Miami Travel Guide
South Florida is not short on golf resorts with championship golf courses, but only the Trump National Doral outside of Miami has bragging rights to the new Jack Nicklaus Villas, a collection of 172 guest rooms and suites with views of the resort's famed "Blue Monster" golf course which Nicklaus frequently played, and won.
The villas, a part of the $250 million renovation Trump has done on the property, were designed by architects WATG with interiors by Ivanka Trump who went with her usual elegant palette of ivory and champagne with a bit of caramel mixed in. Mahogany wood and gold leaf Spanish revival details were also added and each room features photos and mementos of Nicklaus' career.
In short, it feels more like a Trump Hotel than a themed-golf suite and that's a good thing. If you've had a bad back nine, the last thing you want to see when you get back is more reminders of your crappy play.
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These beach chairs won't be empty for long.
It is officially high season in Miami, not just for visitors but for new hotels.
We are only weeks away from the start of several major hotels opening in Miami such as 1 Hotels (now opening March 13), Element Miami Doral (March 5), Aloft South Beach (which has been delayed until April 16), AC Hotels by Marriott (April), Hyatt South Beach, the Washington Park Hotel and Nautilus, a Sixty Hotel.
But there are even more hotels coming to Miami (in fact, Miami has the 4th highest number of hotel rooms under construction, according to the a recent occupancy report.) We've heard that a Generators Hotel/Hostel concept will be announced soon in Miami.
Meanwhile, an NY-based developer, Sonny Bazbaz, who had a hand in developing The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, is hoping to open a mixed-used project in the Wynwood Arts District that will have 79 hotel rooms.
We've long been a fan of Kimpton Hotels' Forgot it? We've got it!" amenity program, which sends up, on request, any toiletries that guests may have forgotten to pack from contact lens solution to straightening irons. But now at The EPIC Hotel in Miami, the amenity program extends to Halloween costumes.
That's right, if you've forgotten to pack your sexy ladybug costume, or just decided on a whim to go trick or treating, the EPIC Hotel can lend you a costume to wear for the night.
We inquired about the Halloween costume choices and they include the following:
· Clown make up
· Clown noses
· Rainbow bow tie
· Child & adult cat costume
· Bunny ears
· Various mustaches
· Venetian masks
And if you stay at the hotel on Halloween, you can indulge in special pumpkin oil aroma therapies and massages from the hotel's Exhale Spa during the hotel's complimentary wine hour. A Halloween candy buffet will also be on display. Over at the hotel's bars and lounges--LILT, Area31 and a the rooftop pool deck, speciality Halloween cocktails will be served too.
Rooms at the EPIC start at $249 a night.
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Seeking to tap into the ever-growing Latin American market in South Florida, Chile’s Atton Hotels has announced that it will build its first U.S. property, a $65 million project to be named the Atton Brickell Hotel, in Miami. Scheduled to open in 2016, Atton says it will instantly become the chain’s flagship hotel due to Miami’s ties to Latin America and its growing international business community.
The property will be the company’s fifth overall and will be located in the Brickell Financial District of downtown Miami. It will be 12 stories high and have 275 rooms, offering free buffet breakfast, an outdoor pool, and on-site restaurant and bar concepts (specifics have yet to be announced).
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When we told you what to expect at the SLS Las Vegas last week, we mentioned the three different room towers at the property--World, Story and Lux. Well, now it turns out SLS LUX isn't just a room tower in Vegas but a new brand within a brand from SLS Hotels.
SLS LUX will be an all-suite and residential experience for guests with upgraded amenities and personalized VIP services. The first SLS LUX will obviously open in Vegas over Labor Day Weekend but SLS is also planning another SLS LUX in Miami (pictured above) in 2016 to complement the upcoming SLS Brickell Hotel & Residences, which will open next year.
This new LUX will have 450 residences, 85 luxury suites, a tennis and fitness center, rooftop pool, wine cellar, cigar room and two restaurants, Katsuya and SBar. Yabu Pushelberg will do the interiors while works from Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero will adorn the entrance. So in case you were ever disappointed with the basic-ness of an SLS room, the LUX room should have whatever you're looking for. We hope.
SLS says additional LUX locations are already in development in the U.S. Meanwhile, SLS Park Avenue won't be opening this year but in 2015 instead.
[Rendering: SLS LUX]
The 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off on June 12 and while the extreme football fans will head to Brazil to watch the matches, the majority of fans will settle for catching a couple of games in their local pub or bar. (That's what we plan on doing.) But these Miami-area hotels want you to watch the matches with them instead. Miami--it's kinda like Brazil!
The new b2 miami downtown has put together a b2 is for Brazil! package that gives 25 percent off the best available rate, 15 percent off food and drinks at Biscayne Tavern, the hotel's gastropub concept from Jeffrey Chodorow of China Grill Management; two signature cocktails at the tavern and a World Cup special edition souvenir. The package is available to book online from June 1 to June 15 with rates starting at just $99 a night. (Gotta love Miami in the off season.) Use promo code Brazil to book.
