Margot Tenenbaum Meets Miami: A First Look at Pharrell and David Grutman’s New Goodtime Hotel
This time last year, Miami, Florida would be in the throes of preparation for its yearly Art Basel bacchanal. These days, while the sun seekers still find their way to socially distanced pools and beaches, there’s a noticeable hush surrounding the city’s usually glitzy haunts. But for Pharrell Williams and David Grutman, it has set the stage for a triumphant return—and reimagining—of their beloved home base.
Three years in the making and produced in association with lead developer Eric Birnbaum of Dreamscape Companies, they’re introducing The Goodtime, a refreshing addition to the Miami hotel scene. Just don’t call it a hotel: With an expansive third-floor pool deck, lobby lounge, eatery, outdoor workout area, recording studio, and 45,000 sq. feet of retail space, it’s designed to be a play-land for visitors and locals alike (with 266 guest rooms to boot). “It’s good vibes, good energy, good karma, good food, good music, good environment, good vibration,” Williams explained during our chat via Zoom, a noticeable beam of South Florida sun reflecting onto the wall behind him. “Come there one way, and then you leave vibrating. We call it spiritual Wi-Fi.”
He’s joined today by Grutman, a master of this type of intangible alchemy with a decade-long track record of mainstay nightclubs, restaurants, and watering holes that have also earned him a seemingly endless Rolodex of friends and collaborators, Williams among them. As a longtime Miami resident, this first introduction to the hotel space came with a chance to revitalize a forgotten corner of town. “One thing I’ve noticed in my life is that places that were amazing at one time always have a great chance of being amazing again, because there’s something about the energy of that latitude and longitude where The Goodtime is located that just works,” Grutman says. “To me, it was the best block, and to be able to be part of it coming back, is just so special to me.”
“In a weird way, the area kind of reminds me a little bit of Williamsburg, before Williamsburg became Williamsburg,” echoed Birnbaum, founder and chief executive officer of Dreamscape, of the project’s Washington St. locale. With this in mind, the group tapped revered architect Morris Adjmi, responsible for leading the revitalization of Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and Brooklyn’s Williamsburg expansion, to shape the exterior of the property. The result is a seven-story structure dominating an entire city block, featuring flouted white columns and a glass-topped breezeway ornamented with greenery by landscape architect Raymond Jungles.
Inside, visitors are welcomed by a lush and uniquely cinematic experience. “Being in there is like being in a Wes Anderson film,” Williams says simply. “It’s like Margot Tenenbaum.” Under the expert eye of interior designer and event producer extraordinaire Ken Fulk, the dusty pastel hues synonymous with the cult favorite director are brought to life in Fulk’s signature ornate splendor. “I remember the first time I met with David and Pharrell, I showed up wearing my Thom Browne suit at 10 a.m. and they decided we should meet on David’s boat, and I thought I had stepped into an episode of Entourage, but we instantly hit it off and had this wonderful meeting of the minds,” Fulk recalls. “We’re three different people, but somehow I think that energy really connects, and it quickly became this sort of mutual admiration society.”
Across the sprawling property, a careful consideration of every element is made evident in its depth and scope. In the indoor-outdoor eatery, Strawberry Moon, guests find a menu of poolside classics and Mediterranean delicacies with Instagram-worthy twists served up alongside Art Deco-inflected furniture and fixtures. In the lobby lounge, cocktails like the “Purple Rain”—mixed with Avion Blanco tequila, Shōchū, butterfly pea flower, lavender, and Yuzu—are on offer in glassware plucked from a retro Miami living room. “I think when you see all of the spaces together, there’s something that feels as if it could be from the 19th century, mixed with mid-century Dolce Vita, mixed with a dose of 1980s optimism,” Fulk says. “You want to be surprised. You want to find joy in the small things. You want to be present in the moment, and when you see the beauty in that, it’s all of these wonderful little things that combine for an incredible experience, and really that was what we were striving for.”