FL Travel Guide
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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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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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.
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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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.
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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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]
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.
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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When we told you what to expect at the SLS Las Vegas last week, we mentioned the three different room towers at the property--World, Story and Lux. Well, now it turns out SLS LUX isn't just a room tower in Vegas but a new brand within a brand from SLS Hotels.
SLS LUX will be an all-suite and residential experience for guests with upgraded amenities and personalized VIP services. The first SLS LUX will obviously open in Vegas over Labor Day Weekend but SLS is also planning another SLS LUX in Miami (pictured above) in 2016 to complement the upcoming SLS Brickell Hotel & Residences, which will open next year.
This new LUX will have 450 residences, 85 luxury suites, a tennis and fitness center, rooftop pool, wine cellar, cigar room and two restaurants, Katsuya and SBar. Yabu Pushelberg will do the interiors while works from Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero will adorn the entrance. So in case you were ever disappointed with the basic-ness of an SLS room, the LUX room should have whatever you're looking for. We hope.
SLS says additional LUX locations are already in development in the U.S. Meanwhile, SLS Park Avenue won't be opening this year but in 2015 instead.
[Rendering: SLS LUX]
The B resort has also just announced their restaurant concept, American Q, which is being developed by restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow and China Grill Management. The restaurant, as you might guess from its name, will do a "a modern take on classic barbecue" dishes from all different regions in the U.S. and Latin America. But this being Disney World, the restaurant will embrace the BBQ theme wholeheartedly. Here's what's in store:
· An “industrial farmhouse” setting with a wood-clad bar and a mason jar chandelier.
· An “all-you-can-eat” parade of BBQ meats, seafood and poultry
· "Cowboy/cowgirl” carvers
· An appetizer and salad buffet served from the bed of a ’50 cherry red Ford F1 pickup truck
· Spontaneous line dances
Ok, NOW you're talking.
We may be heading into the off-season in Miami Beach, but there's no slowing down the hotel scene.
The Vintro Hotel & Kitchen, a 50-room luxury boutique hotel, is set to open in July in the Collins Park neighborhood (a few blocks inland from W South Beach.) Formerly the Lido Park Hotel, The Vintro has kept the Art Deco facade (originally designed by architect Harry O'Nelson) yet the interiors were entirely stripped and renovated by Guillermo de Yavorsky, an architect based in St. Barth.
Billing itself as an "adult playground", the hotel will feature a bar, restaurant, and a roof deck with a plunge pool. Rooms are tight but well-designed featuring artwork from emerging artists and luxe amenities like in-room Nespresso machines, 46" flat-screen TVs and FREE WIFI. However, we must warn you: the bathrooms are SERIOUSLY peek-a-boo. You will have a prime view of the shower from the bed. Like, no curtain or nothing. Which is pretty perfect for a sexy getaway with your lovah, but please do not share this room with a coworker.
As for the kitchen, Chef Giorgios Nikolas Bakatsias, developed a concept and menu for the 67 seat Vintro Kitchen restaurant. The menu will focus on seasonal and local ingredients from Miami with a selection of wines "made by farmers not factories." And of course, this is Miami so there will be a robust cocktail selection as well.
While the hotel's old website is still saying March 2014, the hotel should open in July. We'll keep you posted on the exact date but room rates will start at around $249 a night.
[Photos: Vintro Hotel & Kitchen/Facebook]