33139 Travel Guide - Page 2
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.
A month ago we told you South Beach's historic Hotel Victor would undergo a huge change--they'd become a Thompson Hotel. Joining such a prestigious group would have been a welcome face-lift for the weary Victor, especially in a town where there's a new hotel or refurb on nearly every block.
But, the partnership to become Thompson Ocean Drive apparently wasn't meant to be because it was recently announced the deal was off. The Hotel Victor will remain with owners Pomeranc brothers who have sold the Thompson name in their portfolio. The details of that tale are here. Meanwhile, the Hotel Victor will eventually be branded under a new hotel company thanks to the assistance of former Thompson CEO Stephen Brandman, who's paired up with the Pomeranc brothers. The name of this new company? TBD. Dazzling news.
However, renovations started six months ago and the Victor officially closed in April, so it was decided to finish what had been started and run the property under the Commune brand until told otherwise. But the name will remain Hotel Victor. Period.
Get all that? No? You're not the only one. To say it's been an adjustment for everyone is an understatement.
We were fortunate enough to look at the progress and we must say, it's looking good!
Take a look at our photos and see the transformation in progress!
They're expanding and bringing their upscale brand to U.S. for the first time--and they've chosen Miami's historic Collins Avenue to do so. Taking over the former 1930s Traymore hotel--the plan is to transform it into the 74-room Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach Reveal date? December 2013, just in time for high season, when everyone's looking to escape the cold. Pretty ambitious given the project only started in January, but thanks to the hiring of two construction companies, the development is progressing nicely.
HC was recently in towni getting the scoop on all the Miami Hotel Mambo going on, and we were allowed to take a hard-hat tour of the upcoming beachside beauty.
We'll be honest, we're unsure the Metropolitan can adhere to the COMO Shambhala wellness concept made famous at some of our favorite tranquil places like the brand's Parrot Cay and Bali resorts. After all, this is South Beach, not exactly known for its zen environment. But if COMO has been able to bring a piece of peace to its hotels in London and Bangkok, we suppose we should have some faith.
Here's some show-and-tell on what COMO has planned for their Miami Beach baby.
Hotel Closings / Miami Hotel Mambo / Hotel News / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Hotel Renovations / Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Woes / → All Tags
It may be the offseason in Miami but in this town, the hotel drama never slows down. First up, a major hotel closure.
The National Hotel on Collins Avenue was shut down by the city for failing "numerous" safety inspections.
The Miami Herald writes:
Jacques Roy, the National general manager, said the 154-room hotel could reopen as soon as next week once it resolves unspecified safety and building-code issues with Miami Beach. The city’s fire marshal and building department declared the hotel unsafe after recent inspections, according to Miami Beach spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez. In an email, Rodriguez said “it will not reopen until all work is completed.” The 1939 hotel has been undergoing lengthy renovations.
While the hotel's general manager sounded optimistic that the hotel would reopen soon, in the meantime, all 74 of the hotel's employees have been laid off with no hint as to when they might start again.
Usually the Thompson Hotel Group is very chatty when it comes to their projects, except when it comes to this one—transforming Miami Beach’s legendary Hotel Victor into the new Thompson Ocean Drive.
Though we mentioned this story in 2011, we’ve been asking questions for nearly a month on news regarding the last phase of this development since the hotel was to originally be re-branded in early 2012. Plus there was the issue of the name change which kept going back and forth and at one point was referred to as Hotel Victor, a Thompson Hotel. Obviously that’s been rethought. Construction will soon be completed and the grand re-opening is scheduled for mid-August.
However, the Art Deco property is still being referred to as the Hotel Victor, even on the Thompson Hotels’ own website, which is odd. However, given that no one on the Thompson public relations team has returned any of our communication, we can’t be shocked there may be a bit of disconnect, especially when the company is also focusing on growing its Commune Hotels brand, thanks to its merge with the Joie de Vivre hotel group.
It's officially off-season in Miami and that means the Miami Hotel Mambo is heating up. In this week's number, Miami man Gregg Rory Holland told us that The Perry South Beach which once upon a time not too long ago used to be known as The Gansevoort has closed down for a $100 million renovation.
That's big news in itself. But what's even bigger about it is that the hotel will reopen as a 1 Hotels and Residences from Barry Sternlicht. This will be the first 1 Hotel to open and it will have 417 hotel rooms and 163 residential units.
For the hotel noobz out there, Sternlicht introduced his luxury 1 Hotels concept back in 2006. But the brand was whacked down by the economic fallout of 2008. It took a while but there have been encouraging signs of life again, with 1 Hotels and its sister luxury brand, Baccarat Hotels, planning to open five new hotels by 2015--two of which will be in NYC.
And now the 1 Hotel South Beach is poised to open in 2014.
We let you know last week about more and more hotels getting involved in cool collaborations with fashion companies and the like. Now we've learned of another pairing--this time with another of our favorite funky brands, the W Hotel Group. Known for throwing a good party and surprising us left and right with amenities up the ying yang (please don't ever break up with Bliss y'all) , now they're getting in bed with Manhattan-based lingerie designer Arielle Shapiro of ARI DEIN.
The W South Beach Hotel has a special July promo where guests who check into one of the 31 VIP suites like the E-WOW (we've shown you how New York gets down with that suite) gets a custom-designed, take-home ARI DEN pajama set. If you aren't aware of the designer, Arielle's work is a celeb fave, and her clothes appeared many a time on Gossip Girl. Seems like Blaire Waldorf had a thang for the line.
We do too, as it goes, for the pajamas. This 100% cotton short-sleeve and matching shorts number for the W South Beach is a deep heather-grey color with bright pink accents. Kinda girly, but not gaggingly so, it seems right on for hot summer nights when you're forced to wear something to sleep in for decency's sake.
First off, The Redbury South Beach will open this fall. Wham, bam, thank you mam! As you can see from the Twitpic from @DeeTCL, work is already underway. (The hotel is opening out of the old Fairfax Hotel.)
Word is the design will be inspired by its Hollywood roots but will also weave in the art deco vibe of South Beach. All in all, the hotel will have 69 rooms and suites.
Restauranteurs Larry Levy and Bob Heyat are responsible for bringing in the hip food & beverage offerings including the lobby restaurant, Lorenzo, which will be helmed by James Beard Award-winning Chef Tony Mantuano who has four great restaurants in Chicago, include Spiagia and Terzo Piano at the Art Institute. As you can guess, the restaurantwill serve up authentic Italian cuisine.
[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.
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 big news for the Delano Hotel South Beach, a hotel that's been a Miami institution since, well, forever-and-a-day. Their owner, NYC-based Morgans Hotel Group announced it's selling its stakes in the hotel and associates The Light Group, and would offer $100 million to help settle the current debt of $230 million to a buyer. Whoa.
The hotel group has apparently been trying to unload the Delano since 2002, and has apparently posted a financial loss since 2007, according to OTK Associates LLC, the largest shareholder of Morgans Hotel Group Co. So, no doubt they had a hand in pressuring Morgans to dump the Delano, pronto.
Morgans has signed agreements with The Yucaipa Companies, a firm owned by uber-wealthy Ron Burkle, to desist Yucaipa's interest in Morgans stock, stock warrants, and convertible notes, and instead take ownership of the Delano and the Light Group. However, Morgans would still operate the Delano thanks to a pre-agreement asking for long-standing management agreement.
Are you hella confused yet? No worries, we were too, and had to read this manifesto post-and-pre-cocktail time. So we're agree there are no plain words to explain this business. But hold on, keep still, there's more after the jump.