LOS ANGELES Calif. A newly formed high-end hotel company has retained famed Washington, D.C., chef Jose Andres to develop and oversee the foodservice operations of its properties, starting with the newly acquired Le Meridien in Beverly Hills.
The concern, SBE Hotel Group, plans to convert the property to the flagship of its new chain, SLS Hotels, with a restaurant, catering operations and room service conceptualized by Andres, Bon Apetit's Chef of the Year in 2004. The Spanish-born chef's highly rated Washington restaurants include Jaleo, CafŽ Atlantico and Zaytinya.
The SLS Los Angeles, as the former Le Meridien will be known, will be operated by the luxury division of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., which also has a development deal with New York City chef-restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten and his partner, Phil Suarez.
SBE Hotel Group is a holding of SBE Entertainment here, which in turn is owned by Sam Nazarian, an investor in Kor Hotel Group's properties in Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Calif., and the Caribbean. Nazarian reportedly hopes to grow SLS to five properties, in New York, Mexico, the Caribbean and other destinations, within five years.
On March 2, SBE announced that it had agreed to acquire Las Vegas' Sahara Hotel & Casino in collaboration with the private-equity firm Stockbridge Real Estate Funds. SBE also owns the Ritz Plaza in Miami.
Philippe Starck, who designed the Mondrian Hotel and the SBE restaurant Katsuya, will be the designer of SLS Los Angeles.
Terms of SBE's deal with Andres were not disclosed. The arrangement marks the latest in a flurry of recent affiliations of high-end chefs with lodging and commercial real estate developers.