When is a Gansevoort Hotel not a Gansevoort Hotel? When the
owners default on their loans, the bank takes over, and it fires the management
team while keeping the name. That's what happened to Gansevoort South in Miami
Beach last week: the Gansevoort folks lost both their ownership stake and their
management contract, but the lender, Credit Suisse, claims it's allowed to keep
This is certain to devolve into a mess of lawsuits, but in
the meantime all I can say is: Good riddance! The Gansevoort people are the douchebags
of the hotel world. Their original property in the Meatpacking District is an
ugly gray high-rise that's at odds with the rest of the neighborhood in both scale
and style. It has huge, garish billboards and a rooftop pool/bar that attracts
drunk B&Ters like flies to shit. Their new ground-floor nightclub has
something called "pole service" (as in stripper poles): Classy! And
it's where Michael Douglas's crystal meth–selling son was holed up when he got
arrested: Classier! The Gansevoort is so hated in the neighborhood that
Pastis, the restaurant across the street, has refused to make reservations for
anyone even staying at the hotel.
I stayed at the Gansevoort South in Miami Beach when it
first opened in 2008, and while I actually liked the rooms—they're large and
comfortable and nicely designed—the service was terrible and the entire hotel seemed
geared more towards getting into Page Six than attending to the needs of guests. Yeah,
there's a shark tank in the lobby to attract hip-hop video shoots,
and a David Barton gym that gets the design mags excited, and a celebrity guest list that includes such luminaries as Dennis Rodman (who
walked out on his bill, naturally).
But if your elevators are so crammed with people trying to gawk at the rooftop pool
that regular paying guests (e.g. me) can't even get to their room, you pretty
much suck. Nearly every hotel on South Beach suffers from the
am-I-hotel-or-a-nightclub identity crisis, but I'd rather stay at the Shore
Club than the Gansevoort any day—and that's saying a lot.
In the end, I doubt the Gansevoort South (or whatever it's called) will survive the competition from classier and better-run operations, whether it's the new W or the Delano or even the just-opened Prime Hotel. But for those of you who actually like the Gansevoort brand, there is actually good news: They're about to unleash another high-rise in New York. Where? In the Flatiron district, the douchebaggiest neighborhood in town.