33139 Travel Guide
Today, we'd like to introduce our former Vegas Club Kid, BrandyAlxander, who's traded in The Strip in Sin City for Ocean Drive in Miami Beach where there is about the same amount of sinning but less amount of clothes. Here's her first report for us on her virgin South Beach experience.
We're already smitten with the lineup of South Beach's sexy hotels along Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive. Last week, we had our first foray into the Miami hotel scene with SLS South Beach.
Within minutes of entering the hotel, we found that its vibe is very much reflective of its clientele: posh, avant garde and expensive.
And, we wouldn't have it any other way! SLS is both gorgeous and quirky, with dramatic chandeliers, plush drapes, luchador mask-wearing bulls and Victorian portraits of chimps. (You kinda have to be there to grasp how cool it is.)
And on the expensive note, you can imagine our excitement upon learning Katsuya, the sushi restaurant inside SLS, hosts a daily Social Hour (aka happy hour) from 6-9 pm in the upper level of the restaurant. Half price starters and signature sushi along with cocktails in South Beach? We're so there. Our party arrived with just a few minutes left of the Social Hour, so naturally, we ordered as much off the menu as we could.
Here's a quick recap of the "mmm" and "meh" dishes we sampled. (You may want to take note especially as SLS and sbe keep on expanding their properties across the U.S and Katsuya is sure to come along.)
Here's another Miami Hotel Mambo move for you. As of just the other day, the Angler's Hotel on Washington Avenue, has become a Kimpton Hotel. This marks the third Kimpton Hotel in the Miami area. They already have the EPIC and the beachfront Surfcomber Hotel.
As far as we can see, not much has changed since we last stayed there.. There was an addition that opened in early 2008 and now, another expansion is planned for next year that will add 83 new rooms as well as a rooftop pool and a new lobby.
The Angler's has always had free WiFi but now you'll have to be a member of Kimpton's InTouch loyalty program to get it. The Angler's has also already begun Kimpton-izing the rest of the hotel to include hosted wine hour, yoga mats and animal-print bathrobes in the closet, a "You Forgot It, We Got It" list of complimentary toiletries and complimentary morning coffee and tea service from 6am to 10am every day.
Rates this weekend start at $339 a night.
If you drink too much and stumble down these steps, we promise to keep your secret. Because we're good like that.
We know there's a ton of other events happening this day (some lame, some kinda cool) but we'd love to meet you in real life. (Or at least, I would.) So come on out if you're free or looking for something to do before your next
Match.com Tinder date.
So if you love hotels, travel and drinking or if you just want the chance to say
FU hi to HotelChatter in person, come join us. We'll be Twittering (tweeting?) our arrival and of course, our observations but don't worry, we won't make you use some lame hashtag or anything.
When: Thursday, November 21
Where: Bar Centro at the SLS South Beach
Time: 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Who: For anyone in the hotel and travel business from travel writers to hotel employees to hotel geeks and even guests who just happen to be visiting the hotel that night. We wanna meet you all!
Now two years on, King & Grove is out at the Tides. They've removed the Miami property from their website and the Tides is just a stand-alone property. We're working on tracking down a reason for the split but King & Grove has been going through some big changes recently.
However, we bet the folks at Viceroy Hotels are fuming right now, especially since they had to de-brand their Tides Hotels spin-offs in Zihuatanejo, Rivera Maya and St. Lucia after they lost out on The Tides to K&G.
Whatever the reason for the switcheroo, it doesn't seem to be affecting the hotel's room rates. We found a "Best Available Rate" on their website this weekend for $525 a night. Fortunately, the WiFi is still free.
Big props to @DeeTCL for the heads-up
A long, long time ago we wondered if a Hyatt could be coming to South Beach? Well guess what? Yes, Hyatt will finally be strapping on their roller blades to go cruising down Ocean Drive. Ok, well maybe not quite Ocean Drive but close.
According to South Florida Business Journal, the property will open at 1600 Collins Ave. It will be a small hotel with only 105 rooms, an outdoor pool, fitness center and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. And we're guessing some muy caliente F&B options too.
Hotel Woes / Miami Hotel Mambo / Banksy / Hotel Fakes / South Beach Hotel Group / Hotel News / → All Tags
The Riviera South Beach was pretty proud of themselves for having scored some precious Banksy grafitti art tiles that are used in some of the public spaces, including lavatories, of their newest hotel addition. But The Miami New Times has discovered that these Banksy tiles are actually fake.
Apparently, the tiles were acquired from a Spanish company, Peronda, who has told the Miami New Times that the tiles are "Banksy-inspired" but are not actually his work. That's why the tiles are called, "Bansky." However, the Riviera South Beach's owners, the father-son team, Nathan and Alan Lieberman, believed that the tiles were really done by Banksy. In an email to the New Times' Ciara LaVelle, Alan Liberman wrotethe following:
Banksy was commissioned to do a series of different large tiles. There are a dozen different graffiti drawings of his most familiar and popular work. I was aware of his art being made available and contacted his agent and then placed the tiles throughout the new Riviera South Beach Hotel building's common areas.
Yet Banksy's own publicist has weighed in on the matter calling the tiles "fake." Whoops.
We're awaiting a reply from the hotel's PR rep but in the meantime, just know that you aren't in the presence of Banksy when going to the loo at the Riviera.
[Photo: Riviera South Beach]
UPDATE: The tiles are totally fake.
