Miami Beach Travel Guide
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.)
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A tipster on the ground in Miami Beach snapped these shots for us a few weeks ago and all we can say is WHOA. Like, in a good way. WHOA.
Of course, there still is a lot of work to be done but it is looking rather crazysexycool already. For comparison, here's what the hotel looked like back in February 2012.
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Ladies and Gents, pull out your credit cards. The Miami Beach Edition is now taking reservations.
We got the email alert in our inbox today (although it was announced on Facebook yesterday) and quickly clicked over to the site. There we discovered that while the hotel will "premiere" in November, rooms aren't actually available until January 19, 2015. (UPDATE: We've been told that the hotel is definitely opening in November and that the reservations will get moved up as the opening date gets closer.) For now, rates on that opening Monday in January start at $579 a night for a standard king room. Someone pass us the smelling salts.
Finalmente! The Hilton Cabana Miami Beach has officially opened.
The beachfront property on (way north) Collins Ave was set to open in December but that was quickly pushed off until March. Then we sort of lost track. But now we've got word that it's really open.
The 10-story Art Deco building has 231 guest rooms and suites spread out over Cabana-style buildings, hence the hotel name. Most of the rooms will have balconies from which you can gaze at either the sea or the pool. We dig the orange stripes and the cheeky photograph of two ladies fishing.)
In-room amenities include 42-inch flat-screen TVs, walk-in showers, large work desks, room service from 6am to midnight and complimentary WiFi (well, it's part of the $20 resort fee. ) Also onsite are two pools; the Brasserie L'echon, an all-day dining spot; a lobby bar and both a business and fitness center.
Right now, room rates this weekend start at just $199 a night for a room with two queen beds. Gotta love Miami in the off-season!
[Photo: Hilton Cabana Miami Beach]
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More than two years later, the drama at The Setai in Miami Beach has ended. And in favor of the hotel operator, GHM, who was kicked out, literally, in the middle of the night, by the hotel's owners, Lehman Brothers.
Last week, the ICC International Court of Arbitration ruled "that all previous allegations of mismanagement were baseless and have awarded damages to GHM for improper termination of GHM’s hotel management agreement." It seemed that the hotel's impressive RevPAR rate of 76 percent was a key factor in the decision against Lehman. Lehman Brothers now have 30 days to make the compensation to GHM. The Miami Herald reports the damages exceed $10 million. There are also more tort claims against Lehman that are still pending in state and federal court.
However, GHM will not return to the property as manager. Trevi Luxury Hospitality Group., which has managed the hotel since the shakedown, still remains in place. Room rates for this weekend for a studio suite (the starting room category) start at $530 a night but there's a AAA discounted rate and a Florida resident rate available for $488.
[Photo: The Setai]
It's been scientifically proven that your sense of smell can trigger old memories which is why for us, the smell of Aussie Sprunch Spray will forever take us back to a sweltering New Jersey summer in the early 90s when we religiously relied on the spray to keep our 'do intact. Seriously, one spray will have practically have us turning up Wilson Phillips on the stereo while we search for our crispest Vuarnet t-shirt and our rolled up jean shorts.
But this powerful link between smell and memory is also why hotels love pumping their own special scents into their hotels and subsequently, packaging that smell for you to buy. After all, what better way to remember your hotel stay by taking home the smell of it?
Now, while most hotels offer a candle made with their special lobby scent, the Ritz-Carlton South Beach is taking a different tact by making a Mango Guava scented candle that specifically reminds you of the hotel spa's new Taste of the Tropics treatment. Of course, you have to book the treatment to get the candle.
The Miami hotel scene shows absolutely no signs of slowing down and now there's another big name in boutique to add into the mix--Thompson Miami Beach.
Thompson, under its former owners, tried to make the Hotel Victor their original Miami hotspot but the brand's new owners, Commune Hotels and Resorts decided to attach themselves to a different project.
Located at 4041 Collins Avenue in a former cone building, close-ish to the raging hotspot that is the Fontainbleau, the Thompson Hotel will have 380 hotel rooms featuring "beach-inspired accommodations and mid-century, international resort style." Designer Martin Brudnizki is in charge of the design which will (of course) preserve the building's Art Deco flair and 1950s architecture.
The Thompson will also have two pools, a small spa, three bars and a 267-seat "classic brasserie" from James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef and Miami native Michelle Bernstein.
We may be heading into the off-season in Miami Beach, but there's no slowing down the hotel scene.
The Vintro Hotel & Kitchen, a 50-room luxury boutique hotel, is set to open in July in the Collins Park neighborhood (a few blocks inland from W South Beach.) Formerly the Lido Park Hotel, The Vintro has kept the Art Deco facade (originally designed by architect Harry O'Nelson) yet the interiors were entirely stripped and renovated by Guillermo de Yavorsky, an architect based in St. Barth.
Billing itself as an "adult playground", the hotel will feature a bar, restaurant, and a roof deck with a plunge pool. Rooms are tight but well-designed featuring artwork from emerging artists and luxe amenities like in-room Nespresso machines, 46" flat-screen TVs and FREE WIFI. However, we must warn you: the bathrooms are SERIOUSLY peek-a-boo. You will have a prime view of the shower from the bed. Like, no curtain or nothing. Which is pretty perfect for a sexy getaway with your lovah, but please do not share this room with a coworker.
