miami Travel Guide
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:
Development news from 3201 Collins Avenue, Miami keeps catching us off-guard. Back in January 2012, there was this bait and switch where the development sneakily went from Cipriani Miami to a new Faena project. Now we hear that they've been keeping a star design duo under their belts: Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin.
The husband-and-wife movie director and costume/set designer duo will be collaborating on the design for the 168-suite hotel; handling the interiors, uniforms, and 'cultural programming' for the what was originally called the Saxony Hotel, which is just one part of Faena's huge Miami development project.
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.