Miami Beach Travel Guide
We've already given you 5 hotels to put on your radar when planning a trip to Miami Beach this winter but we don't call it Miami Hotel Mambo for nothing. Hotels be opening left and right in this
loca caliente city. And here's another one.
The Gale Suites at Kaskades is an extension of the extremely popular Gale Hotel South Beach on Collins Avenue. The Gale Suites won't actually be adjacent to The Gale but they will be close by, located in a building behind The Gale on 17th Street. (The hotel says its only 10 steps away.)
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After what feels like years of waiting, you can now officially book a room for November 10 at the Edition Miami Beach. And if you use corporate/promotional code ISS, you can stay on opening night for $250 a night, compared to the regular rate of $430 a night.
There is a $25 resort fee, per day, that includes beach chair service, beach towels, Internet access, bike rental and "more." A resort fee is never fun but it is actually very common for South Beach hotels
Nevertheless, after we fell head over heels in love with Edition London, we've been anxiously awaiting its Miami Beach sister. The 294-room hotel from hotelier Ian Schrager and Marriott Hotels was designed by architects George Yabu and Glenn Pushelber, along with landscape designer Madison Cox. While the guest rooms will be luxurious in an understated, frill-free way, the rest of the resort will be very turnt up.
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We thought yesterday's story about the resort that wants you to take the honeymoon suite home with you was pretty insane, but the W South Beach has come up with the most ridiculuxe hotel wedding extravaganza that we have ever heard of--The Million Dollar Wedding Package.
Before we go any further, allow us to answer the question that's just about to come rushing out of your mouths--Yes, the wedding costs a million dollars. Actually, according to the hotel rep, it's a little over a million dollars. Alright, now with that out of the way, here's what a million dollar W Hotel wedding includes and how much each items costs. Emphasis is ours but if we had our way, we'd really just bold the whole darn package, all the way to the bottom.
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We don't call it Miami Hotel Mambo for nothing.
Today, we discovered that the beachfront party spot that is The Shore Club will move into a condotel operation. Yup, the dreaded condotels, once all the rage in the pre-recession era, are back. GROAN.
The Real Deal reports that the hotel's new owners, HFZ Capital Group, who acquired the property late last year, are splitting the hotel into 85 luxury residences and 100 hotel rooms. Currently, the historic hotel has 309 hotel rooms.
Word is the residences will start to go up for sale in early December, just when all the moneyed art collectors arrive in town for Art Basel. However, if you're keen to reserve a spot, limited reservations will open next month.
What's crazier than someone attempting the condotel operation again is the fact that neither HFZ Capital nor their sales agents, Douglas Elliman, have released any info on how these luxury residences are to come about. There are no renderings, no construction plans, no nada. But whenever this "transformation" happens, just know that the Shore Club will never again be the same. Fingers crossed, the condotel thing works out for them.
[Photo: Shore Club/Facebook]
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We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
The weather is getting cooler but the hotel scene in Miami is getting hotter. We already told you about five new hotels to look for this winter but here's one you can check out as soon as next week--The Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach.
We first heard about The Shelborne closing for much-neededrenovations back in May 2013. A HotelChatter contributor had stayed at the property only months before and had this to say about the rooms:
The Shelborne's suite had last been furnished in the early 1990s, the dining chairs were broken, the mattress was so old you could feel the springs, the tables were scratched and water-damaged, the art was like that of a greasy strip mall generic Asian restaurant, the floors felt so dusty we were relieved to have brought slippers from our last hotel, and the power outlet actually shocked us as we tried to plug in our phone charger. Firetrap much?
Above is how the hotel rooms used to look. Keep reading to see the transformation!
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Miami and Las Vegas have become sister cities of a sort. Both are well-known for their robust hotel scenes, their penchant for partying, their "less is more" credo when it comes to clothing and their general love of excess.
More recently, we've been seeing an influx of South Beach in Sin City, thanks to the opening of the SLS Las Vegas and the Delano Las Vegas. But now, Vegas is sending off something to Miami--Michael Mina's StripSteak restaurant.
Stripsteak can be found in Vegas at Mandalay Bay, where the Delano Las Vegas also lives, but Mina plans on spinning off StripSteak Miami at The Fontainebleau sometime this fall. Mina already operates the Michael Mina 74 restaurant at the resort so he's already familiar with the property. StripSteak will replace Gotham Steak restaurant. We'll keep you updated on the opening date. In the meantime, peruse the StripSteak Vegas menu for a hint of what's to come. We'll take the 10oz filet mignon, the truffle mac n' cheese and one, make that two, orders of the potato gratin please.
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Just as we suspected, Ritz-Carlton Hotels is taking over the 124 rooms and suites at the luxury resort, One Bal Harbour in October and here's official proof that the takeover is happening: Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour website is up with a note that reservations will be accepted starting October 2.
Maybe there is something in the water at this hotel. The property first opened in 2008 as a Regent Hotel.
