Royal Palm Hotel Sold: Will Florida Cookery Close?

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Chesapeake Lodging Trust has closed its $278 million deal to acquire the Royal Palm Hotel from KSL Capital Partners.

According to realty site CoStar.com, the South Beach resort will now be called the Royal Palm Miami South Beach, operating under the Starwood Hotels & Resorts' new independent hotels flag as part of a management agreement with HEI Hotels & Resorts.

See also: Toronto's Byblos Opening at the James Royal Palm

The art deco property underwent a renovation a few years ago, reopening in 2012 as the James Royal Palm. The hotel's website acknowledges the change in ownership, saying:

While we maintain our commitment to community, art and design, we will be moving on from Miami - as of March 9, The James Royal Palm will no longer be part of The James Hotels. Endless thanks to the South Beach community, our local partners and especially to you - our guests - for supporting us as we evolve. During our time in Miami, we were proud to be acknowledged by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Fodor's and Forbes.

Will the ownership change affect the hotel's eating establishments? Toronto's Byblos is still set to open at the former Catch restaurant space, and the lobby coffee shop maintains a presence. The hotel's South Shore Lounge, offering a full bar and tapas menu, is also open.

However, Florida Cookery seems to be a casualty of the hotel's rebranding. The restaurant's website is down, although a representative for the hotel says it's because the previous property owners maintained the site. A call to the hotel led through several people who didn't know anything about the restaurant's future. A man at the front desk who declined to give his name said the restaurant is still open while Starwood figures out whether it wants to retain the menu and concept or change the format. Currently, Florida Cookery is the property's only restaurant offering three full meals to hotel guests.

Kris Wessel opened Florida Cookery in November 2012. The restaurant, named for a recipe book of his grandmother's, was an extremely personal venture for the Miami chef. Wessel's cuisine there featured Florida classics influenced by the South, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Northeast. Wessel, whose Red Light Little River earned him a James Beard Award nomination for Best Chef in the South in 2010, has since moved on from Florida Cookery to open Oolite, just off Lincoln Road.

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