January 19, 2022 By Jessica Cherner Architectural Digest
Rarely does a new hotel’s name—especially one that’s not followed by that of a hospitality group such as Aman or Rosewood Hotels & Resorts—present potential guests with a clear sense of place. Such is not the case, however, for Somewhere Else, Pharrell Williams and Miami Beach–based hospitality entrepreneur David Grutman’s newest collaborative project on the Bahamas’s Paradise Island. The clever name, a bit unusual for a hotel, may be intriguingly vague, but it offers something other hotel names don’t: a proper and alluring escape from the everyday. Where and when are seemingly just details to be worked out later.
Williams may be more famous for his lighthearted, funky sound, and expansive hat collection than he is for his hospitality endeavors, but he and Grutman have actually teamed up on more than one stylish haunt. From Swan, the indoor-outdoor dining concept in Miami, to the Goodtime Hotel, a Ken Fulk—designed masterpiece, the duo has proven to be dynamic partners when it comes to delivering on their promise of understated luxury below the Mason-Dixon.
At Somewhere Else, slated to open in January 2024, they’re doing things a little differently than they did at the Goodtime, which boasts the sumptuous, maximalist Ken Fulk look. At their outpost in the Bahamas, Williams and Grutman turned to New York City–based interdisciplinary architecture and design firm Rockwell Group—specifically, partner Shawn Sullivan—to outfit their hotel’s 400 rooms, lobby, bungalows with recording studios, and multiple eateries. The inspiration behind the aesthetic? A sort of sharp tropical-ism with myriad natural materials, soft-to-the-touch textures, and gentle curves that stand out against the otherwise harsh lines of Somewhere Else’s L-shaped structure. The new hotel is introducing a contemporary look that’s putting Atlantis back on the design-forward map.
Taking over The Beach’s prime real estate along the azure-colored coast at Atlantis, Paradise Island, the highly contemporary Somewhere Else, with its rainforest-like gardens that are as lush as they are dense, and long, clean lines, will be hard to miss, as Williams and Grutman intended. Though the design team is going for an undeniably contemporary look and feel throughout the storied halls of Somewhere Else, they’re also honoring The Beach’s original architect, Morris Lapidus, father of the neo-baroque style that swept through the Miami Modern era. A hugely influential figure throughout the midcentury-modern movement, Lapidus was tasked with building the first hotel on Atlantis Paradise Island. Williams and Grutman aren’t trying to erase his legacy but rather improve upon it. In fact, Grutman has a profound appreciation for the late architect: His LIV nightclub resides within Miami Beach’s Fontainebleau Hotel, which Lapidus signed on to design in 1952.
The Grammy winner and the Groot Hospitality founder are also paying a not-so-subtle homage to the ever-present tropical aesthetic of the Bahamas with a unique garden concept. Where so many hotels have tightly contained, highly curated greenery, Sullivan plans to let the plants and trees dictate Somewhere Else’s landscape architecture. In other words, the natural elements will go where they want. It all harkens back to the hotel’s indoor-outdoor concept that doesn’t feel nostalgic—like the Goodtime Hotel does—in the least. Somewhere Else, a new concept that almost challenges what defines luxury in today’s atmosphere, looks to the future in a way that no neighboring hotels on the island do.