The stylish Riviera South Beach has just opened a third addition to their hotel complex, adding 43 new rooms for a total of 160.
The guestrooms in this entirely new building (the first of its kind for the South Beach Hotel Group) are described as "contemporary chic meets modern industrialism." True to that, the rooms feature chrome balconies and concrete ceilings which are softened by post-modern leather furniture, polished wooden floors and silk draperies. Amenities also include Tempurpedic pillow-top custom beds, oversized bathrooms with rainfall showers, 42" flat-screen TVs, bathrobes, slippers and C.O. Bigelow toiletries. Oh and we can't forget about the free WiFi.
But perhaps more exciting than having new rooms to lounge around in is the artistic touch of British street artist, Banksy, who signature surrealism and larger-then-life abstract artwork is featured on the tiling in some of the public spaces and bathrooms.
Miami Hotel Mambo / Nakash Family / THompson Hotels / Hotel Reopenings / Hotel Rebrandings / → All Tags
The other week we could scarcely believe the news that the new owners of Gianni Versace's South Beach mansion-turned-hotel would want to merge their new acquisition with their existing hotel--The Hotel Victor. After all, we though the Victor was supposed to be property of the Pomeranc brothers, formerly of Thompson Hotels.
But no, the Victor is now solely under the Nakash family who owns Jordache Enterprises. We know, Jordache Jeans and Versace in one place? Only in South Beach.
As for the Victor, the hotel has officially reopened after an impressive $8 million renovation that gave the hotel more of a "beachhouse vibe" with new guestrooms and oceanfront suites as well as an updated pool scene and cabanas, and a new lobby designed by Yabu Pushelberg. Amenities now include free WiFi, communal computers and complimentary beach cruisers, which let's face it, is the fastest way to get around South Beach in high season. Unless you've brought your own rollerblades, of course.
Fall has only just begun but there's a very good reason to start thinking about your winter getaway to South Beach now--the opening of the Metropolitan by COMO Hotel.
We've heard that the opening date is now December 15th although the website is not taking reservations just yet so no hint as to what the rooms will cost on opening night (to make your rezzies, email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The 71-room hotel will open inside the former 1930s-era Traymore hotel. HotelChatter swung by the site in early August and reported on what's to be inside:
Like most COMO properties, the hotel's design will be understated, but still ooze luxury. The particular peppermint green and grey colors and contemporary white marble and chrome interior come courtesy of Italian designer Paola Navone, who amazingly enough is simultaneously working on the Point Yamu by COMO resort in Phuket, scheduled to open in November.
In addition to direct beach access (a door which will no doubt be guarded heavily from public foot access) and a 20-meter private pool, there will be a top-floor COMO Shambhala Urban Escape spa with four treatment rooms, a rooftop hydrotherapy pool, and free daily yoga and Pilates classes. Plus there will be a juice bar where guests can take in the ocean-blue view while sipping smoothies.
Hotel Rumors / Hotel News / Miami Hotel Mambo / Joe Nakash / Jason Pomeranc / Eric Trump / Trump Hotels / → All Tags
Some crazy news out of Miami yesterday. Gianni Versace's former South Beach residence, Casa Casuarina, was sold yesterday for $41.5 million to a company called VM South Beach LLC, whose principals include the Nakash Family, who in turn own Jordache jeans. Versace being taken over by Jordache? We never thought this day would happen. But wait, there's even more shocking news.
Most recently, Versace's abode had been a 10-room boutique hotel called The Villa By Barton G. Before that it was a members-only club by the name of Casa Casauarina. Now, the new owners plan on turning it into a hotel (again) and they want to merge it with another one of the properties they own--The Hotel Victor which sits next door.
But wait, isn't the Victor about to turn into a
Civilian Hotel new hotel from the Thompson Hotel founders? That's what we thought. But the Nakash family, who also own the Breakwater and Hotel Ocean, is saying they want to merge the two properties and rebrand the whole shebang using the Versace name.
'We'd like the public to use it, so we're going to create a hotel that will be consolidated with the Victor,' Nakash said. 'We're going to use the name Versace after we receive OK from the family.'
Ay dios mio. Mamma mia. We need a drink.
We can't say it enough, Miami is hot right now, and not just temperature wise. Not only are hotels popping up left and right, but celebrities are flocking down to South Beach in droves. And the interesting thing is--this is considered low season, where the star sightings are usually pretty slim.
First Bethenny Frankel Tweeted about heading down to sunny Florida yesterday:
Ok MIAMI ( @Fontainebleau beach) bring me a pink cocktail umbrella. I will be there closer to 2pm!— Bethenny Frankel (@Bethenny) August 13, 2013
Now we've just found out Emmy-award winning actress Kristen Chenoweth was at the W South Beach this past weekend celebrating her assistant and best friend Julie Trussell’s, bachelorette party.
Check out a few photos of Kristen basking in the SoBe sun.
In May we mentioned that The Redbury South Beach, sister property to The Redbury Hollywood and Vine in L.A. was scheduled to open this fall. The ownership details of the new sbe hotel are here, but long story short--and probably most important--is Redbury guests will enjoy plenty of perks, including access to the pools and restaurants of the nearby SLS and The Raleigh hotels.
Since we've been in Miami checking out so much of the construction scene and news, we decided to take a look at the progress of the Redbury's conversion of the old Art Deco Fairfax Hotel.
Right now it's a busy construction site, but a cool HC fan let us take a sneak peek around the 69-room property.