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Chef Richard Smith to bring island flavors to new Keys hotel 

KEY LARGO, FL – August 18, 2015 – Playa Largo Resort & Spa, the newest addition to Marriott International’s Autograph Collection, is proud to announce the appointment of Richard Smith as Executive Chef for the resort, set to open in December 2015.

In his new role, Smith will oversee all culinary staff, create inventive, locally inspired menus and ensure consistently high-quality food and beverage standards throughout the resort’s four restaurants. Taking notes from his Caribbean parents, this Jamaican-born chef brings an extensive culinary background with a dash of island flair to the new hotel.

A graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Miami, Chef Smith aspires to turn everyday foods into works of art and prefers to use local ingredients whenever possible.  Chef Smith will source his produce from Florida’s Homestead and Islamorada areas to ensure Playa Largo Resort & Spa offers an authentic farm-to-table cuisine.

Before joining the executive team at Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Chef Smith served as the executive chef at Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada. He also held culinary positions at the Ritz Carlton in South Beach and in Orlando, Seasons 52, Orlando’s Eleven, and Disney’s Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian. Bringing personality along with a natural flair for flavors, Chef Smith has appeared on FOX Orlando, The Cooking Channel’s Emeril’s Florida, and on NBC Sports’ Bass 2 Billfish cooking demo.

Shakir Hussain, Playa Largo Resort & Spa’s General Manager, is excited to welcome Chef Smith to the executive team, saying “Richard brings a distinct set of skills and hands-on experience that will not only differentiate our restaurants and catering offerings, but also add an exciting new upscale dimension to the Florida Keys’ culinary experience.”

Playa Largo Resort & Spa is the first new resort built on Key Largo in more than 20 years. The extensive project, which will offer a new level of luxury accommodations in Key Largo, is the brainchild of Prime Hospitality Group (PHG), a recognized developer in Florida, and Shaner Hotels, one of the foremost owner-operator companies in the hospitality industry.

About Playa Largo Resort & Spa

Playa Largo Resort & Spa, a new addition to Marriott's Autograph Collection, is set to open on Key Largo, Florida in the winter of 2015. Perfectly situated on 14.5 secluded beachfront acres with sweeping views of Florida Bay, the resort will feature 144 luxury rooms and suites, 10 private bungalows and a three-bedroom beach house with private pool. Developed by Prime Hospitality Group (PHG) and Shaner Hotels, Playa Largo marks the first full-service resort to be built on Key Largo in 20 years. To obtain more information, call 305.853.1001 or visit Connect with Playa Largo’s official Facebook fan page by visiting and follow on Twitter @PlayaLargo.

Contact: Sasha Hlozek / 305-854-3544

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