As for the kitchen, Chef Giorgios Nikolas Bakatsias, developed a concept and menu for the 67 seat Vintro Kitchen restaurant. The menu will focus on seasonal and local ingredients from Miami with a selection of wines "made by farmers not factories." And of course, this is Miami so there will be a robust cocktail selection as well.
While the hotel's old website is still saying March 2014, the hotel should open in July. We'll keep you posted on the exact date but room rates will start at around $249 a night.
[Photos: Vintro Hotel & Kitchen/Facebook]
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Sixty Hotels, the lifestyle hotel group that consists of four former Thompson Hotels, is adding to its collection with The Nautilus Hotel in Miami Beach, an iconic property originally designed by architect Morris Lapidus in the 1950s.
In recent years, the oceanfront hotel at 1825 Collins Avenue, went by the name, Continental South Beach, and offered a rather sub-par South Beach experience. But now Sixty Hotels will renovate the property from top to bottom, to transform it into a "luxury beach house" with both an international and residential feel.
"South Beach is a natural fit for our clientele, who appreciate a great night out just as much as the rich sense of architectural history the hotel and its surroundings offer," said Jason Pomeranc in a statement.
The hotel will have 251 rooms with 29 suites and two signature penthouses with ocean views and a private garden terrace. All guest rooms will have a "soothing" color palette, along with SFERRA linens, gourmet mini-bars and amenities by REN, a skincare line that's hard to find in American hotels.
There's no photos or renderings of the property available yet, aside from these old nostalgic snapshots, but here's how Sixty describes: the decor and design (from Caroline Giraud-Sukornyk of CG Design and Miami-based architecture firm, Arquitectonica.)
Upon entering, guests will be immediately met with an unpretentious beach vibe with nautical accents and tufted grey linen sofas that and metallic orange leather chairs at the concierge desk brighten the space with eye catching pops of color. Furthering the beach home feel that the property brings as its design inspiration is the use of materials throughout the lobby area such as grey concrete, glove leather, various stones and linen chairs and sofas, reminiscent of those found in global beachfront estates. Timeless and sophisticated, the Nautilus South Beach will combine subtle design with attentive service.
According to the Miami Herald's gossip columnist, Lesley Abravanel, Prince Harry, fresh off a break-up, and his buddies were at the LIV nightclub at The Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach last night. Abravanel writes:
Harry kept his plaid shirt on and danced in the comforts of his own skybox. As for pictures of this controlled debauchery, no such luck. Neither pictures nor DJ shout outs were allowed as "per his security detail." Staffers were sworn to secrecy or else it was off with their heads--and their jobs. "I wouldn't have known he was there if it wasn't for you," said one LIV employee.
What we want to know is, did Harry spend the night?? We're guessing probably not because this is Miami and there are many mansions for a Prince to
playhide the ginger sausage in.
But what's also interesting is that Abravanel reports Harry is on his way to Memphis for the wedding of his friend Guy Pelly to Elizabeth Wilson, granddaughter of the founder of Holiday Inn chain of motels and hotels, Kemmons Wilson.
Of course, there are several Holiday Inns in Memphis but even though Prince Harry has stayed in a Courtyard by Marriott before, we hope the Wilson family has something more luxurious in mind for him.
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What you're looking at is nearly two thousand pounds of chocolate. Ok, 1,700 pounds to be exact. But that's how much chocolate was used for the new "Easter Wonderland" display at the Four Seasons Miami.
Created by the hotel's new pastry chef, Keith Wallace, the display is meant to capture both the playful and colorful scenes of "Alice in Wonderland" and the playful and colorful side of Miami. Aside from the massive amounts of chocolate, the display and its 30 chocolate eggs, along with some chocolate mushrooms, took 20 hours to build.
Wallace and his team will have even more chocolates and other desserts on display at the hotel's Easter Brunch, happening on Sunday at the Edge Restaurant from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $99 for adults and $25 for children ages 5-12. Make your reservation by calling (305) 381-3190 or book online at www.edgerestaurantmiami.com.
[Photo: The Four Seasons Miami]
The Freehand Miami won over HotelChatter contributor JetSetCD last year with their "funky fresh" hostel rooms and amenities, all at a very reasonable rate ($21 a night for a shared bunk room when JetSetCD was there) And it looks like other folks have been equally impressed because the Freehand just expanded its property.
The hostel acquired the building next door and has opened it up as the "Guest House" with nine Private King Rooms, five King Suites (a new room type) and one private Bungalow which can sleep four.
The Guest House is accessible through the existing Freehand courtyard so the lobby, the Broken Shaker bar and the pool aren't very far away at all. It's also across from the building that will house the Freehand's restaurant, which still hasn't opened but we're hearing it should debut later this year.
Rooms in the Guest House start this weekend at $60 for a dorm room and $224 for a private king room.
[Top Photo: Freehand Miami; Gallery Photos: Cynthia Drescher for HotelChatter]