Darran Franks and Nicka Atkins

They are two of the most passionate, creative Gold Coasters you’ll ever meet and, with their powers combined, they opened everyone’s favourite bright pink co-working and event space, Hotel Miami earlier this year.

Meet Nicka Atkins and Darran Franks. We sat down for a chat with the good-time loving (and also super professional) pair about meeting at a silent meditation commune and the big plans they have for connecting the Gold Coast community.

How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
Darran 20 years and Nicka 32 years

What do you love most about our city?
The opportunity!!! We are a city on the cusp of greatness and people are moving to the area in droves. There is abundant opportunity for business as long as you are dedicated and good at what you do.

Tell us how you two met…
Nicka “I met Darran on a Vispassina silent retreat at the Barjuan commune in India. Our eyes met over a hot vegetarian dahl and we knew it was a perfect business partner match.”
Darran “We met at my cousins wedding.”

How did Hotel Miami come about?
Darran and myself had both relocated home from different cities and wanted to create a workspace that felt more in line with a big city feel – an artistic hub where we could shoot/edit/paint and collab on all of our fun projects. We found the location and realized it was perfect. The support for Hotel Miami has been so amazing especially with all the young and up and coming artists.

Why do you think co-working spaces are the go these days…
I think more and more people are working for themselves and becoming entrepreneurs of sorts. The Gold Coast has so many people out there working on a side hustle or new idea. The co-working model works because people like to feel inspired by others at work. Anyone who has worked from home knows it’s handy for a while but nothing beats having others around to bounce ideas off and just to generally have a laugh with. Our little community here have a bunch of laughs and really get things done. There has already been other business formed out of Hotel Miami, which is awesome!

You host events and art shows too, tell us what you’re aiming to create for the local community?
We do. It’s called First Friday’s. On the first Friday of every month we host a local Gold Coast artist to showcase their work. We always make it FREE for the artist and we don’t take any commissions. This has been a huge part of what Darran, Jessie and I consider our success in this business. We feel very fortunate to be in a position where we can help promote homegrown creative talent on the GC. The truth is, there are tonnes of brilliant artists on the Gold Coast, young and old. We would love to see more and more people host art shows and get our towns’ name out there as a culturally forward and supportive community. I could go on and on about this subject but seriously seeing all the awesome people come to our studio and buy art off the walls is a truly epic experience.

How have you seen the Coast’s art and culture scene change over the years?
The Coasts’ art and culture scene has exploded. The people want good dining, music and artistic experiences and there’s a bunch of amazing people in the community making that happen. I’m not going to lie, introducing new and exciting businesses isn’t always easy because there’s no framework to go off when making these spaces however we have experienced very positive feedback from our city leaders and we are very excited at what the Gold Coast is becoming. I can’t wait to see what the GC will have to offer in another five years!

What else do you think we need?
A late night eating scene. A central independent live music venue, more buskers, more forward thinkers, a modern art gallery, more relaxed food truck laws, more spots to enjoy food and drinks on the beachfront that aren’t surf clubs.

What’s on for the rest of 2018 for you both?
We are gonna keep on fighting the good fight and developing our brand here at Hotel Miami. We love the Gold Coast and we love the creative community. Come join us!

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Bar: Cambus Wallace and Granddad Jacks
Beach: North Burleigh
Café: Stones Throw, Burleigh Social
Restaurant: The Scottish Prince, Mr Hizolas
How does your weekend usually look: Nicka: Up early with my new baby boy Abe, we go and do a surf check, talk mum into letting me go surfing and then usually hanging at the Hotel cleaning up and preparing for the next week of mayhem.

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