Few chief operating officers live and breathe their company as fully as Philip Goldfarb. In addition to decades of hospitality industry experience, Goldfarb actually lived in the Fontainebleau hotel for two years of his 13-year tenure with its parent company, Turnberry Associates. That means Goldfarb knows every inch of the hotel’s 22-acre property better than just about anyone. He is the man responsible for bringing back music to the hotel via the BleauLive series and he knows what makes the place tick. Here’s how the COO spends his days at the iconic Miami Beach hotel. Hint: He enjoys the hotel’s nine restaurants, gym and spa almost as much as its 5,000 daily guests and visitors.
I get up at this time because I’m a news junkie and must turn on the 7:00 AM news, so while I’m preparing for the day, getting showered, shaved and dressed, I watch the news so I’m up to speed when I come to the office.
When I arrive at the hotel, I go to Chez Bon Bon and have a cup of our house-blended coffee or a good tea with Steve Tallent, a great gentleman who owns a unit here at the hotel. We talk about current events, finance and politics… whatever is in the news.
We have an executive team meeting on Mondays and Fridays. I get updates from all of the departments: rooms, F&B, spa and the nightclub. I get to read the reports of what happened in the nightclubs the night before. LIV closes at 5 a.m., so here I am reading it four hours later. What fun experiences our guests have.
We review our social media and TripAdvisor every day. I know what happens in the food and beverage outlets, the Spa and LIV. Those results are very crucial to us, and we respond to every single comment. Sometimes the guests are still in the hotel, so we can knock on their door, send them a note or send them something.
I typically select two or three different executives to have lunch with at Vida or La Côte. Sometimes it’s engineering; sometimes it’s a capital improvement executive, and we talk about projects that are ongoing at the hotel. If it’s a Sunday, I might be here for brunch at noon. I’m a foodie, and I really like to experience what our guests are having.
One of my favorite things to do in the afternoon is give a tour of the property to either a meeting planner or one of our financial partners. We have four miles of underground, which includes a brand-new HVAC room, dry-aging facility for beef, our own chocolate factory and “Water World”, with giant saltwater fish tanks. So we have lobsters, stone crabs or our own line-caught yellow tail snapper. Every morning our chefs order from our Water World. What they serve tonight was swimming live today. We have giant red king crabs from Norway, which are $200 each; guests can go down and pick one out. Today, I gave a tour to Hillary Clinton, who stayed here. She told me a story from when she was an intern here in the 1960s and rode up the Chateau elevator with John Wayne, who was here to see Frank Sinatra in his suite. Talk about history!
Afternoon is the time that you often catch celebrities in the lobby. Floyd Mayweather is here right now in one of the Presidential Suites.
I usually finish work and go to our gym, where I work out with our in-house trainer, Val. I use this great interactive equipment we have here called Trazer. We’re the only hotel in the country that has it. If I didn’t work out with him, I’d weigh 500 pounds from all the great F&B.
I like to check out different fine-dining restaurants on Miami Beach. It’s fun to see what’s happening in the market. Sometimes I drive my car, a Mercedes AMG GT S, over the bridge and back just to clear my head. Sometimes I cook at home, but if I do, there will never be a dirty dish in the sink because I’m meticulous — a cleanliness nut.
I usually get in bed — which is a lot like a hotel room with a sheeted duvet and really, really high-end sheets, because once you’re in this business you get very spoiled, and I like all the luxury details of a luxury hotel like the Fontainebleau — at home. I watch the 11 o’clock news and try to sleep.