WinterHaven to reopen under Coral Collection flag


NAPLES -- Coral Beach Hotels & Resorts here will reopen the 71-room WinterHaven Hotel at 1400 Ocean Drive in South Miami Beach on Feb. 14, according to Joseph Freni Jr., president of the Naples-based hotel management group.

This will be the fifth property to become a Coral Collection member, the marketing brand for the firm's boutique hotels. At this time, all properties are managed but not owned by Coral Beach, he said.

Coral Collection's niche, he said, is upscale leisure and business travelers seeking an alternative to the large chain hotels. Properties run by Coral Beach are small and independently owned.

The No. 1 guest source for the hotels, Freni said, is Florida, followed by the New York-New Jersey region and the Midwest.

More Coral Collection properties (65- to 250-room range) will be added during 2000, Freni said, and agents will be important in helping to fill rooms.

"South Florida is a growth market and an area tailor-made for our brand of service-oriented hospitality management," he said.

Every employee of Coral Beach-managed properties undergoes intensive hospitality and customer service training, Freni said.

The WinterHaven, renovated at a cost of more than $2.5 million, is the firm's second South Beach property.

For some time, the firm has managed the 79-room Essex House Hotel & Suites at 1001 Collins Ave. That property sports a $3 million renovation.

Although there is no meeting space at the WinterHaven, small meetings for up to 10 can be handled at the Essex House.

Both hotels are owned by William E. Simon & Sons, a Los Angeles investment banking concern with a real estate portfolio.

The restoration of both the WinterHaven, Freni said, and the Essex House, was carried out with the intention of retaining their original art deco elegance and design -- assuring that they are "historically representative" of that period.

The WinterHaven, which opened in 1939, is managed by Miguel Rodriguez, the former rooms manager of the nearby Delano Hotel. Previously, Rodriguez served under Freni at the Ritz-Carlton in Cancun, Mexico, when Freni was regional vice president of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co.

The WinterHaven offers ocean views with most rooms; two rooftop units have garden terraces, and there are oceanfront suites.

Each guest unit has an in-room safe, an iron and ironing board, a hair dryer, two phones, voice mail and a data port. The hotel also has an on-site cafe with indoor and outdoor dining and a lobby lounge.

Nightly rates from mid-February through April 30 are $169 to $599, single or double; from May 1 to Nov. 1, the price range is $119 to $389.

Outside Miami Beach, Coral Beach operates the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Naples; the Old Marco Island (Fla.) Inn & Suites, and Casa Ybel on Sanibel Island.

Its next property will be the 65-room Hotel Escalante, opening in March, at 290 Fifth Ave. S. in Naples. Reservations are not yet being taken. Rates will start at $165 through May 31.

The hotel will have a business center and will offer nightly turndown service and a free newspaper. Rooms will have coffee/tea makers, irons and ironing boards, data ports, hair dryers and minibars.

The company also said it expects to add a hotel in late winter in Islamorada in the Florida Keys, according to Freni.

By March, Coral Beach hopes to take over management of the 220-room Langford Resort Hotel, Winter Park, renovate it and then reposition it.

Coral Beach will be adding the new 103-suite Marco Beach Ocean Resort, Marco Island, scheduled to open in 2001.

Before joining Coral Beach last year, Freni headed Trianon Hotels, Naples, which has boutique hotels in Naples and Bonita Bay. He retains a personal interest in those properties.

Coral Beach's chairman is John E. Ayres Jr.; Chuck Katan is vice president of sales and marketing.

All properties can be booked by phone and CRS through Utell.

Phone: (800) 44-UTELL

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