33140 Travel Guide
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."
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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.
Every so often we highlight a post, photo, or review from one of our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you.
Here’s a pic from our Facebook friend Gregg Rory Holland, who sent this room key snap from Miami’s Fontainebleau Hotel. He joked(?) that maybe it was the room key of Nick Saban, head coach of University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide team.
Funny enough, today on our Twitter feed, follower @nickpastula posted “Bama is staying at the lux Fontainebleau, Irish family friendly Westin” when referring to the BCS National Championship. Of course, “Irish”, of course, refers to Notre Dame, who apparently isn't get all fancy with their quarters, and their players haven't been banned from getting ESPN in their hotel rooms like Dirk, uh, Nick supposedly ordered!
Narcy Novack, wife of Fontainebleau hotel heir Ben Novack, was sentenced to life in prison yesterday for plotting the murder of her wealthy husband and his mother Bernice in July 2009.
Ben Novack, 53 at the time of his death, was the son of Ben Novack Sr., who built Miami Beach’s famed Fontainebleau hotel in 1954, a Collins Avenue institution that has seen everyone from the Rat Pack to Juvenile.
In a twisted, mind-boggling crime that involved hit men, Narcy Novack and her brother Cristobal Veliz were eventually convicted of the murder of Ben Novack at the Hilton Rye Town hotel. The details are gruesome and said to be the final revenge from Nancy’s year’s of suffering through Ben Novack's sexual perversions and notorious cheating, including a long-time affair with a former porn star and prostitute.
Narcy's long list of charges include domestic violence, stalking, money laundering and witness tampering in order to gain fortune.
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About a month ago, we reported that Marriott was suing the pants off Eden Roc for attempting to kick Marriott out during an "egregious raid in the pre-dawn hours"—something that sounds good on paper, or maybe in a Nicholas Cage movie, but isn't actually that practical in real life.
Well, now, after Marriott took the Eden Roc owners to court, a judge has decreed that Marriott is still the legal manager of the hotel, and cannot be removed by any underhanded sneak tactics. Well, those weren't the judge's words per se, but you get the gist.
Interestingly, the judge, New York State Supreme Court Justice Melvin L. Schweitzer—we'll just call him Melve—made it known that he actually took a personal interest in the case, having spent some time at the Eden Roc himself. In an aside, Melve mentioned he was "a fan of Eden Roc from years back when I passed over Fontainebleau and went next door." But both Marriott and Eden Roc were too busy making nana-poo-poo faces at each other to acknowledge the compliment.
BusinessWeek reports that some shady business went down in Miami Beach the other week. Well, in addition to whatever other shady business goes down there regularly. But, in this case, the perpetrator was Eden Roc, who attempted to pull off a Waikiki-style shakedown, launching an "egregious raid in the pre-dawn hours" on October 14.
Though the shakedown wasn't successful, it got the message across to Marriott, who's now seeking help from the court to prevent Eden Roc from trying again.
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The ever-wandering Kardashians have descended upon Miami—again.
Since we're assuming you follow the show as religiously as us, we don't need to remind you Khloe and Kim already "took" the city back in 2010, and now it's Kourtney and Kim's turn, as E! announced a new spinoff, Kourtney and Kim Take Miami will premiere in January.
On Saturday, all three sisters turned up the Eden Roc: film crew, fluffy white kitten, newborn baby, and all. But before you start reaching for the phone to cancel your reservation and find another Miami hotel far, far away from the Kardashian k-ortège, rest assured: this is only a temporary pit stop. At least until their house, which TMZ estimates is worth close to $6 million, is all set up and ready to go. So, isn't that a relief?
Another night at LIV at The Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, another crazy event goes down.
This time it was rapper Juvenile who was involved in some sort brawl at LIV that spilled outside to the front of the hotel, according to TMZ. And things got kind of scary:
Security told police the people involved in the fight were "creating a threat to life and property as well as the overall safety of the patrons inside."
