Luxury hotel chain takes over Turnberry Isle resort
By Samantha Joseph
Fairmont Hotels & Resort Inc. will take over management of the Turnberry Isle Resort and Club in a move that one hospitality analyst said culminates the luxury chain's longtime efforts to enter the Miami-Dade market.
Guy Trusty, president of Lodging & Hospitality Realty on Brickell Avenue, said that six years ago his firm worked with a Fairmont representative looking to partner with local hotels.
"They've had an active interest in Miami for years," he said.
Laura Fairweather, executive director of public relations for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, confirmed that the company has researched opportunities in Miami-Dade and several other US markets.
Under a 45-year contract between Fairmont, the Toronto-based luxury hotel operator, and Macro Capital Limited, the New York pension fund that owns the Turnberry, the local property changes management today (1/1).
The deal will see Fairmont replace Hong Kong-based Mandarin Oriental International Limited, and could mean less competition for Turnberry, according to analysts. Mandarin, which managed Turnberry since 2000, also operates Mandarin Oriental Miami, a five-star luxury hotel on Brickell Key in partnership with Swire, developer of much of that island. Swire is also based in Hong Kong.
"There might be an obvious competition for clientele between the two Mandarin hotels in South Florida," Mr. Trusty said.
The Turnberry is Fairmont's only South Florida property and the brand's 16th US hotel. It joins the Plaza Hotel in New York and the company's flagship property in San Francisco.
"A lot of times when you reposition a company by changing the brand, you create additional opportunities for business," Mr. Trusty said, adding that Turnberry would gain exposure through its affiliation with Fairmont's international marketing team.
Other industry observers say this week's management deal will mean greater marketing opportunities for the 32-year-old Aventura property that, beginning on Jan. 30, will operate under the name The Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club, Miami.
Richard Millard, chairman and CEO of Miami-based hotel management company Tecton Hospitality, said Turnberry's association with the Fairmont brand speaks highly of the local hotel's standards. "This is a very high end product and brand," he said.
Mr. Millard added that Fairmont's position as a publicly traded company suggests the ready availability of capital - a factor that will also benefit the Turnberry resort.
Turnberry's director of public relations, Carmen Ackerman, said the hotel would benefit from Fairmont's reputation as a leader in the luxury hotel market.
"This will be an asset for us, increasing our visibility in the market place," she said.
Turnberry is a 300-acre property with 395 rooms and suites that features two golf courses, a spa and a 117-slip marina.