miami beach Travel Guide
It may be the off-season in Miami but that doesn't mean the hotel scene is getting quiet. In fact, many hotels in South Beach use the summer to give themselves a makeover. In other cases, it's prime time for construction on new properties.
Which seems to be the case with this newest hotel-in-the-works, which we discovered while wandering in the residential streets between Collins and Washington Avenues recently -- the area across from Collins Park and the Bass Museum.
Like with all historic buildings on Miami Beach, the original facade remains while the jackhammers go to town on the inside. But what exactly is it?
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The other week we strolled by another new hotel coming to Miami Beach--Nautilus, a Sixty Hotel at 18th and Collins Ave, which we last heard was opening on July 6. Well, that date's not going to happen anymore as reservations for the hotel are being pushed back to October 1. Bienvenido a Miami!
On that date, rooms are going for $238.67 for a king superior room which includes a king bed, white marble floors, SFERRA linens, REN bath products (an HC fave), Bluetooth docking station, 48-in. flat screen TV and this badass vintage travel chest which doubles as the mini-bar filled with gourmet goodies and even books on how to make a cocktail. Keep reading to have a closer look at it!
It's been over three years since we first heard about the Lennox Hotel going up in Miami but there isn't much news to report.
We walked by the site of the old Peter Miller Hotel on Collins Avenue across from the luxury spot, The Setai. And work is coming along but it will be a while before this hotel opens its doors, especially since looking down 19th street, you can see all the units that need to be finished. You can head over to Kobi Karp Architects to peep some renderings of what the hotel should look like when it's finished. (That guest room is everything.)
However, we did learn that this hotel will be a part of Lennox Hotels, which has two other properties in South America--one in Ushuaia Patagonia and the other in Buenos Aires. So expect even more South American flair to invade Collins.
[Photos: HotelChatter; Rendering: Kobi Karp]
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When Hyatt Centric was announced in January of this year, we presumed that this was just Hyatt Hotels' way of grabbing the attention of the millennial traveler. But after touring the Hyatt Centric South Beach, the second Hyatt Centric to open (the first opened in Chicago the other month), we realize the hotel goes deeper than just trendy design, free WiFi and social hours.
It's actually kind of the perfect hotel for the new and emerging yuccie or Young Urban Creative, introduced this week by Mashable. Yup, we're gonna need a new tag for these guests.
Keep reading for an all-around tour of the Hyatt Centric South Beach
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It's been a while (ok, a few years) since we followed up on what Argentinian developer Alan Faena had in mind for Miami but strolling by the Faena construction sites the other day, we fully grasped how massive this hotel and residential project is. Fittingly, the six-block development from 32nd to 36th Street on Collins Avenue is being called The Faena District.
Some background: Faena is also the hotelier behind Faena Hotel in Buenos Aires, one of the best luxury hotels in the city. (And also, not a fan of Justin Bieber.) Now, he's bringing his Faena flair to Miami in the form of three residence towers; one Faena Forum, a performance hall designed by Rem Koolhaas; and two hotels--one of which will be the Faena Miami Beach, created out of the old Saxony Hotel. (Faena also runs the existing Casa Claridge Hotel across the street from The Saxony on Collins Avenue.)
According to the Miami Herald, the Faena Miami Beach, with its 169 hotel rooms should open on November 1, but in doing a little walk-by the other day, we're skeptical (as always) of that date.
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We've been waiting a long time for The Aloft South Beach but it's really, truly, almost ready to open. Maybe.
Just a week ago, we had the opening (skeptically) pegged for June 4 but that has been pushed back again to Thursday, June 11. However, people seem to think it will really open this time so we'll see.
We snapped a few pictures of the hotel construction on Sunday. Indeed most of the hotel does look finished, even the pool deck but the entrance, which is being rehabbed from its life as the Motel Arkana, still needs a bit of work.
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At long last, the eagerly anticipated AC Hotel Miami Beach is now open. And it's got everything we loved about the first AC Hotel by Marriott that opened in the U.S. (in New Orleans) and a little bit more.
Located right across from the Miami Beach Edition, the AC has just 150 rooms, giving it a boutique vibe but still, a very approachable one. Miami-based design team Kobi Karp Architecture created several open-concept spaces in the lobby (as per AC's brand standard) which are outfitted with modern decor and furnishings such as tufted leather banquettes that rise up the walls and a seriously sleek bar.
Indeed, to show off the usefulness of the open spaces, AC hosted an intimate conversation about art, design and architecture at their official opening party last night, featuring celebrity fashion photographer, Nigel Barker; Rem D. Koolhaas (not that Rem but his nephew), co-founder and creative director of the architectural footwear brand United Nude; as well as Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) Interim Director Leann Standish; artist, photographer and director Andrea Sisson; Slow Watches co-founder Chris Noerskau; and Jane Wooldridge, the business editor/visual arts editor of The Miami Herald Media Company.
Additionally, guests were able to browse the United Nude and Slow Watches pop-up shops at the back of the hotel lobby. These included a sneak peek at the super cool collaboration with architect, Zaha Hadid (the creative genius behind several new hotels) and the official look at Slow Watches Swiss-made product in the U.S.
But we found ourselves drawn to the other public spaces at the hotel--the rooftop pool deck and the 3rd-floor roofdeck lounge.
