Miami Travel Guide
Hotel Happenings / Hotel Art / Miami Beach Hotels / Hotel Concierges / Art Basel Hotels / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / → All Tags
Art Basel, one of the top art shows in all the world bringing international modern masters and emerging talent together, is now on in one of the hottest cool capitals in the world, Miami. And of course, the city's vibrant hotel scene is getting in on the party. Here's a shortlist of what's happening at which hotels this week. Stay tuned tomorrow when we round-up some last-minute hotel options:
The Gale Hotel believes in starting early with their "Brunch Before You Basel" special featuring a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar. The party can start as early as 10 a.m. by calling 786-975-2550 to make a reservation.
Irish-born, London-based street artist Fin DAC will be making a splash at the Lord Balfour Hotel during Baselpalooza (yep, that's ours). Early last week the artist started working on a mural of a modern-day geisha on the hotel's interior courtyard wall. Visitors can watch art being created and may even get spray painted if they stand too close.
Miami Beach's Hotel Astor is launching the pop-up lounge Drinking Room on December 3. It will be run by the Food Network winner of Chopped, Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli and, aside from such intriguing cocktails as the "Grow a Pear" and small plates including "Carbonara Croquetas," during Art Basel famed chef Janice Wong of Singapore will partner with Rapicavoli to create edible art installations that will hang on the walls. Oooh... gooey. If patrons get involved it could quickly turn into Performance Art. For a reservation, call 305-531-8081. '
Hotel News / Hotel Trends / Boutique Hotels / Ian Schrager / LE Miami / Trade Shows / Luxury Hotels / Design Hotels / Ace Hotels / → All Tags
"Traditional luxury belongs to the past." This is the epiphany that led Serge Dive and Sarah Ball (both of travel media company Beyond Luxury) to launch a trade show that would shake up the luxury travel market. Their vision for LE Miami was that it would be ‘more than just a trade show;’ an annual forum that would "literally define the contemporary travel industry ... your year-round source for the contemporary travel evolution."
The show's inaugural event took place over four days in June. In between the awards, the parties and the meetings, a couple of key events stood out: the "Ministry of Ideas," which featured speakers including Seth Godin and Ian Schrager talking on the theme 'Be Creative, Create', "and the Leadership Lab a conversation between 11 key influencers, including Claus Sendlinger of Design Hotels; Grupo Habita's Carlos Couturier, Priya Paul of Park Hotels and Ace Hotel president Brad Wilson, that discussed the topics bringing about the shift in luxury and the heightened influence of the "creative class. The results were recorded and you can now read the full report here.
We've written a few times about the b2 miami downtownin the Biscayne Boulevard area, but the question still remained--would it be a good place to stay given its location? Well, Angela "Big Ang" Raiola of Mafia Wives and Big Ang fame thought so! She was just there last week filming a scene for her new VH1 reality show airing in September called "Miami Monkey".
Still, in a region that courts both beach crowd and cruise customers, we needed to take a look for ourselves and see who b2 would best benefit.
Indeed, it's decent Downtown digs, but you have to know what you're getting into to make it work.
So, here are the good, the great, and the not-so-great when it comes to this hotel.
If you're a cruise ship passenger and arriving the day before your sailing, the b2 is in a top spot, just across the street from the Port of Miami. In fact, from most rooms you're looking directly out into the Bay and can see mega-liners set up and ready to go. It's super convenient. Also, if you're in town for a Miami Heat game or concert, it's less than a 10 minute walk to the American Airlines arena. There's no official biz center, but we loved the free WiFi and loaner iPads (even if they're only available for one hour if there's a demand for them). Plus one can print remotely to the front desk if you've brought your own laptop.
Now that we know rooftop and terrace season is alive and pippin', we'd be remiss if we didn't address one thing--these booze-fueled outdoor antics can get pricey. It seems the higher the floor the bar's located, the more expensive the drink!
That's why we decided to head south to that delicious city called Miami where you can find a variety of hotspots showcasing happy hours for a song. Some are rooftop situations, others aren't. The point is you can have a good time without breaking the bank.
We urge other hoteliers to figure out a way to emulate these four fantastic bars.
This Biscayne Blvd hotel's Area 51 rooftop terrace has a nightly "Veuve on the Clock" Happy Hour beginning at 5pm with $5 champagne by the glass until 6pm. The flute cost raises by just one dollar until 8pm. There's also a new menu of small bites, grilled fare, and curated cocktails to celebrate summer. To make those bubbles even more fun to sip, there's a DJ mixing for the crowd from Wednesdays through Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Great for the afterwork crowd and those who can't manage to hang until midnight when most Miami clubs get started.
Yesterday we heard the news that Marriott would be importing its European-based AC Hotels by Marriott brand into the U.S. Today, we've got news of another popular international brand now making its way stateside--East Hotels.
East is actually a very small brand within theSwire Hotels portfolio with just two properties--one in Hong Kong, the other in Beijing. We didn't even know the U.S. was an option for future East Hotels but we're glad it's starting.
According to the Miami Herald, the 236-room East, Miami will open inside the mixed-use at Brickell CityCentre complex at South 8th Street and Brickell Avenue. (The property is being developed by Swire Properties, so it makes sense that a Swire Hotels affiliate would operate the hotel portion.) The East, Miami will also have 89 serviced apartments, two restaurants, meeting space and a rooftop bar. And don't forget, free WiFi.
There's no shortage of hotel options in Miami these days but the newly-opened b2 miami downtown, across from the Bayfront Park and less than a 10-minute walk away from the American Airlines Arena, is one hotel that won't break the bank.
All 243 rooms at the b2 miami downtown offer either city or bay views and feature modern furnishings and amenities such as the B-branded Blissful Bed, interactive HD LED TVs with web capabilities, built-in docking stations with USB port and MicroSD cords and Aveda bath amenities. And don't forget the free WiFi!
