surge as well as the demand for approachable, genuine and non-pretentious service. Generally speaking, the hospitality industry will become a lifestyle. Also, CRM (customer relationship management) will become increasingly more important. Specifically, the need to differentiate yourself and knowing what makes you, and thus, your brand, relative to your targeted demographics to ensure relevancy and future growth will be imperative.
Outside of the US what are your favorite hotels?
My favorite hotels are the Schlosshotel Buehlerhoehe in the Black Forest (Germany) and Chateau Les Crayeres in the Champagne region of France.
Where are you going on your next vacation?
To Hamburg, Munich and Paris with a possible pit stop in London.
Photo credit: Justin Namon
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