FL Travel Guide
When the Four Seasons Orlando at Disney World opened last August, we found all sorts of non-Disney reasons to get excited by the new hotel, such as the adults-only pool, the neighboring wildlife sanctuary, the Tom Fazio-designed golf course, the 18 spa treatment rooms as well as the luxe decor and attentive service that we've come to expect from Four Seasons hotels.
Now, we understand that all these reasons may not appeal to the extreme Disney fanatics out there. Indeed, because the resort is not technically owned by Disney, there aren't many Mickey touches at all.
The only place where you will find "official" Mickey Mouse ears is at the Disney Planning Desk in the lobby. Here you can buy tickets and Magic Bands as well as make reservations, arrange services and quiz the Disney cast members on what to do and where to go at the parks. And if you do the Character Breakfast at the hotel's Ravello restaurant on Thursdays and Sundays (and some select Tuesdays), you'll be able to see Mickey Mouse in person.
But, there are quite a few unofficial Mickey Mouse ears throughout the property.
Here's where we found hidden or accidental Mickey Mouse ears at the Four Seasons Orlando.
A B Hotel!
This is an interesting turn of events. The other day we reported that the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel, formerly The Yankee Clipper, would stop being a Sheraton on December 1 but there was no clue as to who or what brand would go in its place. Now, we have an answer. A tipster tells us that the hotel will be a B Hotel. And indeed, it's been confirmed on the B Hotels website with an opening date of December 1.
You might remember the B brand opened its very first hotel in Fort Lauderdale, but that has now changed into a Sonesta Hotel. B went onto open a spot in Orlando as well as Savannah and they launched their b2 brand in Miami.
No doubt all the B programming will be installed in their FLL spot, including mood lighting, free WiFi and variety of amenities and services that all start with B. Hopefully they will let the Yankee Clipper's Wreck Bar and the Dos Caminos restaurant just "b."
The former Roney Plaza/Gansevoort South/The Perry Hotel in Miami is almost finished with its $100 million renovation to turn into the naturally glam 1 Hotel South Beach, but you can reserve a room today for stays starting on March 1.
Not surprisingly for a luxury hotel in season in Miami Beach, the rooms are ridiculously expensive, with a king room going for $665 a night. Want a balcony with your room? That will be $712 a night. Prefer an ocean view? That will be $855 a night.
But we have to admit, these are some seriously good-looking rooms. Gone is the high-sheen of The Gansevoort and in its place is a eco-luxe look with reclaimed wood on the walls, natural poured concrete in the floors, overstuffed pillow on the couches, and peekaboo bathrooms. Don't forget, Chef Tom Colicchio is opening his restaurant downstairs while upstairs is a pool deck with similarly eco-luxe style cabanas and seating.
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Not long after Starwood Hotels dissolved its management of the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Fla. (the hotel is now known as The Diplomat and it's part of Hilton's Curio Collection), comes another big brand loss in nearby Fort Lauderdale.
The Sun-Sentinel reports that The Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel, remembered by most as the Yankee Clipper Hotel, will cease to be a Sheraton on December 2, 2014. However, no one knows yet what sort of brand, if any, will take over the cruise-ship inspired building which is also home to the Wreck Bar and Dos Caminos restaurant.
Interestingly, the building was sold in 2005 to the Starwood Capital Group, which is actually hotelier Barry Sternlicht's company and not Starwood Hotels'. So could this turn into a 1 Hotel or a Baccarat Hotel? Highly unlikely, as the building is rumored to be for sale, but we're dying to find out what will end up happening.
Got any inside scoop? Let us know!
[Photo: Sheraton Fort Lauderdale]
Up in New York, it's been sort of a hotel marketing trend to present the hotel as a mysterious, manly-named place with as few details as possible, like Paul. Down in Miami, the same sort of awareness/unawareness ploy is going on with Washington Park Hotel. except this time, the hotel is looks like a lady.
The Washington Park Hotel is set to open in early 2015 at 11th and Washington Avenues. Judging from its website, the hotel looks like a pretty place to hang out. (Indeed, there's a picture of two lady surfers.) But other than its pretty and feminine style, including a floral entwined logo, there's not much we know about the hotel. At least not on its website.
Like any good millennial hotel, the WPH does have aFacebook page but there's not much else there either, except for a mention about their upcoming curated cocktails, which is pretty par for the course in Miami. However, there is a sexy side to the hotel. Like, literally, a sexy side as the hotel
shares the space withis on the same block as The World Erotic Art Museum as well as a propaganda museum.
More details on the hotel, such as how many rooms, photos, amenities, services, etc, should be coming soon. But you know they already had us at "erotic art museum."
[Screengrab from WashingtonParkHotel.com]
Art Basel will swing back into Miami Beach from December 4-7 and if you're interested in heading down to the hot mess art party, you better book your hotel room now.
The good news is there are still plenty of rooms open but the bad news is that rates are rising fast. Room rates could drop at the last-minute depending on availability but otherwise, if you've got a preference of where you want to be, book now. And yes, expect to pay $500 and up for a centrally located hotel room that is about the size of a closet.
Is it your first time going to Art Basel? Read our Art Basel virgin's experience here.
