First Look: Aqimero


How do you know when you’re on a vacation? Somebody opens the door for you, smiling, and shortly thereafter, somebody else brings you a cocktail. Something refreshing. There are craggy oysters and pink shrimp resting in ice, awaiting some future destination, and there are palm trees in abundance.

At Aqimero, the new Richard Sandoval restaurant in the Ritz Carlton, its clear that that vacation-style hospitality is on the menu.

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A First Look at Aqimero in the Ritz Carlton


As part of the newly renovated Ritz-Carlton, the hotel has a new Richard Sandoval restaurant, Aqimero, opens today in the lobby of the historic building. Sandoval, who is originally from Denver, has opened almost 40 restaurants globally, but this is his first Philadelphia-based project. The restaurant will feature Latin American cuisine and the menu and dishes described as “Mexican beach campfire style.”

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Ritz Carlton Is Adding Latin Restaurant from Richard Sandoval

Richard Sandoval is coming to the Ritz Carlton

Richard Sandoval is coming to the Ritz Carlton

The Ritz Carlton on Broad Street in the midst of a $24 million redesign. As part of that upgrade, the 10 Arts restaurant is giving way to Aqimero, a Latin seafood and small plates restaurant from chef/restaurateur Richard Sandoval. Sandoval’s restaurant group is based out of Colorado and has more than 40 restaurants around the globe.

The 206-seat Aqimero is aiming to open in May, 2016 with a wood-burning grill as the centerpiece of the restaurant and concept. Like 10 Arts when it was run by Eric Ripert and executed by chef Jennifer Carroll, seafood will be a big part of the menu. There will be a grilled fish of the day that will take advantage of the wood-burning grill. Whole roasted snapper will be served “Mexican beach campfire style” with tomato and chili adobo, avocado, tortillas, chayote slaw and limes.

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PHOTOS: Our Night Out at the Ritz-Carlton

It was a perfect autumn evening at the Ritz-Carlton on Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts for DVLF’s Our Night Out, which served as a preview party for the organization’s TOY event in December. Hundreds showed up to mingle, enjoy cocktails at the very busy bars, and celebrate the start of the new season. Check out some of our pictures below, and make sure that you sign up for TOY 2015 at Fire and Ice, scheduled for Saturday, December 5. Tickets and more information can be found here.

Headlines: Major Changes on the Way at the Ritz-Carlton


The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia | George Widman/Visit Philly

Hotels are a hot topic around the city these days. While a lot of the talk has been about the construction of the W and Element Hotel at 15th and Chestnut, the Ritz-Carlton has long been a stalwart on that very same block and recent changes seem to suggest it’s looking to reassert its dominance in a rapidly changing hospitality scene.

Natalie Kostelni of the Philadelphia Business Journal reports that “Carey Watermark Investors Inc has purchased a majority interest in the Ritz-Carlton and plans a $21.3 million renovation on the entire 299-room property on South Broad Street in Philadelphia.” The deal is a joint venture with Philadelphia Hospitality Partners and it sounds like a full-scale “contemporary” revamp of iconic hotel is on its way, including upgrades to the rooms, ballroom and more.

The work is expected to be wrapped up in 2016. The Ritz won’t be the only high-end hotel getting a new look in the near future. The Four Seasons on the Parkway is set to close in June, with a yet-to-be-named hotel featuring a modern look taking its place.

Ritz Carlton ownership changes, renovations in the works [Philadelphia Business Journal]

More Headlines:

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PHOTOS: Our Night Out at The Ritz-Carlton

It was a swanky (and PACKED) Wednesday evening affair as gay Philly drank, socialized, and nibbled their way through the iconic Ritz-Carlton on the Avenue of the Arts. The ever-popular Our Night Out happy hour and social-networking event was hosted by OPAL, an umbrella organization that aims to unify LGBTQ sporing groups throughout Philadelphia. Of course, everyone has to thank the great folks at the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund for coordinating Our Night Out and making it one of the best social events every month. We were there to capture everyone’s snazzy attire and handsome smiles.

Philly Condo Featured in the New York Times

Ritz Carlton condoA condominium for sale on the 29th floor of the Residences at the Ritz Carlton tower across from City Hall was featured in the New York Times real estate section last week as part of a feature called “What You Get for… $2.5 Million.” So, what do you get?

Well, you get a living room, dining room, and master bedroom all with a curtain wall of glass offering the view of City Hall’s clock tower at eye level. You get a foyer with a straight view through the living room out the windows. You get a special wing for guests with two bedrooms and a separate entrance. You get a master bath with “both a shower and a bathtub surrounded with white marble tiles shot with gray,” and a kitchen “styled with black cabinets, black-and-white granite countertops and gray tile floors.” You get a parking space, and access to a private park and a chauffeur-driven car and an on-site health club. (You do have to pay a little over $3,000 a month for those amenities.)

