SBE, the industry-pacing lifestyle hospitality brand, is proving to be more driven than ever about taking luxury to new places with the recent announcement of Lincoln Motor Company being named the official vehicle for SBE’s luxury hotels.
What this news means for you is that when you visit select SBE properties in Miami (SLS South Beach, Delano South Beach, SLS Brickell), New York City (Hudson Hotel) or Los Angeles (Forbes Travel Guide Recommended SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, Mondrian Los Angeles) and need to get around town, you’ll have an opportunity to do so from the ultra-plush interior of a Lincoln Black Label Navigator or Continental.
The marriage between the brands makes sense because of the two sides’ similar takes on style. While SLS South Beach oozes sophistication (black leather banquettes, Spanish tile floors) and the Delano just across the street dazzles in every direction (avant-garde lobby furnishings, white-marbled bathrooms), the 2018 Navigator keeps pace with an illuminated Lincoln Star grille, a panoramic Vista Roof and a gorgeous touchscreen console that NASA engineers probably dream about.
“If you look at the [automobile] marketplace,” says Earl Lucas, Lincoln’s chief exterior designer, “[our competitors have] really strong diagonals that really attack the person or look like an alpha dog. They’re all about aggression. On the Lincoln, everything is much more confident. It’s not trying to intimidate anybody but [instead] be self-assured and know who we are. That’s a brand position that separates us from the Germans and other domestics because we’re about seduction and not about attacking.”
Michele Caniato, SBE’s chief brand officer, adds, “For me, the experience starts when our guests land here. For us, to find the right automobile partner was very important. We talk about [the Navigator’s] design and SBE is about design. We talk about innovation and the quality of product and we talk about that feeling I felt the first time I was in a Navigator. That’s a very important part for our guests who arrive here.”
And that’s where SBE’s new program, The Suite Life, comes into play. An experiential element that can add polished amenities such as private flights and a luxury cruise with VanDutch to your stay, The Suite Life now includes exclusive Lincoln airport transfers in its list of perks.
“When our guests arrive in Miami,” Caniato says, “they can have the use of the Navigator at their leisure with one of our drivers. It becomes a part of their experience, making their stay in Miami easier. We don’t want our guests, when they arrive at our property, to worry about anything.”
But the partnership with SBE isn’t the only news Lincoln wants to share with the masses. The company also recently introduced 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams as the Navigator’s new brand ambassador. Williams, whose first vehicle ever was a Navigator that she kept for eight years, will be included in original online content displayed on Lincoln’s and her own social media channels.
“When I bought my first car, Ginger, it was my big step up,” Williams says in an official Lincoln press release. “I had a real luxury car now, it looked great and I felt safe. When the opportunity came to work with the Lincoln Navigator today, I was really excited because it brought me back to all of those moments I had in my first vehicle. For me, partnering with a brand like Navigator comes from a genuine place.”
But as Greg Wood, Lincoln’s sales and service manager, explains, there’s much more to the arrangement than mere history: “She fits so well [with us]. When you look at her time as a professional athlete, a businesswoman and now as a mother, the time constraints that she has, it fits so well being a brand ambassador. She’s got a great following. She’s got a great demeanor.”
Though we can’t promise that you’ll see Williams cruising down Collins Avenue in her Navigator the next time you’re in South Florida, we can assure you that the Delano and SLS there will have Lincolns for you to lavish in. And while you only have access to them at eight properties — beyond the aforementioned six hotels, Miami’s soon-to-open SLS LUX Brickell and Hyde Hotel and Residences Midtown will also be equipped with Lincolns — SBE’s CEO and founder Sam Nazarian insists that things are only revving up between the companies.
“I know we say it’s a North American [partnership] but our desire is to be global,” says Nazarian, who oversees a company that will have 28 hotels in its portfolio by the end of 2018. “We want to make sure that every property that SBE has at least seven or eight Lincolns outside of it.”