The MBVCA sat down with Vikash Maharaj, General Manager of Washington Park Hotel and Billy Gilroy, Owner of Employees Only, to discuss the newly minted Washington Park Hotel, what’s exclusive on the Miami Beach menu of Employees Only and why they both love Miami Beach. For more information, visit wphsouthbeach.comemployeesonlymiami.com.
Q&A with Vikash Maharaj, General Manager of Washington Park Hotel
What makes the Washington Park Hotel so unique? / What makes the Washington Park Hotel stand out from other lodging options in the area?
WPH is perched only two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean and situated on an entire city block in South Beach with Art Deco buildings and exclusive location to shopping and South Beach best nightlife, including Employees Only on property.
WPH is focused on the guest experience with service standards second to none. Additionally, we have a variety of programming opportunities on site such as weekly ping pong tournaments, movies on the lawn, as well as weekend croquet and much more. It’s a meeting point for our guests, as well as locals.
You were previously quoted comparing the shifting dynamic of the Washington Avenue strip to the transformation of neighborhoods like Brickell and Wynwood; What do you think makes them so similar? / How would you compare them?
Like Brickell and Wynwood, Washington Avenue once had a bit more grit to it. Similarly in recent years, we’ve seen Washington Avenue undergo renaissance that will bring high end shopping and dining options that will be comparable or even more upscale than Brickell.
Do you have any must dos for tourists (or locals)? / What do you love about working and operating a hotel on Miami Beach?
I love the culture and diverse ethnicity of our guests and taking the time to ensure that we extend world class service to each and every one. I highly recommend visiting the Wolfsonian Museum across the street from WPH, which our guests may visit complimentary.
What do you think makes Miami Beach most special? / What do you love most about Miami Beach?
The history that the city signifies in harmony with the Art Deco District, the abundance of culture along with the Cuban flair, the weather and, of course, the crystal-clear beach!
Q&A with Billy Gilroy, Owner of Employees Only
If someone had never heard of Employees Only before, how would you describe it to them?
Old world feeling. Deco. Classy and Sophisticated yet comfortable and casual. True Hospitality from the heart.
Does EO have a specialty recipe for a summer time favorite drink? What are some seasonal flavors patrons can enjoy this summer?
EO changes cocktails occasionally and we have our Ginger Smash (Rum served with fresh ginger & pineapple shaken with Berentzen liqueur, Maraschino liqueur & fresh lime juice) which changes seasonal as well depending on which season and fruits available are. We tried to keep the core of the NYC Menu in Miami and showcase what the drinks are in NYC while we added some cocktails on the menu to suit the Florida climate. Our El Diablo cocktail which isn’t on the menu is our Avion Tequila EO Barrel shaken with ginger root, fresh lime juice & ginger beer, topped off with Creme de Cassis. This is a great cocktail for the summer time and the sun. Seasonal flavors that are definitely hot right now at EO are: pineapple, ginger, citrus, coconut and different spices.
Are there any cocktail/menu items exclusive to the Miami Beach location?
Here is a list of menu items that are exclusively in Miami Beach:
The Snapper with mussels Kale and Fennel
The Roasted Cauliflower
The Charred Broccoli Rabe with garlic
The Marinated Green Beans
The EO Miami Burger
The Flourless Chocolate cake
The Key Lime tart
Do you think the culture of Miami Beach influences the Employees Only location at all?
Yes it’s a much later crowd. And so we open later and stay open later till 5 a.m.
And the seasonality even more than ever is why Employees Only has to depend on industry and local clientele to thrive. Fortunately we seem to be garnering a great reputation and following with the locals.
What do you love about Miami Beach?
The weather, the ocean, South Point, the pool, the palm trees and all the beautiful architecture and greenery and flowers. The Latin food. The nightlife. All the beautiful hotels. Stone Crabs!!!