FL Travel Guide
For some hotel properties, bidding fond adieu to the minibar is part of the new and improved way of operating efficiently. For others, they've gone different routes--like Kimpton and Andaz, who include certain minibar items in the room rate. But as for the cream of the crop, some luxury hotels are going overboard and stocking some of the coolest stuff and, subsequently, charging out the nose for them.
Take for instance a recent stay of ours at the Trump National Doral just outside Miami. After exploring the comfy Ivanka Trump-designed interiors accented with lots of signature gold trim, we opened up the minibar drawer and almost had to catch our jaw from smashing down into the immense selection of gourmet treats that rolled out of the cabinet.
Margaritaville Hotels / Hotel Openings / Hotel Resort Fees / Hotel Fees / Jimmy Buffet / Hotel News / Hollywood Hotels / → All Tags
Thirsty for a Margarita...ville hotel stay? Simply call 1-844-5OCLOCK to make your reservation at the brand new Margaritaville Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida, opening on October 1.
As we briefly mentioned in September, the beach resort inspired by singer Jimmy Buffett will have 349 rooms, 17 stories, a Margaritaville Landshark Bar & Grill, a License to Chill rooftop bar, the Lone Palm Bar and a 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar. There will also be a 15,000-sq.ft. St. Somewhere Spa and an "authentic 'no worries' tropical vibe" present throughout.
Here are some more details on what to expect after you get drunk and
screw er, relax in your hotel room:
Each of the resort’s 349-rooms will evoke feelings of relaxation and paradise, with coastal-luxe décor. Business and leisure travelers alike will enjoy luxurious bedding with crisp all-white linens, teak-finished furnishings accompanied by subtle maritime accents, spacious walk-in rain showers, 42-inch LCD televisions and clocks with Bluetooth capabilities, ensuring maximum comfort and total relaxation.
Spacious walk-in rain showers with sea glass colored tile, teak vanities topped with vessel sinks and tropical bath potions (rendering above) will create a serene bath experience that is truly transporting. Attention to detail will be expressed in the thoughtfully selected features placed in every guestroom and suite, ensuring each guest enjoys a slice of paradise.
We're assuming cheeseburgers are definitely on the room service menu too.
Hotel Openings / Hotel News / Theme-Park Hotels / Amusement Park Hotels / Legoland Hotels / → All Tags
The final bits and pieces (ha, get it?!) have been put in place, and it’s time for grand opening of the latest slice of paradise within the LEGO kingdom. LEGOLAND Hotel is now doing its thing just outside Orlando, and the reactions, reviews, and social media shares are coming in piece by piece (ok, we’re done, promise).
Aloft Hotels / Hotel Openings / Miami Hotel Mambo / Miami Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Technology / → All Tags
The season is winding down in Florida but the hotel scene in Miami remains hot, especially when it comes to new hotels.
Construction has been underway on the former Ankara Motel for a few years now (here's what it looked like when our Miami spy walked by it last July) but Aloft is nearly ready to show off its restoration efforts (the Ankara was built in 1954) as well as its new interiors.
Here's some info on what Aloft saved from the Ankara days and what they added in:
Components of the hotel that have retained their original form include the classic brick walls of the Historic Wing, refurbished Ankara Motel signage and the pool shape. Inside, modern design takes center stage as a translucent staircase welcomes guests into the thriving two-story atrium with custom leather wrapping and a striking light fixture inspired by drum cymbals. Additionally, the bar and lounge features a custom chandelier by Yellow Goat Design made of 1,000 colored acrylic lighting rods descending from the ceiling.
There’s bad behavior by normal hotel standards, and there’s bad behavior by Hard Rock standards. And when you factor in a good old British lout, you know bad behavior for the ages is on the cards.
Last week, a 41-year-old man from Hampshire, Andrew Wood, was on the trip of a lifetime to Universal Orlando. He got drunk. He went back to his room at the Hard Rock Universal Orlando. Except on the way (maybe he got caught short, maybe he didn't want to soil the sexy new rooms) and peed into an ice machine.
As one of the only beachfront resorts in the Palm Beach area, The Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa is a popular spot for Northeast vacationers, especially during the winter months.
