Bay Harbor Islands’ Daddy O Hotel banks on small perks for big business

Following a slate of new small hotels setting up shop in Miami Beach, New Jersey-based Daddy O brand has opened a boutique hotel in Bay Harbor Islands, and is hoping some of the perks will attract guests. South Florida hotel occupancy has been on the rise in the last few months, and new small hotels have sprouted on South Beach in the last few months. The 46-room Daddy O, which opened at the beginning of March, is the culmination of a two-year renovation of the former Bay Harbor Inn and Suites property, which was previously owned by Johnson & Wales University.

Martin Mehnert, the hotel’s general manager, said the hotel’s model is based on offering in-room perks Guests get free, unlimited international phone calls routed through Skype, free bottled water and 42-inch flat screen televisions. It also has the same beds used by the Four Seasons. Daddy O also serves a no-charge continental breakfast in its breakfast room.

The hotel’s opening follows that of the Prime Hotel and Sense Hotel on Miami Beach, and comes before the opening of the Villa Italia, another South Beach boutique that is slated to open in the fall. The Real Deal took a tour of the new Daddy O on Monday (see slide show above).
The Daddy O concept was started by Martin Grims, who created the four-diamond-winning restaurant Moshulu in Philadelphia, who, with his partners, opened A 22-room Daddy O three years ago in Brant Beach on the Jersey Shore.

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Currently, the Bay Harbor Islands room rates start at $175, although the hotel has been renting some for as much as $339, Mehnert said.

“It’s nice when you stay in a hotel and you don’t have to pay for your phone calls. We’re having a mix of local business, corporate business, leisure business, international. I think it’s a good model. People are looking for perks, for free stuff. You go to a hotel today, and they charge an $8 resort fee. People say, what did I pay $8 for? But I didn’t use any of those things! And then you have an argument at the front desk. I’m trying not to have that argument.”

While the hotel has no restaurant presently, the Palm Restaurant is in the same building, and accessible through doors in the hotel lobby. Adam Dubroff, partner and operations manager for the hotel, said the hotel was intended as a true boutique hotel, not a so-called “institutional boutique,” which typically have far more rooms and higher rates. Dubroff has previously worked for franchise and independent hotels, including Marriott and Hilton.