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We've been so dazzled by the new big name hotels opening in Miami over the next few months--Thompson, Edition, Sixty, Aloft and AC Hotels to name a few--it's been hard to keep up with all the others. But we've been doing our best, dishing what we know so far on hotels like The Gale Suites and Villa Bagatelle. And now we've got an update on the forthcoming Hyatt South Beach.
Even though we once hoped this hotel would be an Andaz, it is still going ahead as a Hyatt hotel, the first such branded hotel for Hyatt in South Beach (there's a Hyatt Regency in downtown Miami.)
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Winter season is practically here and that has us thinking of another kind of season, one where no puffy coats are needed--hotel cabana season.
Kicking off the season of private poolside enclaves is the St. Regis Bal Harbour in Miami, who has partnered with the high-end fashion boutique The Webster to create a special Webster Cabana for the hotel. Conveniently, The Webster has a store in the Shops at Bal Harbour.
You may also remember The Webster from their summer collection for Target. Now, Laure Heriard Dubreuil, CEO and Co-Founder of The Webster, has filled the 600-sq.ft. St. Regis cabana with her signature style, which is "Luxe Miami" all the way.
The cabana reflects The Webster’s love of color and print with striking interior features including The Webster’s signature patterned wallpaper, rattan furniture by Paul Frankl covered in a lively floral print and a custom coffee table topped with turquoise glass.
Additional design elements inside the space include a bar accessorized with Webster candles, Murano glass pieces and other unique items curated by Laure. Perfectly complementing the cabana’s interior, pink and brown lounge chairs, which are situated next to a dining table with chairs covered in the same playful color combination, will be enjoyed while relaxing on The Webster Cabana’s outdoor terrace.
Bagatelle, a popular restaurant brand that originated in NYC's Meatpacking District before expanding to Sao Paolo, St. Tropez and St. Barth (with a brief stint in Las Vegas), is now heading to Miami Beach. But instead of opening another hot restaurant or beach club, owners Aymeric Clemente and Remi Laba are opening a restaurant + hotel + pool club, called Villa Bagatelle.
Located at 21st and Collins in the current Boulan Hotel, Villa Bagatelle will take about 18 months to fully open. The first phase of the renovation is happening now, with a cosmetic touch-up of the hotel's common areas and guest rooms. The rooms are actually all suites and have at least one bedroom with a deluxe Tempur-Pedic bed, a fully equipped epicurean kitchen with dining areas, living room with queen-bedded sofa bed, and oversized marble spa-inspired bathroom. Some suites have private terraces with either views of downtown or the ocean.
The second renovation phase will transform the rooftop pool deck into a "complete Bagatelle St. Tropez experience" with a full service food and beverage concept. The courtyard at the hotel will also transform in to The Bagatelle Gardens where guests can enjoy breakfast, light lunch, dinner, coffee and cocktails. Is that Bagatelle enough for you?
You can actually stay at the hotel now, although the Villa Bagatelle branding is not complete. Rates start around $379 a night but we found a suite king in a few weeks for $289 a night.
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Last we checked, the Thompson Miami Beach was opening on November 14 but that opening date has been moved just a little bit back to November 21. However, the hotel is now offering a special opening package that starts at $399 a night, based on double occupancy, and includes the following:
· Minimum two-night stay in plush accommodations
· Daily breakfast for two at Seagrape, the restaurant from Miami's own Michelle Bernstein
· Signature welcome cocktails for two
· Beach swag bag with Coola sunscreen products, including body sunscreen, facial sunscreen and moisturizing lip balm
· Admission for two to Perez Art Museum Miami, so you can get a jump start on all the Art Basel festivities.
We've long been a fan of Kimpton Hotels' Forgot it? We've got it!" amenity program, which sends up, on request, any toiletries that guests may have forgotten to pack from contact lens solution to straightening irons. But now at The EPIC Hotel in Miami, the amenity program extends to Halloween costumes.
That's right, if you've forgotten to pack your sexy ladybug costume, or just decided on a whim to go trick or treating, the EPIC Hotel can lend you a costume to wear for the night.
We inquired about the Halloween costume choices and they include the following:
· Clown make up
· Clown noses
· Rainbow bow tie
· Child & adult cat costume
· Bunny ears
· Various mustaches
· Venetian masks
And if you stay at the hotel on Halloween, you can indulge in special pumpkin oil aroma therapies and massages from the hotel's Exhale Spa during the hotel's complimentary wine hour. A Halloween candy buffet will also be on display. Over at the hotel's bars and lounges--LILT, Area31 and a the rooftop pool deck, speciality Halloween cocktails will be served too.
Rooms at the EPIC start at $249 a night.
We've already given you 5 hotels to put on your radar when planning a trip to Miami Beach this winter but we don't call it Miami Hotel Mambo for nothing. Hotels be opening left and right in this
loca caliente city. And here's another one.
The Gale Suites at Kaskades is an extension of the extremely popular Gale Hotel South Beach on Collins Avenue. The Gale Suites won't actually be adjacent to The Gale but they will be close by, located in a building behind The Gale on 17th Street. (The hotel says its only 10 steps away.)