FL Travel Guide

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First Renderings of the Conrad 'Un-Trump' Fort Lauderdale, Opening Next Summer

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  Site Where: 551 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd [map], Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States
August 18, 2014 at 9:31 AM | by | Comments (0)

We told you earlier this year that the saga of the ill-fated Trump Fort Lauderdale would have a happy ending by summer 2015, opening as the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Hotel & Beach Residences. A $30 million-plus investment would erase any signs of half a decade of vacancy and neglect, the result of which we can show you a few renderings of now.

Above the driveway and entrance to the 290-room hotel, with an interesting lattice wood-like sculpture above what looks like a water feature. All accommodations are either studios or suites and come with full kitchenettes.

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The Thompson Miami Beach Hotel Now Taking Reservations for November 14

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  Site Where: 4041 Collins Avenue [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33140
August 6, 2014 at 1:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

True to their word, Thompson Miami Beach is actually opening later this year--in late October with reservations now being accepted online for November 14.

Located at 4041 Collins Avenue in a former condo building, the newest Thompson Hotel will have 380 hotel rooms featuring "beach-inspired accommodations and mid-century, international resort style." Designer Martin Brudnizki has been working on the design which will (of course) preserve the building's Art Deco flair and 1950s architecture.

And as we mentioned back in May, the Thompson will also have two pools, a small spa, three bars , including a speakeasy in a bungalow, and a 267-seat "classic brasserie" from James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef and Miami native Michelle Bernstein.

Room rates for November 14 are rather reasonable starting at $314 for an advanced purchase rate (no refunds) and $339 for a regular rate. That would be for a deluxe king room with custom-made 400 thread count SFERRA linens, rain showers in the bathroom, oversized Frette terrycloth robes, a 42” flat screen television with movie library, a gourmet mini-bar and a 24-hour in-room dining service.

Below is a snapshot of a model room, as posted on the hotel's website....

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How Excited Are Mickey Fans for The Opening of The Four Seasons Orlando? Let Us Count The Ways

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  Site Where: 10100 Dream Tree Blvd [map], Orlando, FL, United States, 32836
August 1, 2014 at 7:20 PM | by | Comments (2)

It's nearly the moment you Disney freaks, er, enthusiasts have been waiting for--The Four Seasons Orlando at Disney World is opening on Sunday!

Room rates at the luxury hotel at the Magic Kingdom start at $449 a night for a Four Seasons Room. A lake view room starts at $579 a night. We'll be watching the early word on social media on Sunday, but if you're staying at the hotel, let us know how it's going!

In the meantime, we've rounded up all the cool things to admire at this hotel. And not one of them includes Mickey Mouse ears!

1. The Adult Pool: The adult pool (separated from the family pool) will have cabanas, cocktail servers and specialty services like "sunglass cleanings." We hope massages are on that list too. #serenitynow

2. Firework Chandeliers in the Lobby. Night time is ruled by fireworks at Disney World but we're loving the cool chandeliers of "fireworks" above the lobby's grand staircase.

3. A Golf Course. The hotel's golf course will be actually be Tom Fazio’s Osprey Ridge golf course which is undergoing a renovation and will open in September 2014. It will still be a certified Audubon Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary and it will be just a two-minute golf cart ride from the hotel.

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Along the Water, The Aloft Miami Beach is Slowly Coming Together

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  Site Where: 2360 Collins Avenue [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33140
July 22, 2014 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

Our Miami Beach tipster has returned with some new shots of the upcoming Aloft Hotel in Miami Beach on way north Collins Avenue.

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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The Miami Beach Edition is Looking Good as Its November Opening Nears

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  Site Where: 2901 Collins Avenue [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33140
July 21, 2014 at 8:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

Now that you can make a reservation at the upcoming Miami Beach EDITION, opening in January November, let's take a look at how the construction on the property is progressing.

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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[UPDATED] It's Time To Book Your Room at The Miami Beach EDITION, Opening in November

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  Site Where: 209 Collins Avenue [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33140
July 18, 2014 at 9:36 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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A Former Courthouse is Now Back in Session, This Time as Le Méridien Tampa

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  Site Where: 601 North Florida Avenue, Tampa, FL, 33602
July 2, 2014 at 1:12 PM | by | Comments (5)

Le Meridien Tampa gets serious about courting its guests, debuting in this massive former courthouse. But rest assured, those unpaid parking tickets will not be added to your bill.

Climbing the monumental steps of a courthouse can make anyone a bit queasy. However, when those same steps lead to the grand entrance of a hotel, unease turns into excitement. And that's now what we're experiencing looking at these new photos of the just opened Le Méridien Tampa, inside a former Federal courthouse in downtown.

We’re seeing a rise in Federal buildings becoming adopted and adapted into a hotel (example: Trump Hotels has overtaken a post office in Washington DC, and Drury Hotels is converting a Federal Reserve building in Pittsburgh.) Courthouses have many opportunities, and challenges, for re-use as hotels. Here's how Miami-based Kobi Karp Architecture made the transformation from landmark 1905 courthouse to hotel at the Le Méridien Tampa.

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This Holiday Inn Is Also A Classified Military Base

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  Site Where: 1299 Miracle Strip Parkway [map], Fort Walton Beach, FL, United States, 32548
June 25, 2014 at 8:26 AM | by | Comments (0)

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it (fittingly) a giant beach ball on the roof of this beachside Holiday Inn?

Nope, none of them. It’s a military radar thingy.

Taking working with the military to a whole new level beyond giving servicemen and women discounts, the Fort Walton Beach Holiday Inn in, you’ve guessed it, Florida, has joined forces with the military to create a beach resort-military base combo. Why hasn’t Vegas thought of this before?

According to the Miami Herald, in a story that made us triple check it wasn’t April 1 today (until the hotel confirmed the news on its Facebook page):

The combination resort hotel and military test site opened in late May in an unusual partnership between the military and private business in a time of tighter military budgets. In exchange for allowing the Innisfree Hotel company to build the 152-room resort on Air Force land, the military was able to construct a rooftop station that receives radar signals and a secure conference room for classified meetings. The dome hiding the military equipment is painted red, white, blue and yellow like a beach ball.

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At Last! The Hilton Cabana Beach Miami is Now Open

Where: 6261 Collins Avenue [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33140
June 19, 2014 at 4:58 PM | by | Comments (0)

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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The Setai Shakedown Shakes Out in Favor of GHM

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  Site Where: 2001 Collins Avenue [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
June 16, 2014 at 2:32 PM | by | Comments (0)

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]

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Ritz-Carlton South Beach Will Make Your Spa Time Last Forever (or Until the Candle Runs Out)

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  Site Where: 1 Lincoln Road [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
June 9, 2014 at 2:32 PM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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The Thompson Hotel in Miami Beach is Finally Happening

Where: 4041 Collins Avenue [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33140
May 28, 2014 at 8:48 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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