An invitation to a private sunset cocktail party on Hibiscus Island—hosted by Paul Vogele, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos and the Ben-Josef and Lowenstein families to benefit the Miami Design Preservation League—is no small matter.
First there was the setting: Vogele’s double-tiered white-and-glass modernist home was the backdrop as guests milled around the full bar positioned at the end of the waterside swimming pool. If the 10,780-square-foot house on North Hibiscus Drive seemed familiar, that’s because Vogele’s then-new home was featured in the Wall Street Journal’s Mansion Global section a few years ago, when the luxury home builder was thinking of selling it for $29 million.
As for the other venerable hosts, the names of the Kanavos, Ben-Josef and Lowenstein families appear together with some regularity, as the three high-powered families came together in 2021 to strike a deal to share ownership of the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach; the arty Sagamore hotel, next door; and the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour. Previous to this eyebrow-raising hospitality arrangement, New York-based Flag Luxury Group (led by Paul and Dayssi Kanavos) and Lionstone Development (the Lowensteins) had been known as the joint developers of the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, while the Sagamore was helmed by the Ben-Josef Group.
The fact that this rarefied trio of powerful families are throwing their weight behind the Miami Design Preservation League—and the planned revitalized Art Deco Museum, debuting in 2024—is a big deal. That show of support reflects on the vital mission of the Miami Design Preservation League, which has been a force in Miami Beach for more than 45 years (it is the oldest art deco society in the world), ensuring that the community maintains its globally renowned architectural heritage and its unprecedented art deco and midcentury design legacy.
Guests enjoyed a curated menu courtesy of James Beard Award-winning chef Jeff McGinnis and Janine Booth (both Top Chef alumni and owners of Miami Beach’s Stiltsville Fish Bar) and exclusive first pours of vintages from the vault of celebrated winemaker David Phinney of Napa Valley’s Orin Swift Cellars.
Photos by World Red Eye