BRAZILIAN COURT HOTEL
The Brazilian Court Hotel is a historic luxury hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, United States which opened on New Year's Day in 1926. The National Trust for Historic Preservation accepted The Brazilian Court Hotel to be part of the Historic Hotels of America.
In 1924 and 1925 two New York investors, Joseph D'Esterre and Stanley Paschal assembled the site of The Brazilian Court, at that time occupied by a few bungalows. They retained a rising young designer with whom Paschal had worked on apartment house projects in New York – Rosario Candela. Candela, born in Sicily, arrived in the United States in the 1910s speaking only a few words of English. But by 1925 he was one of the top apartment house designers in New York, with a score of luxury buildings on Park and Fifth Avenues to his credit.
Candela used a Mediterranean design for The Brazilian Court, with tinted, rough stucco, classical details and tiled roofs. Candela developed a simple courtyard model which emphasized the inner face of the building, rather than the street façade. It was organized as an apartment hotel, with small kitchens for the meals that guests chose not to take outside.
In 2003, Obadon Hotels purchased The Brazilian Court, and renovated it from the formal setting of the 1920s to a more cosmopolitan style. In doing so, the kitchenettes were removed, and in their place opened a restaurant, Cafe Boulud, under the James Beard Award nominee, Chef Daniel Boulud.
The hotel is located at 301 Australian Avenue. It is a National Trust for Historic Preservation and a Leading Hotel of the World. Awards include Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards 2013 - Enduring Classics , Travel + Leisure's 500 World's Best Hotels 2014, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2009, Conde Nast Traveler: Readers’ Choice Awards 2013: # 1 Hotel in the state of Florida, 2012, Conde Nast Traveler: Gold List 2014: #1 Hotel in the state of Florida, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2008, Travel + Leisure's America's Best Beach Hotels 2011 - #1 in South Florida, Travel + Leisure’s 500 World’s Best Hotels 2010 - Ranked #1 in South Florida and #3 in Florida state and Travel + Leisure's 2010 World's Best Awards Top 50 Resorts in US & Canada category – only hotel on Florida's East Coast ranked in the Top 25
David Kennedy died of a drug overdose in the hotel on April 25, 1984.
The Brazilian Court in Palm Beach latest of family’s hotels to face foreclosure
Updated Feb 08, 2013
Emily Roach, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
The posh Palm Beach condo-hotel The Brazilian Court is being foreclosed on, and the owners owe more than they initially paid.
Richard and Adam Schlesinger, whose company Ceebraid Signal Corp. had both the Omphoy in Palm Beach and Gulfstream Hotel in Lake Worth foreclosed on in 2010, bought The Brazilian Court in 2002 for $18 million under Ceebraid affiliate CSC Brazilian, according to court records. Mellon United National Bank’s loan servicer states in a foreclosure lawsuit filed Tuesday that $19.1 million including interest is overdue on the mortgage, according to court documents.
Richard Schlesinger said in an emailed statement: “Ownership would like to take this opportunity to assure all Brazilian Court Hotel, Café Boulud, and Frederic Fekkai Salon & Spa, guests and customers, that the action filed is nothing more than a mistake that will be corrected immediately. No monetary default has occurred. The Brazilian Court is current with all of its financial obligations to both its lender and vendors, and will continue to be. This is simply a disagreement of terms between two parties who maintain a strong working relationship after years of doing successful business together. All hotel, food and beverage, and salon related business will continue as it always has at the Brazilian Court; in the highest end fashion with the utmost regard for customer service and satisfaction.”
Mellon United declined to comment.
In 2007, the Schlesingers put $50 million into a renovation of the Mediterranean Revival style hotel. They had added Café Boulud in 2003.
Ceebraid invested a great deal of money just before the recession hit, buying both the Gulfstream for nearly $13 million and the Palm Beach Hilton for $42 million in 2005 and renovating The Brazilian Court. In 2009, the company spent $55 million to convert the Hilton into the Omphoy Ocean Resort.
