In 2002, Iranian-American businessman Sam Nazarian spotted an unmet demand in the hospitality market. The following year, Nazarian opened his first nightclub in Los Angeles, California and founded sbe, the first lifestyle hospitality brand to effectively integrate culinary, hotels, residences and entertainment properties into one thorough 360-degree seamless experience.
Michele Caniato, Chief Brand Officer for sbe, refers to this as their “360-degree, lifestyle approach.”
“It is the thing that we offer that is completely unique to our DNA and sets us apart from every other company. We’re proud to offer our guests invigorating and one-of-a- kind experiences at every touch point, and we’re excited to further develop this concept as we forecast what’s ahead for sbe,” Caniato said.
Each sbe property is designed with the 360 experience in mind. A carefully choreographed day at one of sbe’s hotels could include all of the desired relaxation, meals and activities, with none of the cumbersome travel that often puts a damper on vacation.
“At our newly-opened SLS Baha Mar, our guests can go from lunch at the renowned Cleo Mediterráneo, spend the day at the world-class Espa spa, enjoy the adult-only cabanas at the Privilege Pool, get a drink at Monkey Bar, dinner at Katsuya by Starck, spend a night out at the Bond, before finally wrapping it all up in their luxurious suites,” Caniato said.
Caniato has served as sbe’s Chief Brand Officer since 2016, but has been a trusted partner of Nazarian’s nearly since the brand’s inception. Caniato was responsible for several of sbe’s early, landmark partnerships—like the one with French designer Philippe Starck. Starck’s sleek and sultry interior style would go on to become a hallmark of sbe’s properties and a major draw of several of the brand’s hotels and residences.
“Design is at the heart of what we do and is what defines our brands. We consider it an essential element of what sbe is all about and have made exclusive deals to reflect this. When it comes to hospitality design, sbe is absolutely at the forefront of innovation,” Caniato said.
Yabu Pushelberg, David Rockwell, Piero Lissoni, and Marcel Wanders are just some of the names sbe has partnered with to create interiors that are truly one-of-a-kind. When you take a look at sbe’s portfolio, one thing becomes clear—their interiors are not just well-decorated, they are heightened environments that can be felt and experienced by their guests.
A long way from that first location on Sunset Boulevard, sbe’s profile now includes more than 40 brands, each representing the finest in luxury dining, innovative interior design and trend-setting entertainment venues.
“sbe encompasses luxurious lifestyle and we are constantly innovating – whether it be through expanding prominent brands like Delano out of the US and into the Middle East or amplifying our partnership strategy to include new lifestyle brands such as Lincoln Motor Company,” Caniato said.
The Mondrian Doha, sbe’s most recent arrival in the Middle East, is a 24-story, luxury hotel dreamt up by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders. The striking skyscraper located in Doha’s West Bay Lagoon boasts 211 rooms, 59 suites, a 21,000-square-foot ballroom and 12 different venues, including restaurants and bars that serve up a myriad of cuisines and specialty cocktails.
Wolfgang Puck’s international steakhouse, CUT, has made its Middle East debut at the Mondrian Doha. Guests can also experience Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s Japanese cuisine and Walima’s traditional Middle Eastern cuisine during their stay.
A 24K gold elevator separates spas for men and women; there are relaxation rooms and daybeds, heated garden areas and swimming pools with panoramic views of the West Bay. As is the case with all sbe properties, guests are invited to explore the grounds, where they will surely find adventure and wonderment—the building is designed just for this.
As the demographic attending sbe’s nightlife locations skews decidedly millennial, one wonders whether a luxury lifestyle brand will continue to resonate with the 20-somethings of today the way it did with 20-somethings of the past.
As Chief Brand Officer, this question falls largely on Caniato to answer, as it will be his responsibility going forward to guide sbe’s brand so that it continues to engage young people.
To this, Caniato says that while society is constantly evolving and millennials certainly have different desires than 20-somethings of the past, they are still looking to create inimitable experiences—they desire a uniqueness that only sbe can provide.
“Different generations will find different definitions of meaningful experiences, Caniato said, “but as a forward-thinking, constantly-evolving and responsive brand, sbe has been able to provide our guests with dining, entertainment, and hospitality options that cater to a modern sensibility, irrespective of one’s age.”