Hotel Openings on the Horizon

Always on the lookout for the next swoon-worthy venue, we surveyed our group to find out what’s popping up where. What we found is that there’s something for everyone: a little Latin flavor, a space curated for creatives, a spot celebrating minimalism, an option for the wellness-obsessed, plus city-sweeping rooftop views from coast to coast. More intel to come as developments are made, but for now, here are six hotel openings happening this year.

Life House Miami

Now open

Life House, a new hospitality group co-founded by Sydell and Starwood alum Rami Zeidan, recently made its debut in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. Life House takes a tech-based approach to logistics in order to amplify the guest experience. By downloading the hotel app, guests can not only check in and make requests, but also connect with each other as well as with the locals around them. The first-ever location takes a cue from the city’s Cuban influence IRL, from the vintage furniture to the Latin cuisine.

Life House Miami

Times Square EDITION
Opening Winter 2019

The highly-anticipated arrival of the Times Square EDITION is almost upon us. Located on 47th street and Seventh Avenue, the new EDITION will feature 452 guest rooms, a performance venue and a lobby-level lounge. Among its five food and beverage options, expect a signature restaurant with an expansive beer garden and event deck overlooking Times Square.

Times Square EDITION

h Club Los Angeles
Opening Winter 2019

London transplant h Club is due to arrive in LA this season. The members club and hotel will carry on its mission of catering to creatives across the arts, entertainment, fashion, tech, sports and philanthropy industries. The Hollywood property will be complete with 35 bedrooms, a rooftop restaurant, live performance space, outdoor pool and a beauty salon, among other luxe amenities.

Sister City
Opening Spring 2019

Atelier Ace introduces Sister City, a new hotel concept opening March 1st on the Lower East Side. Designed for the modern traveler, Sister City relies on a simple yet functional aesthetic with fixtures and furnishings designed in-house. Think: a dual-purpose foldable desk and built-in bed that stores luggage and personal items. Hotel guests and locals alike can dine at Floret, the restaurant helmed by Chef Joe Ogrodnek, and enjoy cocktails by Sister City’s Beverage Manager Josh Hanover.

Sister City 

The Hoxton, Downtown LA
Opening Summer 2019

Downtown LA will be home to a new Hoxton hotel property come summer. In true Hoxton fashion, the lifestyle aspects of the space are as detailed as the bedrooms. It’s set to be a hotspot for dining, with its ground floor restaurant, as well as a late-night destination, thanks to its basement bar. Not to mention the rooftop pool and restaurant offering sweeping views of the city. The 174 rooms, designed by Ennismore Design Studio, are filled with thoughtful elements inspired by the neighborhood while incorporating a touch of The Hoxton’s East London roots.

The Hoxton, Downtown LA

Equinox Hotel
Opening Summer 2019

The best of fitness and travel are the inspiration behind Equinox Hotels, set to debut in NYC’s Hudson Yards this summer. Expect your wellness worlds to collide with “active-minded programming,” healthy dining options, an on-site spa and, of course, a top-line gym. In fact, the property will be home to Equinox’s largest fitness center yet, ringing in at 60,000 square feet.

Cannabis: A New Frontier for Marketing & Communications

The legalization of recreational cannabis has been steadily rising in the U.S., and with that comes an influx of emerging brands and related products. Heightened consumer awareness, along with de-stigmatization and withering stereotypes, are giving innovative companies a platform for success. Still, the cannabis space is a new frontier for publicists and marketing execs to navigate through. We spoke with a few companies who shared how cannabis is disrupting business as usual in the communications realm, and how marketing and PR is overcoming those challenges to help the cannabis category thrive.

“We have witnessed a supersonic shift in the public’s acceptance of cannabis compounds THC and CBD. It’s a result of decades of advocacy and education, but more recently it’s the result of great branding and PR support,” says Sonia Hendrix, founder of GALLERY PR. With cannabis becoming more pervasive and new brands launching every day, a powerful brand message is crucial for brands breaking through the noise. “The industry’s most successfully marketed and revenue generating brands all share beautiful branding and packaging, authentic philosophies about the wellness benefits and lifestyle surrounding cannabis culture, excellent products, and visually conveying how their can products exist in everyday life,” she continues.  