So far, it looks like nothing will change, at least not superficially. Mister Collins, the all-day dining restaurant, will remain open as will the spa. Guestrooms start at 510-sq.ft. and most have full or partial ocean views. One and two-bedrooom suites are also available, starting at 1,657-sq.ft. with private terraces and full kitchens. Ritz will, however, bring in both their Ritz kids and Ritz pets programs.
We weren't able to make a reservation yet on the Ritz site but rooms were still available on the One Bal Harbour site for $549 a night on October 2. There was no mention of the Ritz switch so we'd be careful about making a reservation right now.
Miami has been getting new hotels on a regular basis for a few years now but in the next six months (give or take a few weeks), 5 important hotels will open in South Beach. Here's who they are and what they are all about:
The Thompson Miami Beach: The long-awaited, official, outpost of the Thompson Hotels brand will open on November 14 at 4041 Collins Avenue with 380 rooms. Rates start at $389 a night for a special "Preview" offer which includes $100 food and beverage credit to use at the Michelle Bernstein restaurant on site called Seagrape. There is a $25 resort fee per night which includes WiFi, two chaise lounge beach chairs, access of fitness center and fitness classes and a daily newspaper.
The Edition South Beach: The first stateside edition of Edition Hotels will open in November at 2901 Collins Avenue with 294 rooms. Despite the November opening. the hotel is only accepting website reservations for December 1. Rates on that date start at $429 a night. That will include free WiFi but there's also a $25 resort fee which includes beach chair service, beach towels, bike rental and "more."
Obviously, an older photo
Nautilus Sixty South Beach: Interestingly, the original founders behind Thompson Hotels--Jason Pomeranc and Stephen Brandman--will be readying their own hotel at 1825 Collins Avenue under their newly formed Sixty Hotels brand. There is no concrete opening date other than "Fall 2014" but our insiders say the 250-room hotel will open this year. We don't have a price point but expect it to be similar to the Thompson, with a resort fee as well which is sadly, common for South Beach. [Update: A rep for the hotel said the opening will happen in Winter 2015.]
The other day we were tipped off to a rumor that Ritz-Carlton Hotels would be taking over the swank One Bal Harbour Resort & Spa in Miami on October 1. (The hotel is currently a part of the Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels portfolio. Previously, it was a Regent Hotel.)
Before you get your La Perla and/or Hugo Boss undergarments in a bunch, nothing has been confirmed. Indeed, when you make a reservation on One Bal Harbour's website for next month, there is no mention of the RC takeover. Similarly, Marriott's Find a Hotel search function has no Ritz-Carltons listed in Bal Harbour. And combing random pages on the internet is also turning up nothing. But usually when we hear a whisper on the hotel grapevine, it turns out to be
a done deal true. Now, we'll just have to wait and see.
Currently, One Bal Harbour charges no resort fee. Meanwhile, Ritz-Carlton South Beach is going to start charging a $25 fee on October 1.
[Photo: One Bal Harbour/Facebook]
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While we're on the topic of hotel fees, we've just learned that the Ritz-Carlton South Beach will start charging a $25 resort fee, per night on October 1. Here's what will be included with that extra $25 + tax a night.
· Complimentary 5mb wireless Internet access for up to 5 devices in guest rooms, lobby and most common areas.
· Beach chairs and umbrellas
· Beach Activities including boogie boards, skim boards, beach paddle tennis, bocce ball and corn hole court
· One hour daily fitness class
· 24-hour access to fitness center
· Use of hotel bicycles
· Unlimited local calls
· Bottled water in guest rooms
· Access to daily tour of the hotel’s art collection
Well, at least it includes internet on multiple devices.
Resort fees in South Beach are actually quite common. We stumbled across one at The Surfcomber, a Kimpton Hotel, last fall. For $20 a night, you get morning coffee, two beach chairs, poolside amenities like sunscreen and flavor-infused water and a $10 F&B credit.
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Located at 4041 Collins Avenue in a former condo building, the newest Thompson Hotel will have 380 hotel rooms featuring "beach-inspired accommodations and mid-century, international resort style." Designer Martin Brudnizki has been working on the design which will (of course) preserve the building's Art Deco flair and 1950s architecture.
And as we mentioned back in May, the Thompson will also have two pools, a small spa, three bars , including a speakeasy in a bungalow, and a 267-seat "classic brasserie" from James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef and Miami native Michelle Bernstein.
Room rates for November 14 are rather reasonable starting at $314 for an advanced purchase rate (no refunds) and $339 for a regular rate. That would be for a deluxe king room with custom-made 400 thread count SFERRA linens, rain showers in the bathroom, oversized Frette terrycloth robes, a 42” flat screen television with movie library, a gourmet mini-bar and a 24-hour in-room dining service.
Below is a snapshot of a model room, as posted on the hotel's website....
The latest Starwood hotel to hit Miami won't open until March 19, 2015 and judging by the pictures, we're even a little skeptical of that date. Yet it is interesting to see how Aloft is updating the old Motel Arkana, keeping much of the motel's existing structure but also adding another tower adjacent to the lot. (See the rendering on the Aloft Miami Beach website to get a better idea of how it will look.)