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[UPDATE, 5.14.13: Wyndham Hotels has given an explanation of what's going on with the hotel. Scroll down for that statement. UPDATE, 5.16.13: Menin Hotels have also given us a statement saying that would retain ownership of the hotel. Full statement is below the Wyndham statement.
Could there soon be one less hotel in Miami, a town that's been riding a recent hotel boom? Possibly.
We got a tip last week from one of our trusted South Beach spies saying that the Wyndham-operated Shelborne South Beach hotel would be closing and instead would reopen as a condo building. (Already the hotel is partially made up of condo units which are typically rented out to visiting guests.)
Sure enough, we headed to the hotel's website and found this note:
The Shelborne will have a limited number of rooms available June 1 - October 31, 2013 during its amazing transformation into South Beach’s newest lifestyle luxury resort, the Shelborne Wyndham Grand-South Beach.
Despite this "limited number of rooms" mention, we've got word that the hotel is indeed closing completely during the renovations and there are still whispers that it will reopen only as a timeshare. We're still sifting through the Shelborne shards but this is what we do know:
The hotel underwent a renovation back in 2011 so at first glance, it may seem too soon to have yet another facelift. But the reality is, some of those condo-hotel units are in bad shape as the owners were not obligated to renovate their units. HotelChatter saw how dire some of those rooms were when we stayed at the property back in December. This was our take on the place:
The Shelborne's suite had last been furnished in the early 1990s, the dining chairs were broken, the mattress was so old you could feel the springs, the tables were scratched and water-damaged, the art was like that of a greasy strip mall generic Asian restaurant, the floors felt so dusty we were relieved to have brought slippers from our last hotel, and the power outlet actually shocked us as we tried to plug in our phone charger. Firetrap much?
Need more convincing of the shifty state of the Shelborne? Just take a gander at some of the hotel's recent TripAdvisor reviews.
There's no shortage of hotel options in Miami these days but the newly-opened b2 miami downtown, across from the Bayfront Park and less than a 10-minute walk away from the American Airlines Arena, is one hotel that won't break the bank.
All 243 rooms at the b2 miami downtown offer either city or bay views and feature modern furnishings and amenities such as the B-branded Blissful Bed, interactive HD LED TVs with web capabilities, built-in docking stations with USB port and MicroSD cords and Aveda bath amenities. And don't forget the free WiFi!
The b2 hotel is the second hotel from B Hotels and Resorts. The first B Hotel opened two years ago in Fort Lauderdale while The B Hotel Disney World will open this Fall. b2, however, is the more affordable B brand, promising guests all the signature services of a B Hotel like free WiFi, in-room dining, mood-lighting and more but at more affordable prices.
This b2 also features a new eatery from restauranteur Jeffrey Chodorow of China Grill Management called Biscayne Tavern. The spot is now serving up "the next evolution of comfort food" such as grass-fed beef burgers, oyster po-boys, short-rib pot roast and truffle popovers. (Don't fret, vegetarians. The menus has array of salads and pastas too.
We found a Chic City King for tomorrow night with free parking (normally $25) for just $128.15. Un-B-lievable! Perhaps we can trust this B after all.
Somfh. Yup, we are dropping expletives, cuz we're crazy perplexed at this new breed of twentysomethin' Hollywood Brat Packers. They all seem hella intent in being filmed with “suspicious looking cigarettes” in hand. And again, we don't judge their downtime habits, we just get tired of the damage control they feel they need to go through, when they could just say "screw it, this is what I do." Certainly worked for Willie Nelson, Snoop, Woody Harrelson and plenty of other up-front chronic smokers.
Anyhoo, our latest offender/denier would be Blondie-in-training Miley Cyrus, who decided the perfect place to light up a spliff-like cigar, would be the balcony of her Miami hotel.
Now, do celebs smoke outside because they fear a hotel's $200 in-room smoking fee? BTW, that's us being smartasses.
