Leave it to Singapore-based Como Hotels & Resorts to take its turn at reinventing the Miami Beach luxury experience with the Metropolitan Hotel. Formerly known as the Traymore (a name that legally remains on the hotel rooftop signage and is now the name of the lobby restaurant and bar), the 74-room property is the result of a total rebuild, while maintaining the overall size and configuration.
The scale of the property doesn’t overwhelm upon arrival. Only eight stories high (and with old-world ceiling heights), the Met Miami tucks into a neat space between two modern condominium buildings. Once inside, the jewel box unfolds. As Como’s first hotel in the United States, the best words to describe the sense of place are calm and well-being.
The tight-cornered, terrazzo-floored lobby opens into the restaurant-bar and directly to the cabana-pool area. Overlooking the scene is a small, glass-walled general manager’s office from the mezzanine area above. Javier Beneyto, a newcomer to Como, answered the call as the opening GM. While he seems to be everywhere at once, I managed to get a few moments to ask him about the property and his goals for Como in Miami.
Larry Mogelonsky: What would you highlight about the hotel?
Javier Beneyto: Actually, this is Como’s second property in the Americas, as we have enjoyed good success with Parrot Cay in Turks & Caicos. The addition of a hotel in Miami was a natural, given that this is the transit point for the bulk of guests headed for Parrot Cay.
The Met Miami has been designed in the Como tradition of understated, simple elegance, with our focus on wellness. This has been carried into many of the elements that we use as differentiators: lemon- and ginger-scented towels to welcome weary guests upon arrival, our spa-inspired menu items, and our signature Como Shambala Spa.
LM: What are your thoughts on the financial success of the property?
JB: Como is a relatively new name to North America, yet, surprisingly, we have had a lot of interest right from preopening given the strong brand following amongst Americans looking for a visionary service approach. We do not advertise and rely almost exclusively upon past guest referrals. Occupancies have grown steadily as we have moved gradually up to 100% room availability. We are matching rate with our competitive set.
When asked about a success formula for the Met Miami, Javier made it clear: it is all about staff and continuous training. The phrase used on property to describe this philosophy is “retour au source,” meaning a back-to-basics approach to hospitality.
Moreover, for many of the team members, this is their first job in the industry. They have no pre-conceived notion of service standards. The property creates its own, infusing in these young staffers the importance of meeting and exceeding guests’ requirements.
They are constantly reminded that this is all about the little details and executing them to perfection every time. They are invited to share in the Como philosophy of wellness and are encouraged to participate in the company’s long-term goals. This is a recurring theme I’ve witnessed during my years of travel to luxury properties, and the Met Miami is no exception in this regard.