Tampa’s upscale Hyde Park Village has shops, restaurants and a cinema. Soon, it will get its first hotel. Palihouse Hyde Park Village, a 36-room boutique hotel with a lobby lounge and cocktail bar, is due to open in November in the same building as the popular On Swann restaurant. The new hotel is the first Florida property developed by Palisociety, a California-based chain of 19 small hotels in cities that include San Francisco; San Diego; New Orleans; Austin, Texas; and Wilmington. North Carolina. Bay magazine recently spoke with Palisociety founder Avi Brosh. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
How did you learn about Hyde Park?
I was invited to come visit by WS, the owners of Hyde Park Village, who said we’ve got this little spot in Tampa, would you come check it out? I was really struck how they did such a good job of getting the most out of that little spot. They were very disciplined in terms of tenancy, quality of work and the integrity they brought to it. One of our brands would fit in beautifully here and that was the genesis of the idea.
What attracted you to Tampa in general?
Roughly half of our portfolio is on the West Coast. The other is spread around the country, so we’re quite used to having properties spread out. Tampa has a great (airport) and it’s totally within our skill set to go someplace beyond the West Coast to be highly successful opening and operating a hotel.
Why did you choose this particular location?
A lot of new hotels are a reimagining of existing buildings — apartment buildings or existing hotels or other structures. This was formerly office space that we are converting to a hotel. It’s not something we specifically seek out but that’s where the opportunities are.
What do you see as the target market for Palihouse Hyde Park Village?
It’s going to be primarily leisure travelers but we’ll get some business (travelers) too. But the reality is that Hyde Park doesn’t really need lodging for business, it’s looking for a design-forward, residential-style hotel in arguably one of the better locations in Tampa. Since it’s a smaller property I think we’re going to see a lot of demand. Anybody that would come to Tampa or Hyde Park in particular this would be their first choice in the local area. My experience is that when we open a hotel in a neighborhood like Hyde Park most of the locals champion a hotel like this and refer people who are coming to town to stay there. If we do a great job I think we’ll be getting a lot of word of mouth and referrals.
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What will the hotel look like inside?
It’s essentially a style that kind of feels like your friend’s gorgeous guest house or guest room. It does have a pied-a-terre feel about it. All of the furniture is custom made. It’s warmed, it’s layered, there’s nothing formulaic about it.
Have you always been in the hotel business?
I started in the development business in home building and then did more urban-style development. Right before the global financial crisis in 2008, I opened my first hotel (in West Hollywood) and used that as sort of a springboard. That property did very well despite my lack of timing, and our business made the pivot from urban residential to neighborhood-style hotels. It’s a great niche because most (hotel companies) shy away from smaller properties. It’s something we’ve become expert at. We’re one of the preeminent high-design, small-key neighborhood hotel owners and operators in the country and we’re going to stay in that lane.