A hospitality company known for providing entertainment experiences through its worldwide portfolio of restaurants, nightclubs, lounges, and day clubs is opening its first resort hotel in Orlando’s tourism district.
A 220-room Tao Hotel — a product of London-based Tao Group Hospitality — will anchor the City Center at O-Town West, a $1 billion, 365-acre mixed-use community that Unicorp National Developments is building out near Universal theme parks.
City Center is one of four districts across the sprawling O-Town West mixed-use site at the corner of Daryl Carter Parkway and Palm Parkway where three luxury apartment communities totaling 1,500 units are in the construction pipeline. While a number of retailers have already opened for business — such as a World of Beer, Portillo’s, and the nation’s largest White Castle —a high-rise hotel was always envisioned to serve as the centerpiece.
Chuck Whittall, Unicorp’s President, told GrowthSpotter that the Tao Hotel would be a five-star luxury resort rising 15 stories.
Tao Group Hospitality, part of Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp, announced in a news release this week that it would include a TAO Asian Bistro, rooftop bar, meeting space, and fitness facility.
“This is a giant deal,” Whittall said. “It’s bringing in a high-end themed restaurant, and generally you’d only find restaurants like this in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago or Miami. I think this takes Orlando to the next level. It’s such a great concept.”
He credited Unicorp’s director of leasing Taylor Coen for closing the deal after more than a year and a half of negotiating.
“I think people from all over Central Florida will drive a distance to come here,” Whittall added. “It’s just a very cosmopolitan type brand. It’s going to be beautiful.”
Next door to the hotel site, the nine-story corporate headquarters for Marriott Vacations Worldwide is under construction and is expected to bring 2,000 employees to the area. Unicorp also plans to move its corporate office to the hotel’s top floor.
For more than 20 years, Tao Group Hospitality has been a leader and innovator in the entertainment and culinary industry operating more than 70 branded locations in over 20 markets worldwide, the release says. Tao Group Hospitality has experienced rapid growth in recent years, expecting to open nine branded locations in 2022 with at least ten more planned in 2023, according to the news release.
Tao Group Hospitality operates more than 40 of its branded locations inside existing hotels across the world including seven stand-alone properties for which the group handles full food and beverage operations including room service.
“A hotel was the natural evolution for us”, Tao Group Hospitality Co-CEO Noah Tepperberg said in a news release. “We’ve had the honor of working with some of the world’s top hotel developers, and we’re really excited to create a property that truly reflects the TAO lifestyle.”
He continued: “This hotel will be an exquisite escape and will enable us to showcase our company’s flagship concept in a whole new way. Boasting over 40 million visitors annually, Orlando is the perfect place for our first branded resort property. More than just culinary and nightlife, TAO is a lifestyle, and this large-scale venture provides the ultimate opportunity to bring that experience to life.”
Tao Group Hospitality has tapped longtime partner Rockwell Group to design the property. The hotel is expected to open by 2025, the release says.
“We are extremely excited to partner with Tao Group Hospitality on this venture, Whittall said in the news release. “The brand is exactly what O-Town embodies and will be perfect for residents and visitors to the area.”
This is the latest luxury hospitality hotel to announce intentions to enter the Orlando market.
Nobu Hotel Orlando is also expected to open by 2025 on land along Interstate-4 directly across from Disney theme parks. The global hotel and restaurant chain has 14 locations nationwide and is co-founded by actor Robert De Niro and world-renowned Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa.
The Orlando resort will feature 300 rooms and villas, a Nobu restaurant, 50 branded residences, and meeting and event space, the website says.
The chain is known for blending modern luxury living with minimal Japanese tradition.