Miami Beach Travel Guide
Sorry we're so late in giving the eagerly anticipated recap of The Catalina, the new reality show on the CW that follows the partying staffers of The Catalina Hotel in Miami Beach, but we had some technical difficulties. (Thank God the CW lets you watch full episodes online here.)
For starters, we're going to say the show is pretty much what we expected--crazy, wild hotel staffers doing crazy and wild things while on the job. The hotel owner, Nathan Lieberman, has marketed his hotel as The Party Hotel and he is not afraid to show that off. In fact, he's trying to hype it up even more (hence the show.)
His statuesque and slightly plastic general manager, Stephanie, is supposedly the one who "enables" the guests' partying and there are plenty of shots of her going around talking to guests. (Lieberman brags that she also has "A+ cleavage.")
But as with all reality shows, we're sure the staff is turning up the charm for guests because they are on camera. Like, are Nancy and Dede, the pool service waitress and bartender, really going to take time out from their day to have girl talk with guests lounging by the pool? Hmmm...
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Hersha Hospitality, the folks responsible for bringing Hyatt 48Lex and Hyatt Union Square to New York City, have just acquired a new property in Miami Beach--the Courtyard by Marriott Miami Beach Oceanfront. Hersha paid $95 million for the 263-room hotel and its adjacent beachfront which in its former life was known as the art deco hotel, Cadillac Hotel.
The full details of the purchase are here but Hersha does plan on building an additional 93-room all-suite oceanfront tower as well as more meeting space and a parking structure. The construction is expected begin next year and will finish in 2013.
All these fancy new upgrades have us wondering if Hersha will ditch the Courtyard by Marriott brand in favor of a Hyatt Hotel.
Travel writer Michael de Zayas is in Miami on an assignment--30 Miami hotels in 30 Miami nights. You will be able to find his detailed travel musings in Miami and Miami Beach books later this year. HotelChatter asked Michael to let us know his minute-by-minute thoughts on the Miami hotel scene during his guide book mission, which he will be doing over the next two weeks. During the fortnight, Michael will share with us every bed, maid, drink, pool, henhouse and outhouse that comprise the Grove, Gables, Sunny Isles, North Beach, South Beach and the Key Biscayne hotel scene in 2007. If you wish to ask him a question during his jaunt, shoot it our way.
Miami Beach changed forever when the Fontainebleau opened in 1954. It may change as drastically when the hotel re-opens in 2008.
A part of the hotel - the 2005 Fontainebleau Tower -- is open for guests, and I stayed there last night to get a peek at what was going on.
And what I found was a $500 million renovation and construction project. The hotel was recently bought for $500 million, making the hotel, at $1 billion, quite likely the largest hotel project in South Florida history. When it opens it will be the city's largest hotel with over 1,500 rooms - two times the size of its nearest competitor, the Loews Miami Beach.
More on the Fontainebleau after the jump.
NY Post's Page Six is reporting that "Lost in Translation" director Sofia Coppola displayed very bad social behavior as she was raiding the goodie bags handed out at the Raleigh Hotel in South Beach this past weekend during a Swarovski party.
When dinner finished and all the guests had left, Sofia and a friend came in and started rummaging among the remnants for some of the Swarovski crystal earrings that had been set out for the guests, says our man. But they came away empty-handed.
And we thought she had mad respect for hotels...sheesh.