Ritz-Carlton to Assume Management of St. Regis Fort Lauderdale

The former St. Regis Fort Lauderdale will be managed by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, effective August 11. The new Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale isn't the only luxury property in town. It will soon be joined by the W and Trump International Hotel & Tower, slated to open fall 2008 and winter 2009, respectively.

The news comes after Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced it is pulling the St. Regis brand name from the St. Regis Fort Lauderdale Resort on August 10, which became public shortly afer Starwood told Fort Lauderdale city leaders that it was cutting its ties with hotel owner Castillo Grand LCC.

In a letter to the city manager, Starwood stated that Castillo Grand "materially breached its management contract with Starwood ... after repeated requests and attempts to reconcile." In addition, K.C. Cavanagh, a spokeswoman for Starwood, told the Sun-Sentinel that the decision "has nothing to do with the performance of the hotel." Starwood officials have declined to provide extra details.

Meanwhile, spokespersons from Castillo Grand told the Sun-Sentinel the relationship was severed because of a lawsuit over "philosophical differences in management style," adding that problems surfaced when major management changes took place at Starwood and created a ripple effect at St. Regis. "It was the best thing to part company at this point before we got too established," said Fed Bullard, president of Castillo Grand. Bullard added that his group plans to secure another "top-tier" hotel brand within a few weeks.

Once considered a symbol of the expanding luxury hotel market in Fort Lauderdale, the 220-unit resort opened in May of 2007 and was one of only seven St. Regis hotels in North America. It was also one of the first hotels in South Florida to sell condominium units to investors in order to reduce project costs.