We toured the hotel during a busy Spring Break season and were amazed at how much was going on from the poolside activities for kids to the fun games set up on the beach, tropical drinks served at the bar, and relaxation treatments offered at the spa. To say nothing of the rooms upstairs, which start at one-bedroom suites and come with a separate living area, a mid-sized kitchen, a washer and dryer, and two balconies that offer partial ocean views and views of the intracoastal.
To put how busy the resort gets into perspective, we asked them for a "By the Numbers" sort of report on the daily happenings at the hotel, including the spa and the restaurants, with a few other bonus figures thrown in. And here's what they sent us. Hotel nerds, this will make your day.
Joie de Vivre Hotels / JDV Hotels / Hotel Hype / Miami Hotel Mambo / Top Chef Hotels / Spike Mendelsohn / → All Tags
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.
1 Hotels / Miami Hotel Mambo / Eco-Friendly Hotels / Green Hotels / Miami Beach Hotels / Barryt Sternlicht / → All Tags
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.
A boutique hotel, Amara Cay Resort, just hit the shores of Islamorada in the Florida Keys after a multi-million renovation and it’s lookin’ mighty stylish. The resort’s 110 guestrooms, all public spaces, meeting rooms, landscaping, retail space and restaurant are completely redesigned.
Amara Cay Resort’s guestrooms and suites feature clean designs and furnishings incorporating elements such as wood, rattan and dark tile. Each guestroom has a newly extended balcony with ocean views.
The resort also added the new Oltremare Ristorante, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The 60-seat restaurant includes a coastal Italian-inspired menu including homemade pasta, locally caught seafood and farm-grown produce.
1 Hotels / Hotel Key Cards / Hotel Room Keys / Eco-Hotels / Green Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Miami Hotel Mambo / → All Tags
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!
Spring Break Hotels / Panama City Hotels / Florida Hotels / Holiday Inn Hotels / Holiday Inn Resorts / → All Tags
When you think of Spring Break, you normally think of non-stop partying, bikinis, tank tops, shots, beer, drinking games, red Solo cups, instantly regrettable hook-ups and...The Lion King?
That's what's on the "playlist" for the college Spring Break guests at the Holiday Inn Resort on Panama City Beach, as the hotel's owners have been blasting the "Circle of Life" song from the movie soundtrack every morning at 11am. Conveniently, that's also check-out time.
At first, we thought this hotel was doing it to deter Spring Breakers from staying at the hotel, or at the least, getting them to wake up so that they could check-out.
But the resort is actually very Spring Break-friendly and their unusual wake-up call is now a bona fide Spring Break ritual, almost a siren call to begin a new day of partying.
Photo Gallery / Hotel Renovations / South Beach Hotels / Miami Beach Hotels / Miami Hotels / Morimoto / Wyndham Hotels / Miami Hotel Mambo / → All Tags
In July 2013 the Shelborne Hotel in South Beach closed down in order to renovate the entire property (which was very much needed). It opened again at the end of September 2014 as the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach with relatively little fanfare, so we’re going to toot its horn a little bit because, during a recent stay, we quite liked this 200-room property.
Designed by two very different designers – Meg Sharpe, who did the public and commercial spaces, and Richard Mishaan, who created the rooms and meeting spaces – the hotel has a sort of Jekyll and Hyde quality that, strangely, works together to create an Art Deco beauty.
First some history to give you context on the design. The building was constructed in the 1940s and embellished in the 1950s, when the Moderne Style of Art Deco was in fashion. Think glamorous streamlined design, with shiny metallic surfaces and a focus on the new, modern transportation design in cars, airplanes and trains. Both designers have worked to bring this particular era to life, albeit each with a distinctive flair.
Richard’s rooms are bolder in both color and pattern, with deep ocean blue furniture and rugs offset against stark white or mirrored furnishings. You’d think the heavily patterned wall coverings and lamp shades would throw the whole design into chaos, but it keeps the space oddly invigorating. Rooms have 46” Interactive Smart Samsung TVs with mobile connectivity, iPhone docking stations, Frette linens and private label bath amenities in a calendula scent.
Have a look at the Photo Gallery to see an Oceanfront Balcony room as well as a Partial Ocean View King, plus all of the public spaces!