Hotel Mania Strikes Miami's Urban Core
By Boaz Ashbel Managing Director, Aztec Group | June 24, 2018
Thanks to an enviable climate and miles of sandy beaches lined with towering big-name hotels, Greater Miami has had an enduring reputation as America's subtropical capital of sun and fun.
But that picture needs updating. The country's southernmost metropolis has been reinventing itself for more than a decade. New, hip neighborhoods within Miami's urban core that offer easy access to sports arenas, performing arts venues, art galleries, and first-class dining and shopping are now luring visitors inland, changing the tourism and travel industry in the process.
By the Numbers
The number of tourists visiting Downtown Miami has grown from 3.1 million in 2010 to more than 5.4 million in 2017 –– an increase of 74 percent, according to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. Growing interest in booming downtown neighborhoods such as Brickell, the Design District, Edgewater, Midtown and Wynwood has not escaped the attention of hotel brands. The industry is shifting from planting new flags in traditionally favored beachfront sites to seeking locations in Miami's emerging urban markets.
The inventory of hotel rooms in Miami's urban core has grown by more than 30 percent since 2009 –– from 6,100 to 8,100 –– as investors pour big dollars into one of the country's fastest growing business and lifestyle destinations. Over the past year alone, six new hotel brands –– national and international –– have opened in the urban core. The already dense Brickell Financial District added nearly 1,000 new hotel rooms and suites with the completions of SLS Brickell; EAST Miami, the first Swire Hotels property in North America; Atton Brickell Miami, the premier U.S. flagship hotel of the Latin American brand Atton Hotels that was recently acquired by AccorHotels; and recently opened Hyatt Centric Brickell Miami. Midtown welcomed a Hampton Inn & Suites. ME by Meliá, the boutique brand of the Spanish hotel giant Meliá, opened in the Arts & Entertainment District.
Initially, skeptics scoffed at announcements of two new hotels in Midtown ––the 151-key Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Midtown and AC Marriott, a 153-key property targeted for completion next year. Now Midtown and other trendy re-imagined neighborhoods just north of the Central Business District –– including the Design District, Edgewater and Wynwood –– are becoming hotbeds for new hotel starts and proposals. Older submarkets such as Doral, Coral Gables, Miami International Airport area, Dadeland and Aventura also continue to ignite interest for new hotel product.