Q&A with Jeffrey Klein of Turnberry Isle Miami

Jeffrey Klein, Turnberry Isle Miami’s new vice president and managing director.

Jeffrey Klein was recently named Turnberry Isle Miami’s vice president and managing director. Klein has been a part of the Turnberry Associates executive team for about eight years, serving as vice president of operations at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, and now he brings his many years of experience to Turnberry Isle Miami. Recommend’s Associate Editor had a chance to chat with Klein about what his new role means for the Aventura property, as well as who the ideal Turnberry client is, and what changes are expected for the property.

Michelle Marie Arean (MMA): What changes do you plan to bring to Turnberry Isle Miami?

Jeffrey Klein (JK): I’ve been working with the family for eight years. I understand their vision and how to execute it; trying to bring synergy among all of their hotels and taking what we did great at the Fontainebleau and bringing it here to Turnberry, such as the overall quality of food and beverage offerings, partnerships, strategic alliances with purveyors, entertainment, and amenity programs, as well as the overall look and feel [of the resort] and enhancing the guest experience. [It’s all] still in strategic planning stage.

MMA: Who is Turnberry’s ideal guest? What type of travelers does the Turnberry attract, being that it’s not in South Beach or the up-and-coming Brickell area?

JK: Our demo is very diverse. We cater to both family and business travelers. We definitely cater to the business/group conference traveler—50 percent [business] and 50 percent families. [It’s also ideal for] the family that’s looking for an escape to a 3,000-acre oasis filled with a luxury spa, golf, and tennis facility. We are one of a kind; we have an amazing lagoon pool and amazing water slide.

MMA: When I was at the Turnberry last summer, I noticed a lot of families playing football on the lawn and spending time together. Are family reunions big at Turnberry?

JK: We’re very family-friendly. We offer a lot of great programming for kids, summer camp programming, and junior golf programming. We created this oasis where families can indulge, and the business traveler can indulge and their paths may never cross. You can be at the Cascada adults-only pool or Laguna pool that’s filled with kids and it’s very diverse.

We have a program called Turnberry Kids Club where we partner with Kids Connection and offer a full gamut of entertainment, arts and crafts, swimming, daily activities, movie nights, and a lot of outdoor activities. We plan a lot of outdoor activities since we have a lot of guests escaping the [cold] weather and we’re in Florida.

MMA: Since the property doesn’t have beach access, is there a shuttle or any transportation offered to guests who would like to spend some time at the beach?

JK: Yes, we offer a complimentary shuttle 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, running about every 30 minutes. We also go to the [Aventura] mall. We go from the mall to the beach and back to the hotel.

The Laguna Pool at Turnberry Isle Miami.
The Laguna Pool at Turnberry Isle Miami.

MMA: In your opinion, what are the pros and cons to the Turnberry’s Aventura location?

JK: Ready for my list of cons? Here it goes…[a moment of silence from Klein]

Ok, now for the pros: We are centrally located between two international airports—Fort Lauderdale and MIA, flights and lift-offs are plentiful; we’re across the street from South Florida’s No. 1 shopping destination, which has been named the best shopping destination by The Miami Herald.

Another pro of not being in South Beach or in the mixes is that when you arrive at Turnberry you have a grand sense of an oasis feeling. You can be anywhere in the world once you’re here because you’re isolated and it’s a very serene property with great amenities. You can arrive on a Thursday and depart on a Sunday with no real need to leave the facility. It’s like being on an island.

We also have very uniquely spacious rooms that range from 500 to 2,500 sq. ft., with a selection of suites and Presidential Suites—that’s very unique for rooms in South Florida because it can accommodate families.

We have two celebrity chefs, Micheal Mina of Micheal Mina Bourbon Steak (it’s his first East Coast outpost), and Scott Conant, who has the onsite Mediterranean restaurant, Corsair by Scott Conant, with influences from Italy and the Mediterranean.

We have 36 holes of championship golf designed by Raymond Floyd and a pro golf center.

There’s also the Canas Tennis [offerings] run by Guillermo Canas and Gustavo Oribe; both played on the ATP tour.

The spa offers a full gamut of wellness with onsite doctors, chiropractors, holistic meds, Botox, and those new “vampire” treatments.

MMA: Does the property currently have any packages in conjunction with Aventura Mall, since it’s so close to this high-end mega mall?

JK: We have a Retail Therapy package, which includes breakfast, valet, and a $50 gift card to use at the mall, as well as a package with Mastercard, where international guests get a gift with [any] purchase when they use their Mastercard. They receive rewards cards from stores in the mall.

MMA: We know the guestrooms were updated last fall. Can you give us more details about these updates?

JK: We renovated 113 guestrooms, five suites and one Presidential Suite in the Hibiscus building. We updated meeting rooms and renovated restaurants.

This year we’re renovating more rooms. Some in our Mangolia and Jasmine towers, so by the fall about 350 of 400 rooms will be fully renovated with new carpet, bedding, headboards, and furniture, so the guest experience is all fresh and new. That’s what’s great about working with the family; they’re constantly reinvesting to make it updated for the future. They love maintaining and improving assets. For them it’s about keeping the status and quality at the highest level.

MMA: Are there any other updates in the works for the hotel?

JK: That’s a great question for our second interview. There’s nothing in the works. There are very preliminary covert plans as we strategically look into the future of this asset. But there are great things coming in the pipeline for the restaurants, convention center and throughout the 300 acres. So stay tuned. We can have a second interview in 90 days or so.

Views of the golf course at Turnberry Isle Miami.
Views of the golf course at Turnberry Isle Miami.

MMA: What’s one takeaway travel agents should have top of mind when trying to get clients to book the hotel?

JK: Excuse the run-on sentence: A 36-hole championship golf course, a wellness spa, beach access, an oasis we created for the customer experience, coupled with spacious rooms and suites, and proximity to the best shopping mall in South Florida, all creates a great experience for our guests.

We’re central. You can go to South Beach, Port Everglades and the Port of Miami. It’s 20 minutes from Las Olas Boulevard, 20 minutes from South Beach, and you’re surrounded by three exectutive airports. We are an ideal location for all—from the leisure to the business traveler.

MMA: Does the resort have any agent perks or incentives going on that we should let our readers know about? Does the resort offer travel agent rates?

JK: As part of the Autograph Collection, we invite our agents to experience the resort through its offerings. We welcome them to experience Turnberry and our team members and offer 50 percent off rates, and a group summer incentive with rates starting at $159.

MMA: Does the resort partner with consortias such as Virtuoso?

JK: We partner with Virtuoso, Signature Travel Network, and American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts.

MMA: What role do you think travel agents play in today’s highly competitive marketplace?

JK: I think they’re great planners. They’re ambassadors to your property. They lend a first-hand experience of what to expect. They help plan your trip and offer recommendations for food and beverage. I think agents play a great role in working with the resort on the guests’ needs and wants.

They get you perks as part of their company association; they’re able to leverage those perks and get guests those perks through those programs (Virtuoso and American Express).

MMA: Any last thoughts you’d like to add?

JK: We provide high quality all the time; and being top of mind when planning an international and Florida staycation for guests who are looking for an oasis experience in South Florida.

For more information, visit turnberryislemiami.com.