March 21, 2015

Miami’s tony South Beach neighborhood is -constantly evolving, but the grand opening of its latest mixed-use -residential hot spot, 1 Hotel & Homes, brings a fresh twist to the luxe market. Occupying the 8.5-acre waterfront site of the former 1920s landmark Roney Plaza (and more recently The Gansevoort), it is the first of its kind: a green, LEED–certified luxury hospitality brand.

As the brainchild of Starwood Capital Group Chairman and CEO Barry Sternlicht—who helped launch the W and St. Regis chains of hotels —1 Hotel & Homes’ mission revolves around the twin poles of high-end design and low impact on the environment. “We wanted to create a new brand that celebrates a sustainable, eco-conscious lifestyle — something that would put nature at the forefront,” says Kemper -Hyers, Starwood’s head of design.

Each of the hotel’s 426 guest rooms has been designed with an emphasis on natural textures — from grass cloth and reclaimed wood on the walls to organic cotton bedding and mattresses constructed of super-soft hemp. A palette of crisp whites and soothing grays and beige makes sure the biggest impact in the rooms is the view outside the floor-to-ceiling windows: “Our biggest concern was to make sure we selected shades that would highlight the environment outside,” explains Liubasha Rose, lead designer on the project. “All you have to do to get a rush of intense color is look out at the blue of the ocean.”

The same philosophy was used in the construction of the adjoining condos. Designed by Starwood and Brazilian interior designer Debora Aguiar, the interiors feel like an extension of the beach with smartly appointed finishes in a variety of sandy hues, like on the upholstered walls in the bedroom, the Yakarta Blanco porcelain backsplashes in the kitchen and the travertine in the bathrooms.

The breezy chic style is a testament to the designers’ vision, proving you don’t have to compromise a commitment to the environment in pursuit of good looks; for example, all of the sliding glass doors and casement windows are energy efficient and all of the fixtures throughout are LEED compliant. The result is a brand that seems to be hitting the mark with buyers: Eighty percent of the property’s 156 private residences are already committed to eager investors.

However, there are still opportunities to own in the -building. “We’ve just put our penthouses up for sale,” says Hyers, “and we’ve been able to hold onto some choice inventory. Real estate here has been a wild ride, so we’ve been careful about how many units to release to the public at any given time. It’s a game of strategy.”

Success has meant also being able to give back by supporting local businesses and artisans. When guests enter the lobby, for example, they are greeted by a large terrarium bar designed by the Miami Art District landscaping institution Plant the Future. “It’s a curated gallery space, but instead of typical art work, we’re highlighting nature and plants,” says Rose. “We’ve partnered with Plant the Future, and they’re going to be creating these natural sculptures in live time from rocks, soil, sand and succulents, and our guests will be able to interact with them while they work. It’s the perfect example of what we’re trying to do: blending innovative style with environmental smarts.”