See, they light up these big ‘ole "cigarettes", knowing the papps are watching, then have pictures like these show up...
The Pestana South Beach Art Deco Hotel opened this morning in Miami where the old Hotel Milejan used to be (don't we sound like your grandparents?), becoming the first Portuguese-owned hotel to open in the States. The property offers 97 rooms and suites throughout four historically preserved Art Deco buildings, a retro cafe (see photo below) and a pool bar set on a 1940’s inspired patio with an outdoor pool (see above).
Pestana picked South Beach for the location of its initial US property because of the area's existing reputation and popularity among its current clients in Europe and South America.
“North America is a very attractive and strategic market for the Group Pestana. This is our first investment in this market and Miami is a natural starting point because it is a gateway for Europe and South America where our brand is quite strong,” said José Roquette, Pestana’s development director for the North American market.
It's been about a year since trouble first started brewing down at Miami's famed Eden Roc Hotel. The property, which has been around since the 1950s, is managed by Marriott, but the relationship between Marriott and the hotel's owners was bad. So bad, in fact, that the hotel tried to boot Marriott from the premises during an after-dark siege. Serious drama, right?.
A judge (who happened to be a self-professed Eden Roc "fan"") declared back in November that Marriott has the legal right to remain as manager of the hotel.
Or should we say, 'had.'
Yesterday, the hotel's attorney announced that Eden Roc has won in a New York Appellate court the right to oust Marriott as manager of the property. The attorney called it "a vindication," and believes the outcome of this bitter lawsuit will help settle future disputes between hotel owners and management:
"A hotel manager is barred from commandeering a property against the owner’s wishes. Any doubts in that regard have been laid to rest."
The other week, The Aloft Miami Doral opened just east of the Miami International Airport. With rates starting at about $169 the first weekend of April, or $229 if you need a room tonight, the spin-off brand of W Hotels brings a (somewhat) affordable option to the area. It also brings funky design, free WiFi and a pleasant lobby scene for folks tired of the same ho-hum highway and roadside inn options.
But if you're worried this Aloft might be too far away from the South Beach action, don't fret too much. Another Aloft Hotel is opening in Lower Brickell on May 16. This Aloft will look like other Alofts with a w xyz bar, a re:mix lobby lounge, a 24/7 pantry, an outdoor pool and free onsite parking. But it's just steps away from the American Airlines Arena and the Miami Marlins Ballpark. Reservations are not open now, but we're gonna guess room rates will be close to $200-$250 a night.
But if that still isn't good enough for you, again, don't fret. A third Aloft hotel is expected to open by the end of 2014, this time in Miami Beach proper.
...Miami's Epic Hotel!
When this Kimpton hotel does a pool party--they do it up right, as you can see. Last night, this benefit party, called "A Sound for All The Senses" was for a cause--to support The Starkey Hearing Foundation. The DJ of the night was none other than "That Deaf Dj", aka Robbie Wilde. Wilde, who's been playing clubs for more than a decade, has been 90% deaf since age 11. He didn't let his disability detract him from his love of music, and he has soared to, well, epic heights in the DJ world.
Apparently his music not only inspires people to get on the dance floor, but groove in the pool as well.
So we say "Salute!" to Wilde and his wild, funky style! Looking for a place to party this weekend? Check out the Epic!
SLS Hotels are really feeling Miami these days. Almost a year after opening the SLS South Beach and just a few months after snapping up The Raleigh, the boutique hotel chain from sbe and Sam Nazarian has just announced a third hotel for the area--SLS Brickell, an up and coming nabe in downtown. And this one is gonna have residences attached, thanks to a partnership with the Related Group development company.
Ground-breaking is expected to happen soon on the property and will yield 133 hotel rooms and suites, along with 450 SLS-branded condo residences. The spot will open sometime in 2015.
