By: Mary Jo Almeida-Shore
If you’ve been blessed with beauty, talent, creativity, connections and some spending money, consider applying for membership to the newly minted, private Soho Beach House, the latest, greatest incarnation of founder, Nick Jones’ Soho House brand, which officially opened this week, after a month of exclusive gatherings for its top tier founding members. Soho Beach House, Jones’ third North American property, is right next door to the Fontainebleau on the ocean. The soft opening Founders’ party featured limitless lobster, and other seafood; steaks, black truffle risotto (where the chef was doling out the truffles as if they were chocolate sprinkles) and just about every other delicacy imaginable; a live band and gorgeous crowd- leaving the guests of the Founding members and anyone in the vicinity exclaiming, “Sign me up!”
In order to join, you will need: a proposer- an existing member, to recommend you for this Holy Grail of memberships and a couple of grand, (if like us you are barely over the age of 27-those 27 and younger need only fork over about half). Once you’ve taken care of that, “The Committee” will review your application. Be warned, if you don’t already know a member, one may be tough to come by: the House is so tight lipped about its members you’d think they were in the Witness Protection Program-photos on Facebook and Twitter are verboten!
But ahhhhh… once inside you’ll receive white glove service from the second you arrive until the moment you leave, provided by a hand-picked, young, vibrant, beautiful staff of creative types: writers, artists, designers, musicians…much like the members themselves. Are you seeing a pattern here? Nick Jones’ philosophy is that the House should be a haven where creative folks can stay and play- with an emphasis on bathing suits over business suits.
So how is this different than the crowd at any other upscale South Beach Hotel or nightclub? It’s hard to describe. But being that we are prone to hyperbole, we can say that once inside the Soho Beach House, the food tastes better, the air smells sweeter and everyone looks beautiful; mostly because it does and they are. But also, because part of what makes the Soho House brand so appealing is textbook psychology- anything is more desirable when surrounded by a velvet rope or glass case. It dates back to the first book of the Bible- would anyone have chosen an apple over a mango otherwise?
That said, we highly recommend you apply for membership: as we will not be reporting any of the specific goings on for fear of banishment. However, we will tell you a little bit about the place. Envisioned by Nick Jones together with designer Martin Brudnizki, the Soho Beach House boasts 50 hotel guest rooms, available in six different sizes, decorated with one off pieces of antique furniture and featuring king-size beds and rainforest showers stocked with Cowshed products. In stark contrast to most hotels which grace our shores, the rooms are decorated with-color (walls in blue, green or yellow hues and colorful floor tiles). Most of the cozy, stylish bedrooms overlook the ocean and/or waterways and a select group of rooms boast free standing marble bathtubs and private terraces overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Good luck scoring a reservation. While the press release states that the hotel at Soho Beach House is “open to the public.” If you go on the website to attempt a room reservation, you will find that the hotel is completely sold out until…forever. We suspect this is in an effort of keeping tight control over the crowd who stays (and plays) there. Of course, members can book any time and even receive special rates- so better have a member friend make the rezzie for you until your membership gets approved.
And what do you get for said membership? Invites to lots of unique, cool member events such as pre-release and special movie screenings in the tiny theater (Dustin Hoffman recently showed up at the screening of The Graduate in the LA House), access to the Cowshed spa and private upstairs 1940s Havana-inspired bar, private pools, priority bookings for events and dinner at Cecconi’s, beach lounges, a gym, free exercise classes, a library stocked with handsome old hardcovers and board games, and hanging out with the coolest people this side of anywhere. While “mum’s the word” about whom the members are, over the past few weeks, we’ve seen just about everyone we’ve ever met- ever-at the House. Only the fabulous Tuscan restaurant, Cecconi’s, is open to the non-member, non-guest public.
Most importantly, the Soho Beach House is just a great place to “be.” And as I sit here, writing this week’s story in the drawing room, along with other members engaged in similar pursuits, looking out on to the beautiful terrace café (as a local television station films a segment), I get the feeling that we share a collective sentiment: “We have arrived, now let’s stay awhile.”
A few noteworthy events drew our attention away from Soho Beach House last week: if only for a short while. Michael Leondas Kirkland celebrated his October birthday-week with his Miami milieu of artists, writers and creative-types beginning at Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink with Iran Issa-Khan and Sam Robin, who were also on hand mid-week at Mandolin Aegean Bistro for an intimate dinner of ten, including Sarah and Austin Harrelson, and Marco Marquez, among others. The celebration continued ‘til weeks-end with cocktails at Soho House, (we did say “short while”) followed by an intimate evening hosted by Marnie Howard and Ashlee Harrison at Gemma Lounge: among guests; BJ Parra, Mary Jo and Michael Shore, Sean Flannery, Nisi Berryman, Josette Wys Katz, Justin Keeperman and Benjamin Stein to name a few.
On Thursday night, reality show star, Evelyn Lozada, hosted a private event celebrating friend and renowned shoe designer Francesco Sacco at Lozada’s high-end accessories boutique Dulce, located in Miracle Mile. The gathering afforded a few of Miami’s trend-setters a sneak peak of the Italian designer’s new collection. Lucky guests included: Lozada’s fellow cast member Jennifer Williams, wife of former NBA star Eric Williams, who like Lozada modeled her favorite pair of Sacco stems; True Blood actress Aisha Hinds and Katrina Campins.
At SET on Friday night, Coltrane Curtis, Roman Jones, Eric Milon and Blair Smith celebrated the launch of Cohiba Cigar’s Red Dot Ritual and the official Opium Group Cohiba Cigar. Tastemakers sipped on Hennessy Privilege cocktails as Opium Group honcho’s Jones and Milon admired the new stogie.
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