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Earlier this year, we learned West Coast born-and-raised Joie de Vivre Hotels (JDV) would be expanding its horizons to Miami and New York. We're still waiting on the full details of the NYC property, but The Hall in Miami, at 15th and Collins, is going ahead with its "late summer" opening and now they've got "Top Chef" alum, Spike Mendelsohn, to create the food and bar menus.
Sunny's will be Spike's first outpost in Miami. The spot is named after his grandfather, but is also a nod to the weather in Miami (most days.) Designed by Robert McKinley, who also did the interiors for the rest of the hotel, Sunny's will "blend rustic elements and the tropics with natural, hand-crafted wood tables, all-weather chairs made from reclaimed rebar, and a Florida keystone main countertop."
Spike plans on serving reinterpretations of his favorite dishes he's picked up while traveling. That includes a Gulf Coast Grilled Grouper “Reuben,” the Greek-inspired Lifeguard Focaccia Myrtos Beach-Style, and the Jersey Shore Pork Roll Breakfast Sandwich. (Um, it's not pork roll. It's Taylor ham. Just saying.) Spike will also create made-to-order, brick-oven pizzas for The Hall's backyard bar and outdoor lounge area.
We wonder if his former judge, Tom Colicchio, will pop in. Colicchio, after all, is opening his Beachcraft restaurant up the road at the 1 Hotel South Beach.
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The opening of 1 Hotel South Beach has been a very long time coming.
The luxury 1 Hotels brand, with its eco-friendly focus, was first announced in 2006 by Starwood Capital Group, led by Barry Sternlicht, the man largely credited with bringing boutique hotel experiences to the masses with W Hotels.
But 1 Hotels was quickly put on hold once the economic crisis hit in 2008. (As evidenced by this hole in the ground.)
Then nearly two years ago, word came that 1 Hotels would be resurrected, with their first property opening in South Beach, inside the old Gansevoort South Beach which was formerly the Roney Palace, an apartment building (many apartments still remain, although they are separate from the hotel.)
Today, after extensive, estimated $270 million renovation (not including the $230 million spent to buy the property), 1 Hotel South Beach is officially up and running, with the second 1 Hotel-- 1 Hotel Central Park--not that far behind (It's expected opening date is now mid-June.)
We were able to tour 1 Hotel South Beach, and we were wowed by the transformation from the affected Gansevoort days. 1 Hotels has filled all the empty and wasted space throughout the building with meaningful design. For instance, the guest rooms feature not just a bed, a desk and a chair, but rather a bed upon a raised platform, along with a cozy seating nook facing out the balcony, and a long (reclaimed) wood desk that runs the length of the room. The bathroom is a good-size, with a generous shower. Yes, it's peek-a-boo but there is a curtain to close in case you're shy.
You'll also notice these "filled in" spaces in the lobby where comfy white couches and armchairs take up much of the front area.
Yet while the luxury element of 1 Hotels is easy to distinguish thanks to their $700 a night room rate, there are more than a few eco-friendly initiatives you may not realize during a stay or even a visit. (This too is by design as the hotel wants to be sustainable without being preachy.)
We were seriously astounded by some of these practices, which go beyond just being LEED certified. You may have heard of small independent hotels doing some of them, but not in a beachfront hotel with 426 guest rooms, four pools, five F&B outlets, a rooftop pool and a spa and fitness center.
Allow us to list the ways.
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We've been known to obsessively collect hotel key cards from our stays but at the just-opened 1 Hotel South Beach (formerly the Gansevoort South Beach), we will, begrudgingly, give back their incredible room key.
Just slightly bigger than a silver dollar coin, the key card is made out of recycled wood. But that's not all. It's equipped with RFID, so you simply wave it in front of the door and boom, your room is unlocked. However, on the backside of the key it says, "Recycle Everything", a gentle encouragement from the hotel to guests, to send the key back so that it can be reused.
This key and its message are just one of many eco-initiatives that 1 Hotels have created not just for the South Beach property but for the upcoming 1 Hotels in Central Park and Brooklyn as well.
Tomorrow, we'll have more on those initiatives, the likes of which we've never heard being implemented in a hotel of this size before. But for now, we'll tease you with a shot of the guest room. It's pretty AND it's good for you.
FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY: If you sign up for 1 Hotels email list, you'll get 11 percent off bookings for 11 years. This is FOR REAL. The deal ends on April 2, 2015 at 10:22:22pm. So enter your email soon!
The magic that is keyless entry is nothing new, but we can’t help but feel a little chill at check-in when we learn that it’s an option.
Fontainebleau Miami Beach is the latest property to get the pieces in place before flipping the switch, as they’ve partnered up with StayNTouch to enable mobile check-in among a few other tech treats.
In addition to all the new hotels coming to Miami this spring, there are lots of old hotels with new spaces to show off, and that's just as important to know.
Circa 39 in Miami Beach is all gussied up for spring with its recent two-year, multi-million renovation competed –- and it looks fab. The updates include the refurbishment of all 97 guest rooms, the lobby areas, on-site dining and the pool deck.
The modernized bathrooms feature glass shower enclosures, bathrobes, and Aveda bathroom products as well as custom-designed furnishings in teal and white finishes and solid wood floors.