Biltmore Hotel in Miami
I’m back in New York and can honestly say I’m freezing after spending six days in warm and sunny Miami. The first part of the trip was a press trip to Art Basel with La Prairie and then I stayed the weekend at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Brickell Key which is conveniently located a few buildings away from my friend’s condo. We stopped by the Surf Club and visited Palm Beach on Saturday and then toured Vizcaya on Sunday before I flew home. (I will recap my entire trip soon.) Vizcaya is located in Coral Gables but I didn’t know about the recently renovated Biltmore Hotel was also in Coral Gables, until I read about it on ArchitecturalDigest.com this morning.
Land developer George E. Merrick founded the University of Miami and created Coral Gables with strict building codes to ensure the beautiful surroundings. In 1925, he joined forces with Biltmore hotel magnate John McEntee Bowman at the height of the Florida land boom to build “a great hotel…which would not only serve as a hostelry to the crowds which were thronging to Coral Gables but also would serve as a center of sports and fashion.”
The Biltmore was inspired by Spanish architecture including the main tower which was modeled after the Giralda in Seville. It debuted in 1926 “with a magnificent inaugural that brought people down from northern cities on trains marked “Miami Biltmore Specials.”
“In its heyday, The Biltmore played host to royalty, both Europe’s and Hollywood’s. The hotel counted the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Al Capone and assorted Roosevelts and Vanderbilts as frequent guests. Franklin D. Roosevelt had a temporary White House office set up at the Hotel for when he vacationed on his fishing trips from Miami. There were many gala balls, aquatic shows by the grand pool and weddings were de rigueur as were world class golf tournaments. A product of the Jazz Age, big bands entertained wealthy, well-traveled visitors to this American Riviera resort.”
The Biltmore Hotel fell into disrepair for many years and had many incarnations before it was returned to a world class resort again in the 1980’s. The most resent renovation modernized the rooms with more plugs and hurricane proof windows. I think the lobby and resort look lovely but the purple color scheme of the rooms looks a little to modern for the original Spanish architecture.
I might go back to Palm Beach and Miami in late January so I look forward to seeing the Biltmore Hotel in person then.