The b2 hotel is the second hotel from B Hotels and Resorts. The first B Hotel opened two years ago in Fort Lauderdale while The B Hotel Disney World will open this Fall. b2, however, is the more affordable B brand, promising guests all the signature services of a B Hotel like free WiFi, in-room dining, mood-lighting and more but at more affordable prices.
This b2 also features a new eatery from restauranteur Jeffrey Chodorow of China Grill Management called Biscayne Tavern. The spot is now serving up "the next evolution of comfort food" such as grass-fed beef burgers, oyster po-boys, short-rib pot roast and truffle popovers. (Don't fret, vegetarians. The menus has array of salads and pastas too.
We found a Chic City King for tomorrow night with free parking (normally $25) for just $128.15. Un-B-lievable! Perhaps we can trust this B after all.
Somfh. Yup, we are dropping expletives, cuz we're crazy perplexed at this new breed of twentysomethin' Hollywood Brat Packers. They all seem hella intent in being filmed with “suspicious looking cigarettes” in hand. And again, we don't judge their downtime habits, we just get tired of the damage control they feel they need to go through, when they could just say "screw it, this is what I do." Certainly worked for Willie Nelson, Snoop, Woody Harrelson and plenty of other up-front chronic smokers.
Anyhoo, our latest offender/denier would be Blondie-in-training Miley Cyrus, who decided the perfect place to light up a spliff-like cigar, would be the balcony of her Miami hotel.
Now, do celebs smoke outside because they fear a hotel's $200 in-room smoking fee? BTW, that's us being smartasses.
See, they light up these big ‘ole "cigarettes", knowing the papps are watching, then have pictures like these show up...
The Pestana South Beach Art Deco Hotel opened this morning in Miami where the old Hotel Milejan used to be (don't we sound like your grandparents?), becoming the first Portuguese-owned hotel to open in the States. The property offers 97 rooms and suites throughout four historically preserved Art Deco buildings, a retro cafe (see photo below) and a pool bar set on a 1940’s inspired patio with an outdoor pool (see above).
Pestana picked South Beach for the location of its initial US property because of the area's existing reputation and popularity among its current clients in Europe and South America.
“North America is a very attractive and strategic market for the Group Pestana. This is our first investment in this market and Miami is a natural starting point because it is a gateway for Europe and South America where our brand is quite strong,” said José Roquette, Pestana’s development director for the North American market.
The other week, The Aloft Miami Doral opened just east of the Miami International Airport. With rates starting at about $169 the first weekend of April, or $229 if you need a room tonight, the spin-off brand of W Hotels brings a (somewhat) affordable option to the area. It also brings funky design, free WiFi and a pleasant lobby scene for folks tired of the same ho-hum highway and roadside inn options.
But if you're worried this Aloft might be too far away from the South Beach action, don't fret too much. Another Aloft Hotel is opening in Lower Brickell on May 16. This Aloft will look like other Alofts with a w xyz bar, a re:mix lobby lounge, a 24/7 pantry, an outdoor pool and free onsite parking. But it's just steps away from the American Airlines Arena and the Miami Marlins Ballpark. Reservations are not open now, but we're gonna guess room rates will be close to $200-$250 a night.
But if that still isn't good enough for you, again, don't fret. A third Aloft hotel is expected to open by the end of 2014, this time in Miami Beach proper.
...Miami's Epic Hotel!
When this Kimpton hotel does a pool party--they do it up right, as you can see. Last night, this benefit party, called "A Sound for All The Senses" was for a cause--to support The Starkey Hearing Foundation. The DJ of the night was none other than "That Deaf Dj", aka Robbie Wilde. Wilde, who's been playing clubs for more than a decade, has been 90% deaf since age 11. He didn't let his disability detract him from his love of music, and he has soared to, well, epic heights in the DJ world.
Apparently his music not only inspires people to get on the dance floor, but groove in the pool as well.
So we say "Salute!" to Wilde and his wild, funky style! Looking for a place to party this weekend? Check out the Epic!
SLS Hotels are really feeling Miami these days. Almost a year after opening the SLS South Beach and just a few months after snapping up The Raleigh, the boutique hotel chain from sbe and Sam Nazarian has just announced a third hotel for the area--SLS Brickell, an up and coming nabe in downtown. And this one is gonna have residences attached, thanks to a partnership with the Related Group development company.
Ground-breaking is expected to happen soon on the property and will yield 133 hotel rooms and suites, along with 450 SLS-branded condo residences. The spot will open sometime in 2015.
SLS usual design and food partners, Philippe Starck and Chef José Andrés, will also be on board to round out the retail, spa, and food and beverage concepts. In total, SLS Brickell will house over 20,000-sq.ft. of food and beverage outlets, all programmed by Andrés, mixed in with some of sbe's well-known concepts (Katsuya, Hyde) and a few new "experiences."
Singapore-based GHM hotels oversees some pretty cool properties (the elephant-themed Chedi Club outside of Ubud, Bali is a particular favorite), and The Setai has long been considered the brand's flagship. It's a serene, Asian-inspired sanctuary amid the hub-bub of Miami's South Beach. (Side note: Did you know the word "Setai" is actually a made-up combo of the Balinese words for "south" and "beach", or SoBe? It's the Brangelina of hotel names...)
So as fans, it was with some trepidation we took the news that The Setai had left the GHM roster for the management of Dallas-based Trevi Luxury Hospitality Group. (Especially given the way it all went down.) With all the hotel buzz in Miami—including the arrival of instant-hotspot The James—was The Setai looking to pump up the volume? Were DJs going to appear in its mellow courtyard—or worse, would it make like its neighbors and start charging for beach chairs?