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Tommy Hilfiger buys The Raleigh Hotel

The Raleigh’s main entrance.
The Raleigh’s main entrance.
© 2012 George Leposky

Fashion designer and entrepreneur Tommy Hilfiger has bought The Raleigh Hotel, a beachfront Art Deco landmark hotel in the South Beach section of Miami Beach.

The Raleigh, an Art Deco landmark hotel in the South Beach section of Miami Beach.
© 2012 George Leposky

According to the trade publication Hotel Business, Hilfiger purchased The Raleigh from a joint venture involving David Edelstein, owner of the W Hotel in Miami Beach; and Sam Nazarian, chairman of sbe and its subsidiary, SLS Hotels, which will continue to manage The Raleigh. Edelstein and Nazarian paid $55 million for the hotel in 2012.

Hilfiger has formed a luxury hotel company, The Raleigh Group. David Pisor has been named the company’s chief executive officer. He said The Raleigh Hotel will become the company’s flagship property, supporting future growth.

The New York Post reported that Hilfiger plans to restore the hotel to its original chic Art Deco style and create a state-of-the art spa.

74 years young

Located at 1775 Collins Ave., the eight-story, 105-room hotel was built in 1940. It has an elegant split-level lobby punctuated by lofty columns, and a conical lifeguard tower overlooking a free-form pool where movie and synchronized swimming star Esther Williams performed.

More recently, it hosted the Hard music festival and Zero Film Festival, and was used as the music video filming location for the Kenny Chesney song Out Last Night.

The Raleigh Hotel’s architect, L. Murray Dixon, was among the most prolific designers of South Beach structures in the 1930s and early 1940s. Curvilinear design is a prominent characteristic of his work.