Mr. Sherbinski speaks at BoF VOICES 2018 (GALLERY PR)

The team at Violetta Group adds that, “As editors and influencers are getting more and more educated on the cannabis market, the quality of the product and the way it is communicated remain a focal point to break through the noise.”

There’s some familiarity in the aesthetics of these product packages, down to the feelings they evoke and the status they represent. “In order to build credibility, cannabis brands are showing up at e-commerce and brick-and-mortar in ways that are recognizable and easily digestible to the consumer,” says Stephen Wright, Managing Director of AZIONE. “Today’s best-selling vape pen or CBD product might be presented in packaging that is reminiscent of the latest streetwear drop or luxury fragrance launch more so than a weed product. In a largely unknown new category, creative product descriptions that educate the consumer on the different effects and strains within the category reduce the barrier to entry and intimidation factor for new adopters.”

The lifestyle approach is, then, a crucial component for brands looking to stand out in an increasingly saturated space. Hendrix explains that the most successful companies have “expertly crafted a visual and literal message that can sit comfortably on the shelves of any dispensary or luxury retail store. Millennials and Baby Boomers alike are drawn to these companies for that reason, and even more notably, women are drawn to them. Women are playing a major role in shaping this industry.”

Sherbinskis Premium Oil (GALLERY PR)

AZIONE Co-Founder Michele Thomas adds that, “While the cannabis landscape is complex and ever-changing, retailers and brands alike have had to evolve rapidly to meet consumer demand and expectations. Positioning the lifestyle use cases and relatability of cannabis has proven critical to shifting consumer perception, normalizing the category, and creating iconic lifestyle brands that are highly coveted, and just happen to be in the cannabis space.”

But managing a media strategy when the products are legal in some states, but not all, means that publicists and marketers must get creative with how they tailor their pitches. Remaining informed and educated on the many regulations and nuances in the cannabis space is an important consideration for teams working on these accounts. “DIXIE has a team of legal, marketing, an compliance professionals that have their finger on the pulse of new and emerging regulations and work to implement them nationally while keeping a clear and consistent brand voice though all aspects of our media strategy,” says David Grigsby, Brand Manager at DIXIE.

Double Barrel is featured throughout Season 4 of HBO Ballers (GALLERY PR)

There’s an obvious advantage to marketing cannabis on the West Coast versus the different dynamic on the East. Still, there are plenty of opportunities to introduce these products legally in both markets. “PR for cannabis is similar to PR for alcohol and fashion, but with cannabis being illegal in New York, the nation’s media capital, it means you can’t demo product like you normally would when launching a product or sharing new releases,” says Hendrix.  

“Just because you can’t take THC to the Big Apple doesn’t mean you shouldn’t host media events there,” she continues. “Create the event as-if cannabis were present and demo products without it, or replace the THC oil with CBD (most vape companies can do this).”

Violetta Group takes a similar approach. “During Ghost Vape demo sessions in California, editors and influencers have the choice to vape cannabis or other dry herbs. For national publications based in New York, we focus more on the other substances you can vape with the MV1, including peppermint tea, Blue Lotus, Pink Lotus, lavender and more. The message remains the same, but the product's usage is presented from different perspectives.”

Ghost Vapes MV1 (Violetta Group)

This is where marketers and publicists must think outside the box. Thomas concludes that, “The message is consistent even though the rules are not. When you’re storytelling on behalf of the brand, you learn the specific limitations on the state and federal level quickly and seek out windows of opportunity for universal story angles.”

From pitching and publishing to social media and influencers, this is only the beginning of an exciting new world for PR and marketing. Keep an eye out for these creative campaigns across mediums--and state lines. 

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