SPOTLIGHT ON Colin Cowie, CEO, Thrive Hospitality and Colin Cowie Lifestyle

Central Park Tower

How did the pandemic inspire and drive your journey of reinvention, specifically within the restaurant industry?

The pandemic posed significant challenges for me and my team, as we faced a wave of cancellations and uncertainty in the events industry. However, I saw this as an opportunity to pivot and reinvent ourselves. With my experience as an event planner, I turned my attention to the hospitality sector and set my sights on the ambitious MSD Capital, Boca Raton Club project. The resort was undergoing a massive transformation, and I knew I could contribute to its success.

Putting on my event planner hat, I dove into the project with passion and determination. I revamped the entire beach club, giving it a fresh and modern look that would captivate guests. Alongside this, I created a pop-up restaurant that went above and beyond expectations. From the uniforms to the menu, from the design to the lighting and artwork, every detail was carefully considered. The response was incredible, and what started as a temporary venture soon evolved into a permanent restaurant, adding another exciting revenue stream to my portfolio.

Colin Cowie, CEO, Thrive Hospitality and Colin Cowie Lifestyle

What were some of the notable high-profile food concept projects you crafted, showcasing your unique signature style?

One of my most remarkable projects during the pandemic was the Central Park Tower in New York City. After years of meticulous planning, it finally came to fruition. Situated on Billionaires Row, this residential building stands as the tallest in the world. On the hundredth floor, I curated a dining experience that exudes luxury and sophistication. With a restaurant, ballroom, and a captivating cigar bar, I introduced a very unique dining concept. Working closely with culinary maestros Gabriel Kreuther, Laurent Tourndel, and Alfred Portale, I licensed their renowned recipes and incorporated their dishes into the kitchen. Our menu changes every 90 days, ensuring a constantly evolving culinary adventure.

In order to ensure a thriving food and beverage operation, it became clear that relying solely on the residents of the building wouldn’t be enough. I recognized the potential and proposed a game-changing idea to the developer: adding a social membership component to the equation. This meant extending exclusive invitations to additional guests, allowing them to enjoy the space and amenities. The concept of private clubs has been on the rise, particularly in London over the past two decades, and more recently, it has gained traction in New York City over the past three to four years. We are witnessing a surge in private clubs like never before.

Marisol

People are seeking access, exclusivity, and a sense of belonging. They want a place where they are recognized, and where they can have their preferred table and server. It’s about tailoring the customer service to their specific needs and desires. The demand for these experiences is higher than ever, as individuals yearn for a sense of belonging and a personalized touch in their hospitality encounters. By embracing this trend and adapting to the changing landscape, we have successfully tapped into a growing market and created an environment that fulfills the desires of our discerning guests.

The allure of private clubs lies in their ability to offer an elevated level of service and a curated experience. It’s not just about providing a meal or a drink; it’s about crafting moments that make guests feel truly special. This shift towards exclusivity and tailored customer service is reshaping the hospitality industry, and I am excited to be at the forefront of this movement, providing guests with an extraordinary sense of belonging and creating memorable experiences that keep them coming back for more.

The Boca Raton

How did these food concept projects differ from traditional dining experiences, and what unique elements did you introduce?

In today’s world, luxury is about delivering curated and tantalizing experiences, sparing guests from the burden of choice overload. That’s precisely what I aimed for with these food concept projects. Instead of overwhelming menus, I focused on creating a concise and carefully curated selection. Picture five appetizers, five main courses, and a tantalizing array of desserts. With a wine list limited to five pages, I aimed to take the guesswork out of dining while constantly offering something new and delectable. It’s all about presenting bite-sized pieces of fabulous information and making luxury easily accessible to our discerning guests.

The pandemic pushed me to reinvent and reimagine the restaurant industry. Through projects like the Boca Raton Club and the Central Park Tower, I not only navigated the challenges but emerged with a unique signature style that highlights curated dining experiences. By simplifying choices and introducing constantly evolving menus, I aim to provide guests with tantalizing, delicious, and memorable culinary adventures. 

How have you reimagined your programming to align with the guest journey and your unique approach to engaging all five senses?

In today’s hospitality landscape, specialization, and personalization have become paramount. We now have access to products and experiences that were previously unheard of. It’s no longer just about creating a menu; it’s about carefully selecting ingredients with a story to tell, focusing on their origins and provenance. We aim to engage all the senses in order to create memorable experiences that guests will cherish and share.

For me, the essence of luxury lies in how it makes you feel. It’s no longer defined by a brand name or a fancy package. Luxury is about those magical moments when everything aligns—the scents, the textures, the flavors, and the sounds—all working in harmony to create an extraordinary experience. Our goal is to constantly seek out and identify the best in every aspect, whether it’s food, flowers, music, entertainment, or ambiance, and enhance them to elevate the overall guest experience.

Ultimately, luxury today is about surpassing expectations and ensuring that guests want for nothing. It’s about creating an environment where they can truly let go, indulge, and have an incredible time. We want to leave a lasting impression and have people wonder, “Why am I having such a good time?” That, to me, is the epitome of luxury in the modern hospitality industry.

The Boca Raton

What are the most important trends and innovations shaping the luxury hospitality industry today, and how do you see these evolving in the coming years? 

In today’s luxury hospitality industry, one of the most important things we’re seeing is the power of personalization. It’s all about crafting those unique and unforgettable experiences for our guests. We’re using data and technology to really understand what our customers want and need, so we can create those special moments that make them feel truly connected to us. Emotionally connected guests are less price-sensitive, seek information from us, and actively promote our brand to others.

Looking ahead, personalization will continue to evolve as technology advances. We will delve deeper into guest preferences and behaviors, tailoring every aspect of their journey, from recommendations to interactions with our staff. Seamless integration of technology will allow us to surpass expectations and deliver transformative experiences.

What inspired you to launch Thrive Hospitality and what services do you offer hotels and other businesses in the hospitality and entertainment space? 

Thrive Hospitality was established as a result of my extensive experience consulting with developers and tastemakers in the hospitality industry. Our comprehensive services cover interior design, creative direction, programming, and guest experience enhancement. We also specialize in customer service training, helping hotels and country clubs build a culture that anticipates and fulfills guests’ needs.

At Thrive Hospitality, we understand the importance of creating exceptional experiences. By collaborating with developers, architects, and design teams, we ensure that every space exudes a captivating atmosphere. Our focus on guest programming and experience guarantees that each touchpoint leaves a lasting impression.

Central to our philosophy is the delivery of top-notch customer service. Our dedicated team works closely with hotels and country clubs to instill a proactive approach to service delivery. We strive to anticipate guests’ unanticipated needs, providing personalized experiences that surpass expectations.

Currently, we are proud to be setting the gold standard for the Fontainebleau Las Vegas, slated to open at the end of this year. Our commitment to outstanding service and fostering emotional connections with guests remains at the forefront of our mission.