Sbe isn’t showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. What sbe founder/CEO Sam Nazarian calls the “full-circle approach to hospitality” is paving the way for the entertainment group in 2019—and that’s truly what sbe is at its core, an entertainment group dedicated to giving its guests a comprehensive hotel experience.
Following the recent deal with AccorHotels and its robust expansion both here and abroad, headlines haven’t been anything new for both Nazarian and sbe.
Nazarian started sbe with the intention of cultivating a fully integrated platform and today, sbe manages and owns more than 175 properties globally with a pipeline of more than 150 and growing. Fully integrated is the key phrase here and has been since sbe’s start in 2002.
Boutique hotels were on the rise at the time, especially in major cities like New York, Miami and Los Angeles—something that caught Nazarian’s eye—but he noticed something lacking in these offerings, something that would be vital to what the sbe name now stands for.
“There were fees going around to all these different entities—the restaurant group that came in to run that piece, the nightlife crew that came in on that side,” Nazarian said. “The guy that gets all of this right, he’s the one that will do it best, under one roof with one fee.”
When everything from development to design and all that goes into a hotel is done this way, profitability and the guest experience will both benefit, Nazarian said.
The company plans to build on this with the recent completion of AccorHotels’ acquisition of a 50% stake of sbe, a deal that gives Accor luxury offerings and sbe global leverage—a focus for Nazarian. Additionally, sbe will still remain an independent brand, an important component of the 50/50 deal, especially with consolidation remaining a prevalent industry trend.
The long-term investment by Accor will allow sbe to accelerate its international growth with expansion into new markets, including priority growth markets for the company in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle Land China and Latin America, Nazarian said.
“Their [Accor’s] like-minded approach to augmented hospitality, collaborative partnerships and strategic acquisitions is helping redefine the industry landscape and, on a larger scale, representing exactly what my ambition has been in building sbe,” the CEO said. “Providing both current and future hotel owners the opportunity to work with an independent global company, this partnership with AccorHotels truly marks the beginning of a new chapter in sbe history.”
The company is also focused on new concepts from its culinary innovation lab, launching a steakhouse concept at Baha Mar and more, Nazarian said. “We are also eagerly working on bringing Krispy Rice to the market, a fast-casual evolution of Katsuya, which will open next year,” he added.
Although the recent news triggers global thoughts, sbe is still very much involved with domestic affairs, especially in the Sunshine State.
“The greater Miami area—and Florida, in general—has become a major driver of the sbe brand through our extensive presence,” Nazarian said.
The company currently has 12 hotels and residences, 13 restaurants and 14 lounges in operation, with two hotels and residences to follow next year in the area.
“Miami remains the most important market for us at sbe,” he said. “The Miami market is critical for us because it’s not just a destination for U.S. residents, but rather, a destination for South American, European, Russian and Chinese guests who are staying at our properties and making increasing investments in residential units in the area.”
For Nazarian, accommodating different types of guests and anticipating their needs and wants, coupled with his experience in both the nightclub and restaurant industries, makes the all-encompassing experience possible across all sbe brands.
“When you check in at SLS LUX Brickell, you can enjoy an incredible massage at Ciel Spa, dinner at Katsuya and cocktails at S Bar without leaving the property,” he said. “What we create are destinations for our guests that will allow them to have a true full-circle experience with sbe. Some of our guests fall in love with their experience and for those, we are able to offer residences to experience the sbe lifestyle 365 days a year.”
Nazarian said the sbe family shares a sense of adventure, belonging and discovery, but that it’s evolution that makes hospitality in general so exciting. With that, for sbe to remain a success it must evolve as well.
“Being at the forefront of industry innovation and reimagining the ultimate luxury lifestyle by tapping into the minds of our nightlife clientele as they evolve to be our hotel guests continues to be our key to staying ahead of the curve,” Nazarian said. HB