Acqualina to Go It Alone, Without Rosewood

In an interesting turn of events, Acqualina, the luxury resort on Sunny Isles Beach in Florida, has decided to drop its affiliation with Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, effective October 31. This is not the first South Florida resort that has decided to de-flag. Regent Hotels & Resorts recently turned over operations of the Regent South Beach to Spain's Vincci Hotels. That hotel has been renamed Vincci South Beach.

The moves leave one wondering if South Beach is becoming another St. Barts-a Caribbean destination whose popularity draws the jetset crowd without the need for a commonly known brand.

Of note is the fact that Acqualina, which opened in May 2006, was built as a Rosewood resort. Deborah Yager-Fleming, Acqualina's vice president of sales and marketing (who will remain with the resort), says, that Acqualina has established a clear brand for itself as an ultra-luxury boutique hotel and that management intends to take greater advantage of its membership in the Leading Hotels of the World. Veteran hotelier Florent Gateau also will continue in his role as vice president and managing director of the Acqualina Resort.

Acqualina Management, LLC, the hotel management company that has employed the onsite management team supervised by Rosewood since the opening of the 96 rooms and suites at Acqualina last year, is to assume complete supervision of the management team. Word has it that management may also try to expand the Acqualina brand to other hotels. (RT)