FL Travel Guide

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What Goes On Almost Every Day at The Palm Beach Singer Island Marriott

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  Site Where: 3800 North Ocean Drive [map], Singer Island, FL, United States, 33404
April 22, 2015 at 10:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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The Hall in Miami, JDV's First East Coast Hotel, Will Have a 'Top Chef' In-House

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  Site Where: 1500 Collins Ave [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
April 14, 2015 at 6:26 PM | by | Comments (0)

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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Inside the 1 Eco-Conscious Sensation That is 1 Hotel South Beach

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  Site Where: 2341 Collins Ave [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
April 3, 2015 at 6:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

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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Getting Boutique-y in the Florida Keys: The Renovated Amara Cay Opens in Islamorada

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  Site Where: 80001 Overseas Highway [map], Islamorada, FL, United States, 33036
April 1, 2015 at 3:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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Here's a Room Key We Will (Begrudgingly) Return to The Hotel

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  Site Where: 2341 Collins Avenue [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
March 31, 2015 at 4:53 PM | by | Comments (0)

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!

[Photos: HotelChatter]

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This Florida Hotel Has a Genius Way of Waking Up its Spring Breaker Guests

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  Site Where: 11127 Front Beach Road [map], Panama City, FL, United States, 32407
March 30, 2015 at 9:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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An Inside Look at the Newly Renovated Shelborne Wyndham Grand in Miami

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  Site Where: 1801 Collins Avenue [map], Miami, FL, United States, 33139
March 26, 2015 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

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!

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Who's Charging Resort Fees in Miami? Pretty Much Everyone

March 25, 2015 at 8:35 AM | by | Comments (0)

Ah, Miami. Sun, fun, mojitos and...resort fees?

Yes, sadly most hotels in Miami are charging those dreaded and annoying resort fees. According to ResortFeeChecker.com, 100 hotels in Miami have resort fees and the average fee is around $20.04 a night. That's about the same as Vegas' ubiquitous resort fee average.

But Miami is also home to two resort fees that exceed $100. Yes, you read that right. Those resorts are the Provident Luxury Suites ($107 a night) and The Fisher Island Club (also $107 a night), both of which are located on the extremely ritzy Fisher Island.

We've decided to list the resort fees of some of the most chatted about Miami hotels here on HotelChatter. Hide your wallets!

These fees are per day, plus about 20 percent tax, so the final cost will be a little higher than the number you see here. These fees usually include internet access, and additional amenities and services on site like beach chairs and access to the fitness center. (At the Surfcomber it includes iced coffee!)

But not everyone is charging a resort fee. We applaud the Loews, The W South Beach and The Setai for being resort-fee-free. (Never mind that rooms are hovering at $1,000 alight right now.)

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Soon Keyless Entry At Fontainebleau Miami Beach Will Allow You To Phone It In

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  Site Where: 4441 Collins Ave [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33140
March 24, 2015 at 12:54 PM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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Drink to Your Health (Literally) at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand in Miami

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  Site Where: 1801 Collins Avenue [map], Miami, FL, United States, 33139
March 19, 2015 at 4:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

Who knew that drinking alcohol could be good for you? When you show up for a cocktail at The Drawing Room in the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach, have a chat with the apothékers (A.K.A. bartenders) and tell them what ails you. They’ll whip up a medicinal concoction full of herbs and other goodness and then write you a prescription in case you need a refill.

Run by famous (and a wee bit infamous) Austrian-born bar chef Albert Trummer, formerly of NYC's Apothéke and the Theater Bar, The Drawing Room has only been open since October 2014.

Using his knowledge of all things botanical (Albert is also a trained chef), he’s created a series of ten house elixirs using recipes he’s collected from monks and monasteries throughout Europe. These elixirs (not all are available at all times as it depends on seasonality and availability) are used to create his and his team’s Prescription Cocktails. If you plan it right you can bring yourself up at the start of the evening and then back down at its close.

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Circa 39 in Miami Beach Gets a Makeover

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  Site Where: 3900 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL, 33140
March 11, 2015 at 4:28 PM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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This is What The Royal Palm in Miami Has Turned Into...

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  Site Where: 1545 Collins Avenue [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
March 10, 2015 at 3:00 PM | by | Comments (3)

Moving out.

Yesterday was the official last day of existence for the James Royal Palm Hotel in Miami.

Today, the property is reborn as...wait for it...The Royal Palm Miami South Beach, a Luxury Collection Hotel from Starwood.

Not much else has changed at the property except for its logo which is quite cute. Rates for this weekend for a superior king bed start at $546 a night (plus a $25 resort fee.) FWIW, it's an SPG Category 6 hotel, which means it will take between 20,000 and 25,000 Starpoints to stay here for free night.

So we guess that's that. Or is it?

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