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PHOTOS: The Gays Dazzled at the 10 Arts Oscar Viewing Party

oscars viewing party 10 arts

The third annual Oscar Viewing Party took place at the Ritz-Carlton on March 2nd. Guests donned their finest gowns and suits (some even wore black tie) to enjoy a pre-party before the screening of the famed awards show. They enjoyed a complimentary happy hour featuring Peroni beer and Casamigos Tequila cocktails, as well as light bites and desserts from the 10 Arts bistro.

Photos after the jump

Valentine’s Special: Allan Domb (and Others) Talk About Falling in Love

allan domb

Allan Domb’s heart beats for real estate. Original photo by Laura Kicey.

At first glance, it might seem an unlikely pairing: romance and real estate. But they often go hand in hand. There’s such a personal relationship with your home. You want to make sure you choose “the one.”

That’s not only true for homeowners, but also for people who work in the industry. We asked a few of Philadelphia’s real estate icons to talk about their their love of the business — and the highs and lows of their relationships with it.

The Butterflies

“I’m passionate about real estate,” says Allan Domb, of Allan Domb Real Estate and current President of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors. “You can’t be successful if you don’t love what you do. For most people, purchasing a home is the biggest financial decision they will make in their lifetime. For four, five, six months, I’m involved in that process, and that’s incredibly special.”

“For me,” says Diane Bryant of Bryant & Wilde Realty, “I was inspired by the sales end of the business, placing buyers in a home they were excited about.”

Michael Rosman, branch manager of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, has worked in the lending industry for 15 years. Here’s what he loves: “Every day brings a new situation, new client, a new challenge that I can impact for the positive.”

The Perfect Match

Deciding to buy property is typically the largest financial investment a person will make in a lifetime. It’s important to work with knowledgeable professionals and recognize that you’re building a relationship. Trust, communication and support are paramount for a successful match.

“Ask for recommendations from friends or family and identify the agent’s reputation. If you haven’t bought a home before, ask around and see what people liked about the agent or didn’t,” advise the folks at Bryant & Wilde.

Brokers will want to build an intimate relationship with a specific neighborhood: “Learn a block and learn it better then anyone else. Become a one-street specialist.”

Speaking for lenders, Mike Rosman — who has owned his own business — sees value in pairing up rather than going it alone: “Working with a larger institution, such as Wells Fargo, offers support and resources that aren’t available with smaller shops,” he says.

The Ups and Downs

Every relationship has its high points and low points.

David G. Marshall, Chairman and CEO of Amerimar Realty Company, counts the two and a half years developing The Rittenhouse Hotel and Condominium as a high point.

“Finally we were getting ready to open. We had hired much of the staff and they were all scurrying about in last minute preparations. I walked into the kitchen and there was ordered turmoil with ‘real food’ coming of the concrete, steel, and assorted equipment, that I knew little about. The thought came over me that this must be what a woman feels like when giving birth after all the struggles of labor. I honestly felt like crying, but I didn’t. I had a 650,000-square-foot baby to raise.”

The romance surged for Bryant & Wilde Realty after successfully selling all of the condos and doing the re-sales at The Rittenhouse Hotel and Condominiums. They were approached in 2005 to work on a new project, The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton. “Being approached by The Ritz, based on referrals of others in the Philadelphia market, was such a compliment for us,” says Margie Wilde, co-owner of Bryant & Wilde. “It’s always nice to be recognized for accomplishments, and the project presented a wonderful opportunity.”

For Mike Rosman, running his own mortgage brokerage was both a high and a low point. “Running my own business allowed me to appreciate the business much more,” he says. “The low point was when the market crashed in 2009 and it was my business I had to end up closing.”

That was a common low point for many.

“Looking back now,” Rosman says, “if you can make it through 2008/2009, you can make it through anything.”

“House Hunters” Couple Sell Their Unit At the Ritz

ritz-openerLast July, I wrote about an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters that featured Bill and Antonio, who were looking for a house in downtown Philly “on a whim.” Their budget was $2 million, and hunting took them to the Rittenhouse Grande at 19th and Spruce and the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton on Broad and Walnut. The couple ended up buying a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath, corner unit at the Ritz — in the rear, facing the W Hotel parking lot — for $1.535 million. Nice going with the budget, gentlemen!

The unit features customized Jeld Wen closet doors, electronic window blinds and custom window treatments, two walk-in closets, and one-car parking — along with being in the Ritz and so offering everything the Ritz has to offer, which is a lot.

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