Eat, Stay And Pray


by Jen Karetnick

We’re very used to hearing about luxury resortcondominiums designed for signature markets debuting on South Beach, downtown Miami or even Sunny Isles Beach. Some target short-term, high-end business travelers, while others are geared toward wealthy, overseas families who trail domestic help. Moses Bensusan, President and CEO of Liberty Grande, LLC, familiar with developing properties in Miami, could fit his planned Costa Hollywood into this group, except for one thing: with Costa Hollywood, it’s not South Beach or Downtown Miami, he’s seeking to revolutionize Hollywood Beach, Florida instead.


An oceanside hotel condo breaking ground this November and set to open in 2014, Costa Hollywood, Bensusan says, “was conceived to provide to its visitors and guests, an opportunity to enjoy what the city of Hollywood has to offer—beautiful beaches, great destinations and a smart ownership/investment opportunity in one of the most vibrant, cultural and up-and-coming areas. Costa Hollywood will provide privileged owners with access to resort living and the chance to take advantage of parks, restaurants, bars, casinos, lounges, beach access, water sports and marina, as well as activities year round.”

With all due respect, that sounds like every other planned resort out there. However, what we noticed that makes this project iconic are roof-garden angles that will showcase both the Atlantic Ocean and the intracoastal, a rooftop infinity pool providing a swim with a view, and its 260 rooms outfitted with Apple plasmas. Costa Hollywood is bound to be both a gorgeous and high-tech attraction. Not surprisingly, there’s already interest on more than half of the 80 rooms that have been released to the market, Bensusan says. With prices starting at $160,000, these properties make affordable vacation rentals/homes.

But the real magnet for some will be the more than 400,000 square feet of amenities and accessible living space that the destination will feature, including a synagogue and a Shabbat elevator.


In short, while Costa Hollywood, with its retro and Italian architecture and its lushly landscaped romantic courtyards, will be global in style, appearance, and function, it will cater specifically to Jewish populations. As Bensusan puts it diplomatically, “Costa Hollywood welcomes people from all over the world, vacationers who appreciate the many wonderful amenities available at luxury resorts. Our clientele appreciates the potential of owning a revenue-generating vacation home but we will be mindful of the Jewish community and, as such, will have a synagogue on site as well as a kosher dining establishment.”

Many in the Florida Jewish community are pleased to have Costa on the way. To honor the prospect, a ceremony was held in the spring, dedicating the offering of a sefer Torah, at the Trump Hollywood. Sponsored by Bensusan himself, the offering of the sefer Torah was attended by “some of the world’s most important Jewish individuals from Argentina, Canada, Israel and other parts of the world,” said David Malka, organizer of the event. Of special note, “His eminence Admor of Malta is a worldwide-known tzadik that travels the world to bless people. He was flown in from Malta specifically for the occasion.” Written and blessed, the sefer Torah will be stored in the Costa Hollywood synagogue.


Certainly, the existence of a sefer Torah makes the synagogue of Costa Hollywood a worthy destination for observant Jews searching for a place to stay, whether it’s for an event, a vacation or simple necessity. But for locals, it’s an additional boom, as are the kosher dining facilities—especially if you’re looking for bar-mitzvah or wedding facilities. Now there’s an opportunity to do the ceremony, reception and house out-of-town guests all in one place. If you don’t find that a cause for rejoicing, then you haven’t had the dubious joy of planning such a milestone yet.

After evaluating this project and having spoken to the developers to understand their vision, we definitely recommend you take a close look at the Jewish-friendly Costa Hollywood if you are in the market for Florida property.