Thrillist is no stranger to trip giveaways. In October the email newsletter staged its Jet Mystery event, which flew 158 guests on JetBlue to a surprise location, Jamaica, for a three days of activities. In an effort to create a more grounded presence in one of its 16 markets, the New York-based company created the inaugural Hotel Thrillist in Miami Beach this past weekend.
“Thrillist recommends the best restaurants and nightclubs [in Miami], and our mission [with this initiative] was to showcase just that to a national audience,” said the company’s event manager, Ben Hindman. “We wanted people to be able to experience the brand as a local entity and not just an email.”
Thrillist ran national and local online sweepstakes for readers to win a hotel room at the Fontainebleau, which Thrillist rebranded with signage and designated activity areas for the weekend, and access to its sponsored events. About 200 people from around the country, plus 100 locals and national media, attended.
The festivities began on Friday night with a welcome reception and dinner party in a hotel ballroom—moved from the back lawn when torrential rains and flooding that afternoon forced the party inside—with the hotel's restaurants Scarpetta, Hakkasan, Gotham Steak, and Solo providing food stations for dinner and dessert. Singer Angela Laino and band Suénalo performed during the cocktail reception and dinner, respectively.
Saturday’s planned activities kicked off early with morning yoga on the beach led by Equinox Fitness Club instructors and a light breakfast at poolside eatery La Cote. Thrillist converted the upper deck of La Cote into a street bazaar with vendors like KrelWear, Duncan Quinn, and bikini brand House of Jackie Brown. Around midday Red, the Steakhouse and Gotham Steak chefs participated in a poolside barbecue showdown and were judged on taste, presentation, and originality for an appetizer, steak, and dessert. Presenting sponsors Bacardi and Corona supplied liquid libations throughout the day.
Other afternoon activities included music-spinning lessons from Scratch DJ Academy, capoeira lessons from Miami Capoeira Project, tours and animal encounters at Jungle Island exotic zoo, and mini massages from Equinox. DJ Elle spun for the majority of the day, and R&B singer Kat Deluna gave a special 30-minute concert complete with dancers on the pool deck.
That night Thrillist transported everyone to the South of Fifth neighborhood for a dinner party at Red’s rooftop event space overlooking the city. DJ Señor Stereo from event company Overthrow, fire dancers, and the Miami Heat dancers entertained throughout the night.
The company held a farewell breakfast at Gotham Steak on Sunday morning before attendees checked out. Other event sponsors included the Miami Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, Klondike, Sony CyberShot, and New York magazine.