B Ocean Fort Lauderdale
Launched last September at the Lodging Conference hotel investment summit in Phoenix, B Hotels & Resorts has since opened its flagship property in Fort Lauderdale, naming Joel Darr as general manager.
B Hotels & Resorts prides and defines itself as a brand that is decidedly different, marked by an invested interest in individual guests, catering to their ever-changing daily desires. Located on the corner of Sunrise Boulevard, the 240-room Fort Lauderdale property (previously a Holiday Inn) is minutes from the Las Olas arts and entertainment district and features two master junior suites, 22 junior suites and 54 rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows. All guest rooms feature sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. While the industry is saturated with the term ”boutique,” Darr believes that the new B brand is poised to offer properties that truly exemplify the original intention of the term: a combination of intimacy, meticulous detailing and creativity. Darr explains that you only have one opportunity to successfully launch the first hotel in a brand, and one of the most vital elements in that process is the leadership team. Prior to joining B Ocean Fort Lauderdale, Darr served as the general manager of the Fort Lauderdale Marriott North, where he oversaw a $14 million renovation.
”The hiring process [for other staff members], while it’s always intense, is a little more under the radar of importance; my job is to select, recruit and hire the most talented senior leadership team, and we’ve hired every associate in the hotel,” says Darr. ”More than 5,000 applied and we selected the best of the best. We were able to select my steering team with people from all the most successful brands in the world and independents; the whole team comes from all over so were able to put together a really good mix of people.”
In addition to a superior senior staff, Darr also touts the importance of aesthetics in defining both the brand and the flagship property. Echoing the brand’s philosophy—how do you want to live—are the physical elements of the property, which actively defy the ”cookie cutter” model with evocations of the surrounding elements, the sand, sea and sky. Guests are greeted with an oversized photograph of a sea turtle, dangling bubbles and a hand-textured wall reminiscent of ocean waves.
”When you walk into this hotel—and everyone has so far—you gasp,” says Darr. ”The elevators have blue bubbled wall coverings with textures, everything is white with marble stone and in our lobby, it’s all wall-to-wall windows facing the ocean.”