33140 Travel Guide
The Freehand Miami won over HotelChatter contributor JetSetCD last year with their "funky fresh" hostel rooms and amenities, all at a very reasonable rate ($21 a night for a shared bunk room when JetSetCD was there) And it looks like other folks have been equally impressed because the Freehand just expanded its property.
The hostel acquired the building next door and has opened it up as the "Guest House" with nine Private King Rooms, five King Suites (a new room type) and one private Bungalow which can sleep four.
The Guest House is accessible through the existing Freehand courtyard so the lobby, the Broken Shaker bar and the pool aren't very far away at all. It's also across from the building that will house the Freehand's restaurant, which still hasn't opened but we're hearing it should debut later this year.
Rooms in the Guest House start this weekend at $60 for a dorm room and $224 for a private king room.
[Top Photo: Freehand Miami; Gallery Photos: Cynthia Drescher for HotelChatter]
At long last and a few delays, the Metropolitan by COMO in Miami Beach has opened its doors (on March 3rd to be exact.) And it wouldn't be a hotel opening without a Facebook page showing off some opening photos.
For starters, we're loving the elevator lobby with its bold lighting fixtures. We're also drooling over the fare from the Traymore restaurant and the serene pool scene. Oddly, the Facebook page doesn't have any photos of the guest room. You'll have to head over to the hotel's website for those.
All in all, the beachfront hotel has just 74 rooms with interiors done by Italian designer Paola Navrone using "pastel pink and sea-foam green" which sounds like it could be terribly wrong but actually looks so perfectly right. Simple but definitely stylish.
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When we put together our The Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings at the start of the year, we had a little bit of a mystery with the Hilton Cabana Miami Beach. At the time, we couldn't find out much information on this spot, only that it would open in Q3. But a lot can change in a year.
Not only does the hotel have website but we've heard that it will be soft-opening on December 16th.
The 10-story Art Deco building is located on Collins Avenue at 62nd Street (way north) but it's got prime beachfront property along Millionaire's Row. When finished, the hotel will have 231 guestrooms and a variety of suites spread out over Cabana-style buildings. Most of the rooms will have balconies from which you can gaze at either the sea or the pool. (We're digging the orange stripes and the cheeky photograph of two ladies fishing.) Also onsite will be two pools, Brasserie L'echon, an all-day dining spot, a lobby bar and both a business and fitness center.
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UPDATE 9.6.13: A rep for the hotel emailed us to say, "We're having our most successful year on record since reopening in 2008. We're averaging over 80% occupancy a year and have the highest revenues in the history of Fontainebleau. In fact, Fontainebleau is one of the most profitable non-casino hotels in the world." In other words, party on.
It's unbelievable that even in the face of financial troubles, Miami Beach's legendary Fontainebleau is still partying like all's right in the world.
The hotel capped off their summer of BleauLive concertsthis past weekend with a performance by singer Robin Thicke and Grammy-winning producer/musician Pharrell Williams. The duo took to the stage and performed their monster summer hit, "Blurred Lines."
Meanwhile, the details are equally blurry regarding the upcoming sale of The Fontainebleau to South Florida developer Turnberry Ltd. Dubai World, who has 50 percent stake in the hotel, has already unloaded other assets to repay $25 billion worth of debts, with the SoBe hotel the most recent on the chopping block.
According to an article in Reuters, the sale of the hotel will be completed in a few weeks, but the price is being kept hush hush according to their source, and Dubai World's spokesman would not comment.
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?