3 new hotels near Miami International Airport
By Marilyn Bowden
Three new hotels under construction near Miami International Airport will add 403 rooms to the area's inventory.
With an opening planned for early November, the 102-room Comfort Inn & Suites Miami Airport North, at 657 Minola Drive, Miami Springs, will be the first to come on line.
"We're getting ready to open in the next couple of weeks," said Steve Marin, a principal at Pfeffer Marin, which has been investing in hotels and motels for 30 years. This is the company's first development project.
The hotel targets business travelers and the cruise market, he said. "It will be a budget alternative that at the same time will offer a little better quality. Our objective was to upgrade certain things so that guests will have the feeling of being at home while they're away."
Upgrades include top-of-the-line mattresses and high-quality linens. "These are the things that matter to guests," Mr. Marin said. "We also designed our lobby around work and socializing.
"For example, we have many charging stations for laptops and other devices."
Amenities include a complimentary breakfast buffet, wireless high-speed Internet access, free local calls, 42-inch flat-screen televisions with cable service, complimentary copies of the Wall Street Journal and a manager's cocktail reception from Monday to Thursday.
Guests have the use of an on-site business center, a boardroom that will accommodate 20 people and free transportation to the airport and the Port of Miami.
Mr. Marin said the project was 60%-70% self-financed.
"We had the land," he said, "and our plan was always to develop. Construction costs are down, so the timing was great." (Details: www.comfortsuites miamiairport.com)
The 209-suite, extended-stay element by Westin Miami International Airport, 3525 NW 25th St., plans to open by Feb. 1, said Juan Quiroz, director of sales & marketing. It's being developed by Norwich Partners and managed by True North Hotel Group.
Launched by Starwood Hotels and Resorts in 2008, he said, the element brand offers "an eco-chic experience where guests can stay active, healthy and balanced while on the road."
The Miami element will be the 10th to open nationwide and the first in Florida.
"We're having to educate the public not only to our existence," Mr. Quiroz said, "but also to healthy living and being environmentally conscious."
Element is "from the same DNA as Westin," he said, incorporating such signature products as the Heavenly Bed, "but the green factor also comes into play."
Guestrooms, available as studio, one-bedroom, executive and two-bedroom units, incorporate intuitive, eco-friendly touches that support a sustainable lifestyle, Mr. Quiroz said, including the use of green materials and resource-conserving touches such as low-flow toilets and compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Element plans to win clients from its competitors, he said, with the help of an experienced sales team.
"All our feasibility studies point to recuperation of the market in 2012-'13," he said — and development incentives from the county made the project cost-effective. It's situated in Palmer Lakes, one of 38 sites identified for redevelopment in the Miami River Commission's Miami River Corridor Urban Infill Plan. (Details: www.starwoodhotels.com/element/property/overview)
A 92-room Best Western Miami Springs will also be opening next February, according to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and area hoteliers, but a spokesman at Best Western's corporate headquarters said it's too soon for the property to be added to the company's reservation pool and they have no further information about it.
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