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Hotel Lawyer: Get on your feet! Lifestyle and mixed-use resorts getting a boost from Latin pop stars Gloria and Emilio Estefan with a new development in Vero Beach, Florida.

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18 June 2007
Hotel Lawyer in Florida. While Gloria Estefan’s fans are anticipating the September 2007 release of her new Spanish-language album, 90 Millas, featuring original music inspired by her native Cuba — the hotel industry is eagerly awaiting the opening of her new luxury resort, Costa d’Este in Vero Beach, Florida. Gloria and Emilio Estefan are not new to the hospitality industry — they currently own 5 Cuban restaurants in Florida and Mexico, and the Cardozo Hotel in Miami. Their new mixed-use resort will include 94 hotel rooms, meeting space, a restaurant and spa. The resort is scheduled to open in January 2008, according to Benchmark Hospitality International, which will manage the property.

Gloria and Emilio Estefan are joining celebrities such as Andre Agassi, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Reggie Jackson – not to mention business gurus like Paul Allen, Steve Case, Bill Gates and Prince al Waleed – in lending their name or resources to lifestyle branding of resorts, condo hotels and other hotel mixed-use projects. Interestingly, the “personal brand master” himself, Donald Trump, hosted the news conference at the Trump Tower Building in 2004 when Gloria Estefan announced that her 2004 world tour would be her final one. Since then, the Estefans have continued to produce music, raise a family and involve themselves in many charitable causes while exploring ventures in the hospitality arena. (For a good recap of the celebrities in lodging, click here.)

In previous posts here at, I have discussed some of the benefits of lifestyle hotels, including the unique lifestyle offering of the Hotel Valencia Santana Row that has achieved RevPAR penetration of more than 180% compared to its competitive set. While Hotel Valencia Santana Row is an urban lifestyle hotel, beach resort hotels are adding unique “lifestyle” elements and it will be an interesting trend to watch. (For the phenomenal story on Valencia Hotels, click here.)

Like their music — including the the Latin beats of the Miami Sound Machine — the Estefans’ hotels and restaurants offer guests an experience in Cuban hospitality and culture. The Oriente, Costa d’Este’s restaurant, will feature Cuban cuisine and a magnificent outdoor setting. Both Gloria and Emilio Estefan are Cuban exiles and outspoken opponents of Fidel Castro’s regime. The Cuba connection is an interesting one for the hotel industry. At the May 2007 Meet the Money® conference, there was quite a bit of talk about “how and when” Cuba will open up to hotel development. While the Estefans — and their music — are forbidden in Castro’s Cuba, the Caribbean currents indicate a sea change. It is not too difficult to imagine an Estefan-owned resort in a free Cuba – now that would be a great reason to “Do the Conga!”
This is Jim Butler, author of and hotel lawyer, signing off. We’ve done more than $87 billion of hotel transactions and more than 100 hotel mixed-used deals in the last 5 years alone. Who’s your hotel lawyer?

Our Perspective. We represent developers, owners and lenders. We have helped our clients as business and legal advisors on more than $125 billion of hotel transactions, involving more than 4,700 properties all over the world. For more information, please contact Jim Butler at or 310.201.3526.

Jim Butler is one of the top hotel lawyers in the world. GOOGLE “hotel lawyer” or “hotel mixed-use” or “condo hotel lawyer” and you will see why.

Jim devotes 100% of his practice to hospitality, representing hotel owners, developers and lenders. Jim leads JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® — a team of 50 seasoned professionals with more than $87 billion of hotel transactional experience, involving more than 3,900 properties located around the globe. In the last 5 years alone, Jim and his team have assisted clients with more than 100 hotel mixed-use projects, all of which have involved at least some residential, and many have also involved significant spa, restaurant, retail, office, sports, and entertainment components — frequently integrated with energizing lifestyle elements.

Jim and his team are more than “just” great hotel lawyers. They are also hospitality consultants and business advisors. They are deal makers. They can help find the right operator or capital provider. They know who to call and how to reach them. They are a major gateway of hotel finance, facilitating the flow of capital with their legal skill, hospitality industry knowledge and ability to find the right “fit” for all parts of the capital stack. Because they are part of the very fabric of the hotel industry, they are able to help clients identify key business goals, assemble the right team, strategize the approach to optimize value and then get the deal done.

Jim is frequently quoted as an expert on hotel issues by national and industry publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, BusinessWeek, and Hotel Business. A frequent author and speaker, Jim’s books, articles and many expert panel presentations cover topics reflecting his practice, including hotel and hotel-mixed-use investment and development, negotiating, re-negotiating or terminating hotel management agreements, acquisition and sale of hospitality properties, hotel finance, complex joint venture and entity structure matters, workouts, as well as many operating and strategic issues.

Jim Butler is a Founding Partner of Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP and he is Chairman of the firm’s Global Hospitality Group®. If you would like to discuss any hospitality or condo hotel matters, Jim would like to hear from you. Contact him at or 310.201.3526. For his views on current industry issues, visit

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