Biltmore Miami Adds to Storied History with $25M Renovation
The Grande Dames don’t often get facelifts, but when they do, their unveiling becomes a must-see event. Few iconic hotels in America match the panache of the Biltmore Hotel Miami, established in 1926 and a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. This Coral Gables masterpiece continues to define luxury in a city that knows its way around style. The $25 million reimagining is not only touching the Biltmore’s famous classically designed rooms and public spaces, but also the 1925 golf course, which is being restored to its original Donald Ross design. The more things dazzle here, the more taste stays the same.
The Biltmore Miami has always stood in rarefied company, a mélange of old-world glamour and svelte elegance. The room’s plum and silver themes, together with golden accents, suggest royalty—after all, everyone from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Al Capone has slept here. The fabrics and furniture suggest a grande maison more than a 273-room hotel. Here, chandeliers hover above the beds and plush carpets; there, cut velvets, embroidered damask, and framed artwork complete the portrait.
The interiors were created by D’Shakil Designs and Studio 5 Design + Architecture. The fact that nearly half of the rooms are actually suites also speaks to the level of luxury and well-met guest expectations. The luxurious rooms also feature Jerusalem stone tile floors and some balconies as well as all the amenities one associates with a premier property on the U.S. Registry of Historic Places.
“We sought to integrate the current yet elegant feel our team brought to the main lobby while honoring the legendary architectural details George Merrick envisioned for the grand resort in relation to the Coral Gables community as a whole,” says Dee Malone, Principal, D’Shakil Designs.
The significance of such history is never lost on guests here, from the moment they approach the 93-foot copper-colored tower, modeled after the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain. The hotel rooms and public areas reflect this legacy, inspired by founder George Merrick’s devotion to the South Florida landscape. Note the sage green, suggestive of area foliage, and the deep greens, which call to mind the branches overhanging Coral Gables’ “canopy roads.” Architectural inlays are reminiscent of the Mediterranean aesthetic—Moorish with Italian accents—that infused the hotel’s original vision.
The Biltmore Miami was designed to be larger than life and was once home to three orchestras, high-diving contests, and, yes, international polo matches. The intention remains. Witness the dining options, from formal Palme D’Or to Romantic al Frescoe Fontana, poolside Cascade or casual Golf 19th Hole, elegant Cellar Club, and forever popular Biltmore Bar, an evening gathering spot for the world’s astute travelers since the famed hotel first opened her doors. Naturally, private and in-room dining is available. High tea is served, as is the iconic Sunday brunch.
The polo grounds have departed. However, the Donald Ross restoration will draw golf enthusiasts from around the world and, it is rumored, from the PGA Champions Tour. Among the most storied names in golf architecture, Donald Ross composed 18-hole narratives on his courses, every chapter leading to the next, the greens as subtle as a haiku. The restored course will see the original bunkering—punctuation, if you will—that takes one on a journey from tee to green. This colorful rendering of the master’s blueprint will once again demand every club in your bag. It is fitting that the Biltmore course plays home to the University of Miami’s women’s team: George Merrick founded the storied university, too. The Jim McLean Golf School headquartered is also here, and no doubt renowned players will join names such as Woods, Fowler, Kerr, and Park, all of whom have challenged this course which ultimately is extended to over 7,100 yards in this restoration process to make it PGA championship worthy.
Golf is hardly the only game on, or below, the grounds. The 23,000-square-foot pool, holding 600,000 gallons of water, remains among the largest in North America, its classical design, replete with waterfall, the site of selfies and cinema. The spa offers still more respite, with a wide swath of signature treatments. Should you demand more activity to your day, the Culinary Academy and fitness center await. The Biltmore Miami also maintains a partnership with Dragonfly Expeditions, South Florida’s premier outfitter for ecotourism. Of course, the world-class concierges are on hand to arrange any adventure, from fishing excursions to exclusive Art and Design Tours, and every fathomable tour in between.
To say staying at the Biltmore Miami is all about the experience would take away from the comforts, the elegant interiors, and sophisticated menus, among other amenities. The Biltmore Miami provides an increasingly rare opportunity, the chance to step into history while luxuriating in the present time.
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