The Omphoy is under new ownership. Gulfstream appears to still be owned by the family but is up for sale.
According to the lawsuit, the bank wants an immediate foreclosure. It also wants the hotel owner to make payments during the foreclosure proceedings, wants to take possession of the items of value at the hotel and wants lease payments paid directly to it.
Several other people are listed on the lawsuit, including the company that manages Café Boulud and the company that runs the Frederic Fekkai spa. Two elderly Palm Beach women who apparently once lived there, as well as several contractors who may have been involved in the renovations are also listed.
But 34 individuals or entities who own condo units, according to the Property Appraiser’s Office website, are not listed on the lawsuit. CSC Brazilian LP is recorded as owning 34 units.
The mortgage was modified five times, most recently in February of last year.
Adam Schlesinger Acquires Historic Brazilian Court Hotels for $18 million; Plans to Convert to a Condominium Hotel
By Paul Owers, The Palm Beach Post, Fla.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Aug. 24--PALM BEACH, Fla.--The new owner of the Brazilian Court Hotel is seeing stars -- five, to be exact.
Local developer Adam Schlesinger this month completed an $18 million deal for the hotel and is working on the newest phase in the long life of the landmark Palm Beach property.
Schlesinger hopes to turn the Brazilian Court into a condominium hotel where residents would buy the units at prices ranging from $400,000 to $2 million.
Schlesinger wants to slice the number of rooms to 80 from 103.
Plans also call for a new spa and a dining room run by world-renowned French chef Daniel Boulud.
In the Zagat Survey 2002 Top U.S. Hotels, Resorts and Spas, a guidebook based on the feedback of 20,000 consumers, the Brazilian Court received good-to-excellent ratings for its rooms, service, dining and public facilities.
But some visitors said the resort's accommodations are "tired" and the style "campy."
"What's missing are the in-room and hotel amenities representative of five-star service," Schlesinger said Friday. "We view the hotel as an instrument that just needs to be recalibrated."
Generations of Palm Beachers have put up their out-of-town guests at the Brazilian Court since it opened on New Year's Day 1926.
It also has served as a retreat for the rich and famous, with Judy Garland, Cary Grant and Richard Nixon among the celebrities who stayed there.
The Australian Avenue hotel underwent an $8 million renovation in 1984, the same year Robert Kennedy's son David died there of a drug overdose.
Despite that stigma, the hotel with the bright yellow stucco and barrel-tile roof always has been a symbol of Palm Beach panache.
"The Brazilian Court oozes with charm," said Jesse Newman, a Palm Beach publicist and former president of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce. "You walk in there and it's not like you're in a hotel. It's like you're in a house."
Developer Schlesinger is an executive with Ceebraid-Signal Corp., a West Palm Beach-based owner and manager of multifamily properties run by his father, Richard. The company developed Il Lugano, a swanky condominium in Palm Beach.
Adam Schlesinger, 30, bought the Brazilian Court from Michael and Andrew Gosman, sons of former health care magnate Abe Gosman of Palm Beach. Abe Gosman paid $11 million for the property in 1995 and turned it into a retirement hotel for the active elderly.
Abe Gosman filed for bankruptcy protection last year, although the Brazilian Court sale doesn't have anything to do with his financial problems, officials say. Although Schlesinger bought controlling interest in the hotel, Michael and Andrew Gosman will be minority partners.
"They're very interested in seeing the end result," Schlesinger said.
Schlesinger will seek permission from the town in October to begin renovations.
Zoning officials said Friday it's too early to tell how Schlesinger's plans will be received.
"He's going to need some relief to do what he wants to do," said Paul Castro, the town's zoning administrator.
If Schlesinger can win the town's approval, he hopes to begin marketing the condominium units by the fall.
"It's never good to be too confident," he said. "But we are very hopeful the community will support this project."
-----To see more of The Palm Beach Post, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.gopbi.com/partners/pbpost
(c) 2002, The Palm Beach Post, Fla. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.