The rapper, who had reunited with former bandmate Lil' Wayne earlier in the evening onstage at LIV, was arrested by Miami PD and hauled to jail.
Being one of the most popular nightclubs in Miami, LIV certainly has seen its share of wild action from the Miami Heat celebrating their championship win to Lebron's mom's bad behavior and even to some natural destruction. So we had to wonder, does any of this nightclub drama affect a hotel stay, especially if there's a brawl breaking out while guests are waking up for breakfast?
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Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the Miami Heat team finally captured the NBA Championship last night over the Oklahoma City
Zombie Sonics Thunder in Miami and once the celebrations moved out of the American Airlines Arena, the ballers took their partying to the LIV nightclub at The Fontainebleau, arguably the hottest nightclub in Miami depsite having been open for a few years now.
And here's exactly how they spent their night up in the club:
LeBron James with fiancé Savannah Brinson were greeted at the luxurious resort around 3AM to club goers chanting MVP as bottles of Ace of Spades Champagne arrived. Teammates Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh along with their significant others Gabrielle Union and Adrienne Bosh arrived with Heat owner Micky Arison to the sounds of DJ IRIE spinning at the party.
Wade revealed to the crowed his new Twitter hash tag , #LMT stands for "Love my Team" just as James grabbed the mic and took the LIV stage rapping to Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Ball So Hard," DJ Khaled's "All I Do is Win" and the obvious, Queen's "We Are the Champions." In a final surprise moment, electropop duo LMFAO took the stage to perform for the winning team and the still raucous crowd at 4:50AM.
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Ruh-roh. There's even more trouble in Miami Beach.
Just after we learned about the Setai Shakedown, we saw that the owners of another Miami hotel that made our sexiest bathrooms list, The Eden Roc Renassiance Hotel, are now suing Marriott Hotels and their Renaissance brand for grossly mismanaging the hotel after an extensive renovation. Business Week has this choice bit from the hotel owners' lawsuit:
“In the face of Renaissance’s failures, Eden Roc has quite literally shoveled money into the project to make up for Renaissance’s incompetence,” Eden Roc said in the complaint. “And while Eden Roc loses its shirt, Renaissance and its parent company and guarantor, Marriott International, have lined their pockets with management fees.”
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Wow, King & Grove sure is growing fast. The still-new hospitality company with two properties in Montauk and one in Miami has hotels in the works in L.A. and New York City. But what's this? It looks like there could be a second Miami hotel coming to their portfolio, too.
We heard a rumor that King and Grove was working on renovating Miami's Versailles Hotel (formerly a condo-hotel), which is located on Collins Avenue in the 30s. Positioned to become the hot new spot on Miami Beach, the stretch is already home to The Palms and The Edition South Beach, with Faena Saxony (the hotel formerly known as Cipriani Miami) on the way. Adding a King and Grove property to the mix would cement this as the most exciting couple of blocks in Miami Hotel Land.
UPDATE 3.19.12: This property will definitely NOT be an Ace Hotel.
A recent blog post on design site, PSFK had our hearts aflutter with this headline, "Ace Hotel Miami Tests Whether Or Not Room Color Effects Your Mood" but when we clicked to read the story, it was actually about a color project at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs. Not sure why PSFK messed up the headline but we started to wonder if an Ace Hotel really was coming to Miami.
That curiosity lead us to this post from Miami Rankings which had some good scoop:
We aren’t getting an Ace Hotel here in Miami but the Indian Creek Hotel on South Beach is going to be renovated and reopening as an upscale hostel (note the errant ‘s’ in that word) that is owned by the same folks who own the Ace Hotel in NYC and Palm Springs. But here’s the fun part–the Sydell Group’s properties include the following restaurants: The Breslin Bar and Dining Room, The John Dory Oyster Bar, No. 7 Sub, and others. Anticipated opening date: Fall 2012.