Former Fontainebleau Executive Named General Manager Of Espirito Hotel
By Leslie Kraft
Robert Thrailkill has been named general manager of the Conrad Miami, set to open in January at the Espirito Santo Plaza on Brickell Avenue as the company’s first newly built hotel in North America.
The property, which will operate under Hilton’s most expensive brand, is the second hotel the Conrad group is opening in the US – with New York’s Waldorf Towers being the first.
Conrad expects to appoint a local sales and marketing director for the 203-room luxury hotel within 10 days and is to hold a job fair in November to hire staff, said Clem Barter, Conrad Hotels president.
"Opening in Miami and New York is a particularly smart move for Conrad, which is banking on the return to the US of the international traveler," said Bruce Ford, vice president of sales and marketing for hotel industry research firm Lodging Economentrics. "There really isn’t any other destination that will capture that market quite like these two cities."
Mr. Thrailkill, who is to open the property in mid-January and expects it to be fully operational by March 1, was most recently general manager of the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center in Texas. He has also served as executive assistant manager of the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort in Miami Beach; Trump’s Castle Casino in Atlantic City; and Hilton New York in midtown Manhattan during his 20-year hospitality career.
"In Miami’s competitive market we intend to differentiate ourselves with unique service initiatives and state of the art meeting facilities with a high-tech edge," said Argentinian-born Mr. Thrailkill, who married his wife Mariana in Miami during his tenure during the 1990s at the Fontainebleau.
"We will pay particular attention to anticipating the needs of the individual business traveler at the Conrad Miami hotel," Mr. Barter said. "We expect that the hotel’s spectacular building will distinguish it and provide an additional incentive to our repeat customers, who represent 70% of our business."
Guests will enter the Conrad Miami through the Espirito Santo Plaza ground floor complex, which will include a bridge walkway over a pool and a landscaped restaurant and retail area. The hotel’s lobby will be on the 25th floor of the $180 million building, where there will also be a fine-dining restaurant and lounge, with a separate entrance for the hotel apartments. The hotel will also offer a fitness center and spa, plus two lighted tennis courts.