Know your niche

by Robert Silk

The historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables has never lacked for luxury. A stroll through the property’s resplendent hallways and alongside its swimming pool — once the largest in the world — serves as a testament to the old-school elegance of a property that came of age during Florida’s original land boom of the 1920s. But with more than 10 years passed since the property overhauled its 275 guest rooms, management decided this year that it was time for a refresh.

In June, the Biltmore commenced a $25 million renovation, which will include a refurbishment of all guest rooms as well as enhancements to the golf course, among other items. The work is scheduled for completion in December.

“There is immense competition at all the various levels of hospitality,” Biltmore General Manager Matthias Kammerer said. “A lot of new and renovated product. And it was time for us to be serious about renovating the most impactful areas of our guest experience.”

Indeed, around South Florida’s tri-county area, competition is intense as older properties fight to maintain market share against the plethora of new properties that have come online over the past handful of years. Still, although more than 10,000 keys are in the pipeline over the next two years in Miami-Dade County alone, experts say growth has begun to slow as lenders tighten the reins.

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