A capable producer, Avicii certainly has undeniable musical talent, but what’s really made him rise to the top of his game is his market appeal and publicity tactics. He’s cute, young and has a sexy Swedish accent. He’s got a sexy beauty mark right above his right upper lip, just like Cindy Crawford. Even his name is sexy. Avicii with two “i’s.” (Fun fact: he added the extra “i” because Avici was taken on Facebook. Good thing, since that other “i” is what makes it roll right off the tongue. Must be why everybody knows Avicii and not Avici.)
When news spread that Avicii, who never talks to the press, fashioned his own pop-up hotel during Miami’s Winter Music Conference, news outlets naturally flocked to cover it, with the rest of the EDM community in tow. 2,800 reservation requests were received within the first two days, but Avicii could only accommodate 100 at once.
You may be asking, “What is a pop-up hotel?” A popular restaurant concept — chiefly among restaurants in Miami — pop-ups are otherwise inhabited, presently operating businesses that rent out their space for a certain time frame to allow others to come and do their thing.
The Marlin Hotel, located at 1200 Collins Avenue, is a beautiful boutique hotel, although it most likely doesn’t see much traffic during WMC. Reason being, ravers come to WMC to rave, not for the finest hotel accommodations. And while The Marlin may have been named “The United States Leading Lifestyle Hotel 2011” by Conde Nast Traveller UK, the EDM culture doesn’t care. What do they care about? Avicii. What will they spend money on? Anything with Avicii’s name attached to it.
So just what did a stay at the Avicii hotel cost those willing to pay the price to be part of history? Well it varied, but for the most part, packages started at $525 a night and went up to $780. Not bad given luxury SoBe resorts like Soho House and Fontainebleau charge around the same price on a normal weekend. Difference is, like Avicii, Soho House and Fontainebleau are known names. They’ve got market appeal. For one reason or another, they’ve done something that got them world recognition. So how does a 1939 art deco landmark like The Marlin compete with the big boys? It’s safe to say the newly renovated property’s owner Walid Sfeir knows. “Avicii’s team approached me about the idea because people who knew Avicii’s people knew me,” said Sfeir during an exclusive interview. Connections. Isn’t that the way the world works?
After being approached with an idea that he thought was amazing, Walid worked with Avicii’s team to create the first ever artist branded hotel. On Friday March 15th, the first day of WMC, the Avicii hotel was unveiled.
Models stood outside wearing Avicii shirts and handing out Avicii ice cream. His flavors: vanilla or strawberry. An ice cream truck also drove around SoBe passing out the free ice cream to thirsty ravers and spring breakers. The FreeBee Miami—SoBe’s free shuttle service—was sponsored by Avicii to take guests from the hotel to wherever they wished, including over the bridge to Ultra. Something they typically never do.
Last year, Avicii provided complimentary shuttle buses to and from Ultra and Madonna introduced him on the main stage, asking the now notorious question, “Has anybody seen Molly?” This year, he’s added the hotel and even more branded vehicles. People pulling up to Ultra on a go-cart-like shuttle with Avicii’s face plastered on it, people wearing Avicii buttons, eating Avicii ice cream, and sucking on Avicii lollipops. This was the buzz along Biscayne Boulevard and Collins Avenue that prompted spectators to take notice. And just like that, the FreeBee and The Marlin got more word of mouth promotion, and Avicii moved himself higher in the ranking on some list or another. The DJ industry is all about rankings, but what reaching number one really means is having the most marketability and recognition.
Everyone on the Avicii train made money. What a happy world. Even the guests bleeding money were happy to be able to say they stayed at the Avicii hotel. Happy to be able to wear an Avicii shirt each and every day of WMC—daily festival shirts were part of the hotel package. Guests also got an Avicii gift bag valued at around $400, which included a silk Avicii robe and Avicii flip-flops.Upon check-in, The Marlin loaned each guest an iPad, which controlled everything in their room from lights and curtains to the surround system and TV. The rooms had song-themed motifs. During a private tour of the Le7els suite on the second floor, Avicii’s soundtrack blasted. Red dimmed-down LED lights and closed curtains gave it the feel of a club rather than a hotel room. No bible graced the nightstand. Not in this hotel. Instead, Bob Marley, Jimmy Hendrix and Bob Dylan biographies made more contemporary late night reading substitutes. Who needs the bible when you’ve got Jimmy Hendrix? Especially during a week like WMC when heavy sinning bowls over piety.
Letterhead was even provided in case one felt the need to write to someone back home, or perhaps to oneself in an attempt to remember what happened yesterday. The bathroom had Avicii towels, Avicii soap, shampoo, and conditioner. Hell, Avicii even left a personalized message for guests on the mirror. It read, “Hey! Drink some water before going to sleep. You’ll thank me tomorrow (insert happy face here) Avicii.” No Avicii sheets? “We were going to do them originally, but we didn’t have enough time,” said Sfeir. “Everything in the room is designed and branded Avicii for the guest to take home when they leave.”
Another complication happened to be the lobby, which wasn’t ready on the first day of WMC because all the Avicii propaganda that was supposed to cover the lobby entirely got held up in customs. Apparently some people really don’t know or care to know who Avicii is. This small bump in the road that was fixed days later easily went unnoticed by those none the wiser. What was supposed to be a takeover of the lobby was simply a series of photographs plastered on the walls as well as in the elevator. If you didn’t already know you were staying in Avicii’s hotel, his face—and that beauty mark—served as a constant reminder.
The downstairs lobby was transformed into the events room. The drink coasters, drink stirrers, and even the drink menu with signature Avicii cocktails priced at $12 each were all branded Avicii.And now for the million-dollar or, in this case, $525 a night question: Just where was Avicii? The real, tangible, two-time Grammy nominee, Swedish blondie that headlined two of Ultra’s stages throughout both weekends… Not in the Avicii hotel.
His people looked amused when presented with the question. As if it were absurd for fans who paid that much money and immersed themselves that entirely in the Avicii experience to think they might actually get to have a run-in with him. Instead, they got to hear David Tort, Syn Cole, Holmstein & Verngold, and Cazzette, who all played sets in the lobby’s rendition of club Avicii. Those who stayed the full 10 days, booking the “Bromance Package,” received VIP Ultra Tickets for both weekends (a $1,600 value).
That’s as close as anyone who ate, slept and breathed the #3 DJ in the world for ten days got to him. Oh, and they secured an invite to Avicii’s annual private party at a secret location. Turns out, the party was a charity event for the House of Hunger—Avicii’s charity—and it took place at Terra Veritatis. With a renovation price tag of $40 million, Terra Veritati is the most extensive revitalization of a single-family property in Miami Beach history.
You know you’ve made it when you have a hotel named after you that you don’t bother to stay in and you’re hosting charity parties in $40 million dollar mansions. After all this, Avicii might just be the world’s #1 DJ next year.