SLS usual design and food partners, Philippe Starck and Chef José Andrés, will also be on board to round out the retail, spa, and food and beverage concepts. In total, SLS Brickell will house over 20,000-sq.ft. of food and beverage outlets, all programmed by Andrés, mixed in with some of sbe's well-known concepts (Katsuya, Hyde) and a few new "experiences."
Singapore-based GHM hotels oversees some pretty cool properties (the elephant-themed Chedi Club outside of Ubud, Bali is a particular favorite), and The Setai has long been considered the brand's flagship. It's a serene, Asian-inspired sanctuary amid the hub-bub of Miami's South Beach. (Side note: Did you know the word "Setai" is actually a made-up combo of the Balinese words for "south" and "beach", or SoBe? It's the Brangelina of hotel names...)
So as fans, it was with some trepidation we took the news that The Setai had left the GHM roster for the management of Dallas-based Trevi Luxury Hospitality Group. (Especially given the way it all went down.) With all the hotel buzz in Miami—including the arrival of instant-hotspot The James—was The Setai looking to pump up the volume? Were DJs going to appear in its mellow courtyard—or worse, would it make like its neighbors and start charging for beach chairs?
It's almost three years since we asked the question: What Is The Sense Hotel South Beach? We always thought that the Sense South Beach Hotel was in a great location--in the SoFi (South of Fifth Street) neighborhood and close to Ocean Drive. But it was under-the-radar and somewhat mysterious.
Until now! Like so many American Idol contestants before it, Sense has undergone a major transformation. It's even got a brand spankin' new name: Sense Beach House. (Reckon they're hoping people confuse it with Soho Beach House? Just maybe? )
We never stayed here in its former incarnation, but by the look of these pictures the hotel's PR team sent us, the place is now super cute and angling to appear in the pages of Coastal Living magazine. Check out the lobby...
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Inside an 8-bed room
No one ever got anywhere by calling something a "revolutionary concept." That phrase is played out right along with "funky fresh." Instead let us say this: if Freehand Miami plays its cards right and doesn't get too big for its britches (double idiom sentence!), it has the real potential to be crazy awesome and quickly multiply to conquer cities beyond Miami. Oh wait, that's exactly their plan (for 10 properties!), so what you're about to read is the future, baby.
The Freehand is a hostel with some private rooms and it's not trying to hide that fact. It is, however, a fancy hostel with an interior by Roman & Williams, staff uniforms designed by Timo Weiland, artwork by local Miami artists, and cocktails by Bar Lab.
Shared bunk rooms start at $21 a night (per person), while private rooms begin at $109 (per room). Beyond the rooms (8-bunk, 4-bunk, private king) the Freehand benefits from an inviting lobby, a bar (The Broken Shaker), back garden courtyard, a lovely pool, a side garden of table tennis and other yard games and, eventually, there'll even be a restaurant.
We stayed for three nights at the beginning of Art Basel, the week of their debut, paying a total of $122 for two people in the coed 8-bed room. We were however "upgraded" to a 4-bed room as the 8-beds weren't totally ready.
Seems like this is the week for Miami, as the southern city rolls out more hotel news. This time we’re told a new kid on the block wants to play with the big dogs. It’s called the b2 hotel, a new concept hotel from B Hotels & Resorts.
We have to remember not everyone wants to be beachside when visiting Miami, so this Downtown property, which opens in March, is of interest, especially to those who want to be in proximity to Biscayne Bay, the Port of Miami and the American Airlines Arena. Reservations opened yesterday for the 243-room hotel, which will court guests with its Blissful Bed (anyone ever slept on one of these?), free WiFi, and in-room Smart HD LED interactive televisions.
B2 will also feature a new restaurant from Jeffrey Chodorow of China Grill Management. Called Biscayne Tavern, the casual resto will have over 30 craft beers available that will go along with dishes like Oyster Po-Boys and short rib pot roast with truffle popovers. Special introductory offers will give up to 25% off on the best available rate for stays from March 1 through September 30, 2013.