In Miami Beach proper, The W South Beach is offering a Timeout Getaway which includes a two-night stay; an in-room “Create-Your-Own Caipirinha Kit” amenity; special Brazilian themed dishes at the W's The Dutch restaurant; two signature cocktails daily, inspired by the countries of the competing teams in The World Cup and the ability to watch World Cup games from the guest rooms, the Living room and in select poolside private cabanas (those cost extra.) The packages starts at $489 a night and is available from June 12-July 13. Call 1.877.822.0000 to book but you must have seven days advance notice.
Further north in Ft. Lauderdale, the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa has created the "Kick It, Kick Back and Relax” deal that gives guests 20 percent off lowest available rates if you book three nights or more. The hotel will be showing the games on a flat-screen TV at their beachfront bar. Rates start at $207 a night, based on double occupancy. Book by June 5 for travel from June 2 to July 31. Go here to book and use promo code ADR.
A year ago, we learned the excellent news that Swire Hotels' East Hotels brand would be opening in Miami. Today, we've now got a look at what the hotel will look like thanks to the South Florida Business Journal.
The 263-room hotel will open in Fall 2015 in the Brickell City Centre Project, a mixed-used development in Miami's Brickell neighborhood. Designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica, (who are also doing the Hyde Hotel in Midtown Miami), the East Miami will have two restaurants, a poolside bar and lounge, a rooftop bar, fitness center, and a banquet hall along with 89 serviced apartments known as East Residences.
Sadly, there aren't any room photos but if the hotel looks anything like the East Hotel in Hong Kong, we'll be very happy.
[Rendering via SoFla Biz Journal]
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Despite nearly everyone hating on Justin Bieber these days, the kid is still shacking up in expensive luxury hotels and bringing all his faux-thug drama with him.
Take a look at this photo which made the rounds on the internet over the weekend. This sums up in one picture why you don't want to ever be staying at the same hotel as Bieber (He's in the red backwards hat.) Making it even worse, we discovered the hotel to be the Mandarin Oriental in Miami, one of our favorite hotels there.
Judging from the balcony dividers, Bieber and his crew were clearly in a suite near the top of the hotel. The largest suite at the MO Miami is the Oriental Suite which has over 2,000-sq.ft. of space and a balcony that runs the entire length of the suite. This is probably where Bieber was kicking it. But still, it can only sleeps three people with just one master bedroom and a living room. Let's hope all those people on the balcony had rooms of their own.
In good news for Bieber, the suite does come with complimentary car service to and from the airport, so at least he won't have to drive while high in Miami again.
[Photos: Daily Mail and HotelChatter]
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While we were still sobbing into our colorful patterned knitwear over the apparent death of the Missoni hotel brand, came news of another fashion house getting onto the designer hotel bandwagon. Our brief flicker of excitement was extinguished somewhat, however, when we found out it's Tommy Hilfiger.
Actually, the king of prep has been sniffing around the hotel industry for quite a while, though nothing has as yet come out of his hotel opening plans. He even tried to buy the former MetLife clocktower at 5 Madison Avenue (future site of the New York City Edition Hotel) a few years back, but that didn't work out for him.
For travelers that like to arrive in style, raise your glass to the new MO Bar + Lounge, now open inside Mandarin Oriental in Miami. (And by arrive in style, we mean you would not make an entrance with sandy sandals -- it was SOBEWFF weekend!--like we did.)
We stopped by five-star hotel during the daytime (before the bar’s official opening) and found guests in resort wear and collared shirts that matched the “relaxed, yet polished” surroundings of MO Bar + Lounge.
Located just down the hall of the hotel’s main entrance, the lounge is partitioned off by tall wooden sticks, with a 14-seat bar in the center, and surrounded by comfy velvet chairs that are easy to sink into after a couple cocktails. The MO Bar + Lounge concept will be joined soon by the new restaurant, La Mar by Gaston Acurio which replaces the oldCafe Sambai restaurant.)
There's yet another new hotel in Miami to consider and this one is the most sensible option we've seen yet.
The 122-room Cambria Suites Miami Hotel from Choice Hotels opened today in the city's Blue Lagoon District, just five miles from MIA. Designed to appeal to "lifestyle travelers", the Cambria Suites hotel features large all-suite accommodations with all the tech amenities we've come to expect like flat-screen TVs, free WiFi and MP3 jacks.
There's also a Reflect, contemporary bistro serving a dinner menu of local specialties but Chef Michael De Maria along with liquor, wine and beer. It's where guests can grab some prepared items to take to go as well. Refill is the hotel's "barista bar" serving coffee and a hot breakfast buffet while Refresh serves at the fitness center. There's also an outdoor pool and poolside bar.
You know you scored a hotel room with a killer view if you walk in to find a telescope at the window.
For many hotel guests, scoring such an amenity is pure luck; however, for travelers who know what they want (and it's an in-room telescope), there are a few properties that make such an offering part of the experience.
Three hotels with in-room telescopes: