Checking In With The Hotel on South Beach
801 Collins Ave., along with the new three-story oceanfront addition at 800 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; thehotelofsouthbeach.com; 305-531-2222; 877-843-4683
Back story: Built in 1939 by master architect L. Murray Dixon, The Hotel originally was named The Tiffany. After being purchased by developer/preservationist Tony Goldman and daughter Jessica Goldman Srebnick, American clothing designer Todd Oldham was tapped to craft the hotel's interior. The newly christened Hotel of South Beach opened in November 1998.
This was perhaps the first time a fashion designer had been given such a charge, and the results are evident in the colors, shapes and textures that captivate the senses while conveying the jewel theme suggested by the original name. Features such as Oldham's artisanal tiles and mosaics mesh artfully with original hotel features including keystone, terrazzo floors, and ziggurat and gem designs.
A 20-room oceanfront addition, also designed by Oldham, was introduced in December 2009.
Just for fun: Luxuriate in the rooftop emerald-shaped lap pool during the day. Featuring an outdoor shower with Todd Oldham designed tiles and flooring made from recycled materials, the area has an expansive ocean view designed to evoke the feeling of being on a cruise ship. Work out at the gym while enjoying a view of the pool, or try the free yoga class offered Saturdays. Don't miss "electronic" cocktails beneath the glowing Tiffany sign at the Spire Bar. The drinks' color-changing ice cubes are good for a grin.
Sleep well: The environment is the inspiration for rooms at The Hotel, which feature a cool palette of ocean blues and greens, with the average size just under 300 square feet. Rooms at the addition are warm-toned, evoking the Miami sunset with coral, red, orange and touches of brown and gray. The average room size is 400 square feet. There are four spacious suites at The Hotel, and two, two-bedroom oceanfront terrace suites at the addition. Little touches abound in the rooms at The Hotel and the addition, including floor-to-ceiling mirrors, signature window seats, flat-screen televisions, complimentary amenities by The White Company of London, as well as complimentary WI-FI, and iPod stations.
Eat, drink and be merry: Italian-born chef Marco Ferraro uses locally grown, organic produce at Wish. Choose to dine al fresco, amid lush greenery and strings of twinkle lights; indoors beneath a colorful array of Italian lanterns; or at one of the cozy chef's tables situated across from the 1,000 bottle-strong wine cellar. Ferraro, along with new pastry chef Anastazia N.C. Carter, introduced new menu items including sun choke soup with brioche croutons, caraway seeds, chive oil and micro greens, and guava yuzu cheesecake with cookie crust, almond crumble, macerated star fruit and elderflower-basil syrup.
Attractions: The addition is above the iconic News Cafe, and both properties are steps from the beach and at the center of SoBe's fashion and entertainment district.
Accolades: In 1999, The Hotel was named one of 31 new top hotels worldwide by Conde Nast Traveler magazine, and in 2007 appeared on the magazine's Gold List. The Hotel, along with its indoor/outdoor restaurant, Wish, received the AAA Four Diamond Rating. Wish also has garnered 10 consecutive Mobil Four Star Awards (2001-2010) and is consistently rated in the top five on all major Zagat's categories.
Prices: Rates for The Hotel and its oceanfront addition range from $225 to $545 high season, and $195 to $415 off season, exclusive of a 13 percent hotel tax. Valet parking is $25 per day.
— Tracey Broussard