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A new South Beach hotel by Pharrell Williams is the hospitality mood lifter that 2021 needs. The aptly named The Goodtime Hotel opened in April from the Grammy Award-winning musician, who gave the world the feel-good anthem “Happy” in 2013, along with his business partner and Miami nightlife impresario, David Grutman.
Designed to be an escapist retreat, The Goodtime Hotel is cheery and upbeat with a pink palette, hand-painted, tropical hothouse murals, playful animal prints, and rattan furniture designed by legendary designer Ken Fulk. The rooftop pool club, Strawberry Moon, is lined with baby pink, scallop-edged cabanas and shaded by enormous, sculptural palm fronds.
“When you’re at The Goodtime, we want you to feel like your worries and anxieties have been left outside,” says Grutman. “It’s a very whimsical property and we’re really hyper-focused on it being an experience. This is about providing a getaway within a town that’s already known as a vacation spot.”
While opening weekend festivities drew a celeb-splashed crowd with Kim Kardashian, David and Victoria Beckham, and Bad Bunny, the 266-room lifestyle hotel was intentionally designed to be accessible to the next generation of travelers with high design, yet micro-sized rooms, ample social space, and DJ-fueled pool parties. Nightly rates are a fraction of the cost of the lavish resorts along Collins Avenue that South Beach is famous for, like the historic Fontainebleau, home to Grutman’s first nightclub, the now-legendary LIV.
Situated two blocks from the beach at 601 Washington Avenue, The Goodtime is reinvigorating a stretch of South Beach that was once a nightlife hotspot, but has fallen out of fashion over the last two decades. But since its April 15 opening, Strawberry Moon has played host to Vegas-style pool parties every weekend with a rotating cast of high profile DJs, like David Guetta, Steve Aoki, and Black Coffee.
For Williams, who’s been coming to Miami since the early 2000s, The Goodtime marks his sophomore foray into Miami hospitality after opening Swan, a clubby, see-and-be-seen restaurant in the Design District in 2018, also with Grutman. Often a fixture during Art Basel Miami Beach, Williams was connected with Grutman by mutual friend Alexander Perez, a Miami street artist known as Coinslot.
“Originally, what brought me to Miami was the weather, the water, and the women. Now, it’s just the weather and the water,” says Williams, a married father of four. For the Virginia Beach–born artist, Miami’s sunshine and warm climate is also what he seeks when traveling: “The tropics. [Miami’s] right there on the tropic belt. It’s close to the equator and it’s right there on the Atlantic.”
Conde Nast Traveler sat down with Williams to learn more about his new hotel and his travel habits.
What made you want to venture into hotels and hospitality?
I enjoy food and I enjoy great ambiance. I enjoy the design of spaces. When Dave and I first partnered on Swan—he’s a big dreamer, I’m a big dreamer, we think about big things. We’re both very much spellbound by the impossible. You don’t always win, but the times that you do, it’s such an amazing feeling. So when we did Swan and it worked and it did really well, we thought, let’s keep it going.
What does The Goodtime bring to Miami’s hotel scene?
Having a hotel allows you to be a part of the community. For us, it was like, let’s bring some good energy to that block, let’s bring some good vibrations. Let’s make sure people have a good time. We want The Goodtime Hotel to impart a feeling of both revitalization and that rare, exciting thrill that takes over when you discover something special. It’s that adrenaline-fueled sensation of entering a whole new setting and a whole new mindset.
What makes Strawberry Moon and the pool club special?
When you come upstairs to the pool deck, it’s an acre in the air and you don’t get the queasiness that you get from a terrace or a rooftop because you’re too close to the edge, so the only thing that’s there is beautiful design, good food, good music, great ambiance. And the night sky and the day sky are there working for you. When you add all those things together, you’re going to have a good time.
What does having a good time mean to you?
For me, that starts with good will and good energy. That’s what we try to bring to the community. If you walk past it and go, wow, okay those guys did that, then I can do x, y, and z—and right then and there, it’s been a blessing to someone else.
If they’re fortunate enough to come to the space and have a drink at Strawberry Moon on the pool deck or they’re lodging there for a couple of days or they live on the other side of town and want to take a load off and just come and be a part of the ambiance, we want to make sure that they have a good time.
What does an ideal vacation look like for you?
I haven’t had one in two and a half years because I’ve been working, working, working, working. But ideal for me is unplugging and centering myself, centering my family and giving God the glory. I’m a sinner, but I know who I work for and I know where everything comes from.
One of my favorite hotels is the Aman. I’ve stayed at their resorts in the Caribbean [with locations in Turks & Caicos and the Dominican Republic]. I love the equator. I love anything with equator energy. The closer you are to the tropic belt, the more it’s going to be good for me and my family. We love the blue water. We love the Atlantic vibration.
Where do you want to travel to next?
Never been to the Maldives and I hear we have to go sooner than later. And there’s also The Brando [in French Polynesia]. There’s a couple of [other] places, but some things you just want to keep close to the vest.
Do you have any travel rituals, something you always pack?
Slippers. I’m easy going.
What shouldn’t be missed at The Goodtime?
When you get there, definitely ask for the Purple Reign at Strawberry Moon, made with Avion Silver tequila, shōchū, butterfly pea, lavender, yuzu and Domaine de Canton. You just gotta try it whenever you get a moment.
That can’t be my last word. My last word is, God is the greatest.
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