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Finding a hotel room is easy. Simply go on the Internet or use your smartphone and voila! You're booked. But if you are only interested in new hotels, then that's a different story. Luckily, you have us. And we're obsessed with new hotels. Here's a list of hotels that have opened or are opening this month (and a few that aren't going to make it.) Got a new hotel to add? Send it to us!
· HYATT CENTRIC SOUTH BEACH: At long last, Hyatt's millennial brand in Miami is open at 1600 Collins Avenue. You can read more about what's inside the hotel here and brush up on the Centric brand here. Room rates for tonight, which is the official opening night, start at $219 a night, excluding taxes. There's also a $20 resort fee which includes premium internet, two beach chairs and towels and other services.
· THE GREGORY NYC: Well, this was a surprise opening. Just last week, we learned what kind of man Gregory would be when the hotel opening this summer. But looking today, reservations are open tomorrow for $389.20 a night, before taxes, for a tailored king bed room with a sleeper sofa. That also includes free WiFi and a mini-fridge. We'll take it!
· ALOFT SOUTH BEACH: For some reason, the Aloft missed yet another opening date. Instead of opening as promised on May 28, it will now open on June 4. We'll keep our fingers crossed but our expectations low, especially since the website says rooms are not available for June 4. However, we did find rooms open in mid-June for $199 a night before taxes. There's also a daily resort fee of $20. UPDATE: Aloft is getting closer to opening, but not quite there yet.
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The season is winding down in Florida but the hotel scene in Miami remains hot, especially when it comes to new hotels.
Construction has been underway on the former Ankara Motel for a few years now (here's what it looked like when our Miami spy walked by it last July) but Aloft is nearly ready to show off its restoration efforts (the Ankara was built in 1954) as well as its new interiors.
Here's some info on what Aloft saved from the Ankara days and what they added in:
Components of the hotel that have retained their original form include the classic brick walls of the Historic Wing, refurbished Ankara Motel signage and the pool shape. Inside, modern design takes center stage as a translucent staircase welcomes guests into the thriving two-story atrium with custom leather wrapping and a striking light fixture inspired by drum cymbals. Additionally, the bar and lounge features a custom chandelier by Yellow Goat Design made of 1,000 colored acrylic lighting rods descending from the ceiling.
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But now it's time to start planning a sweltering summer break in Miami, because reservations are now open for July 6.
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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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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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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!
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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!
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.)
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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Yesterday was the official last day of existence for the James Royal Palm Hotel in Miami.
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?
Miami Hotel Mambo dances again!
The 393-room beachfront Collins Avenue hotel was recently sold to Chesapeake Lodging Trust, who have named HEI Hotels & Resorts as the manager with Starwood Hotels & Resorts as the franchisor. Here's the official farewell notice from The James as posted on their website:
While we maintain our commitment to community, art and design, we will be moving on from Miami - as of March 9, The James Royal Palm will no longer be part of The James Hotels. Endless thanks to the South Beach community, our local partners and especially to you - our guests - for supporting us as we evolve. During our time in Miami, we were proud to be acknowledged by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Fodor’s and Forbes.
We hope you’ll join us for inspired James experiences in Chicago and New York, and look forward to welcoming you at The James Los Angeles in 2016.
All existing reservations will be honored, and we hope you enjoy your stay on South Beach. Should you have any questions about an upcoming reservation in Miami, please call the hotel directly at 305-604-5700.
South Florida is not short on golf resorts with championship golf courses, but only the Trump National Doral outside of Miami has bragging rights to the new Jack Nicklaus Villas, a collection of 172 guest rooms and suites with views of the resort's famed "Blue Monster" golf course which Nicklaus frequently played, and won.
The villas, a part of the $250 million renovation Trump has done on the property, were designed by architects WATG with interiors by Ivanka Trump who went with her usual elegant palette of ivory and champagne with a bit of caramel mixed in. Mahogany wood and gold leaf Spanish revival details were also added and each room features photos and mementos of Nicklaus' career.
In short, it feels more like a Trump Hotel than a themed-golf suite and that's a good thing. If you've had a bad back nine, the last thing you want to see when you get back is more reminders of your crappy play.