"All the layers that go into it – the design, the menu, choosing of the glassware, and creating a story for the brand and why the place is so special – it’s the most fun thing in the world for me,"
Sandwiched between West Palm Beach and Boca Raton on Florida’s southeast coast, small, artsy Delray Beach is in the midst of a renaissance. In the spring, the city welcomed the tropical-inspired Delray Beach Market, a mammoth 150,000-square-foot food hall uniting more than 25 vendors. A few minutes away, the Ray Hotel Delray Beach, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, opened in September. Both sites flaunt the distinctive imprint of nightlife impresario Andy Masi.
Before launching Clique Hospitality in 2015, Masi founded the Light Group in 2001 with Andrew Sasson, reinventing the Las Vegas Strip with hotspots like Caramel and FIX at the Bellagio. For Masi, who got his start in the industry by picking up empty bottles from a Boston nightclub floor, imagining new concepts comes easily. “All the layers that go into it – the design, the menu, choosing of the glassware, and creating a story for the brand and why the place is so special – it’s the most fun thing in the world for me,” he says.
In 2020, Masi unveiled a second iteration of Lionfish Modern Coastal Cuisine in Delray Beach, designed by New York firm Celano Design Studio, a longtime collaborator. The original, located inside the Pendry San Diego, features a design by another frequent Masi partner, Toronto-based Studio Munge, and “is the only concept we’ve ever repeated,” he says. One of the reasons Lionfish was able to be translated for both coasts is because Masi continues to work with the same people, including a spate of designers who understand his vision. Like the Delray Beach Market, the Ray Hotel Delray Beach comes courtesy of local developer Menin and Miami practice Gonzalez Architects. Here, Clique Hospitality envisioned the food and drink offerings, fusing the talents of several design firms. New York and Paris-based Virserius Studio designed the 141 guestrooms, as well as the lobby bar and coffee shop Stingers, while Studio Munge presided over Ember Grill and Rosewater Rooftop. The former mixes leather, rattan, and natural oak to conjure an elevated beach vibe, while the latter is characterized by greenery, pergolas, and crocheted screens. Celano Design Studio (the firm also handled much of Delray Beach Market’s interiors) is behind the hotel’s forthcoming Akira Back, another outpost in the namesake Michelin-starred chef’s empire.
When COVID shut down Clique Hospitality’s existing venues, Masi took the time to slow down and channel his energy into crafting new concepts. And post-lockdown, they have debuted at a rapid clip, nearly doubling the company’s footprint. Consider the recent opened Pendry Chicago, where Masi and Studio Munge introduced Venteux, a café and brasserie decked out in marble, velvet, and hues of sage and burgundy. Or Gatsby’s, the expansive bar just off the casino floor at newcomer Resorts World Las Vegas, designed by Turku, Finland-based Kudos, which attracts patrons via its illuminated white globe lighting installation. Cigar bar Eight Lounge will also arrive at Resorts World Las Vegas later this year.
All these ideas reflect “what the market needs and an understanding of the customer,” Masi points out. “It stopped being about me a long time ago.”