Skip to main content

Old Miami Is New Again: The Biltmore Miami Coral Cables

Old Miami Is New Again:
The Biltmore Miami Coral Cables

New hotels are nothing new in Miami, where areas like Collins Avenue and the Design District seem to welcome another shiny new hotel opening on the reg. The Biltmore Miami offers a distinctly different experience, now boasting a tony $25 million renovation, a project that took about 18 months to complete in stages.
Biltmore Miami, Coral Cables
When real estate developer George Merrick arrived in what is now Coral Gables, Florida, in the early 1920s, there was nothing to see but the bounty that Mother Nature blessed Florida with. What his real estate developer's imagination saw was a Mediterranean style fantasy, a home and playground for America's newly minted wealth.

He built the Biltmore as the flagship of one of America's first planned neighbourhoods, and with its 315-foot tower, it was the first structure to grace what is now an upscale hood. It was also the tallest building in Florida at the time it was built in 1926.

The architecture was modeled after La Giralda, the famous bell tower of the Seville Cathedral in Spain, and the interior was decorated with Spanish tiles and Moor inspired frescoes. The hotel served as the home away from home for the rich and famous, including President Roosevelt, Judy Garland, and Ginger Rogers. Johnny Weissmuller toiled as a swimming instructor before his glory days as Tarzan on the silver screen. Today, it's still a favourite haunt of celebs like Jennifer Lopez and Bill Clinton. The hotel's hallways are hung with photographs of its famous occupants, and the guestbook is also on display.

Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables, filmed in the 1940's by Pedro Serramalera Olivé

During WWII, the hotel was taken over by the War Department, and converted into an army hospital, renamed in 1946 to Pratt General Hospital. Many of the windows were sealed, and the gorgeous marble floors were covered in linoleum. By 1973, the Army had left, and the building's ownership was transferred to the City of Coral Cables. Sadly, it was empty for about a decade before reopening as a hotel on New Year's Eve 1987. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
Biltmore Miami Coral Cables - renovated lobby
The recent renovations walked a delicate balance between preserving the hotel's rich history and updating for modern conveniences. The colour palette is jewel tones that reflect Merrick's original Mediterranean dreams, and rich detail like the carved wood panel elevators have been refurbished - to the tune of about $500K each - alongside glorious new details like the richly hued custom carpeting, colourful frescoes, silk curtains, and new chandeliers that recreate the older ones in reverse. Beautiful birdcages house the finches that have become iconic residents of the Biltmore. The hotel has a resident restoration and fresco expert on hand for regular maintenance and repairs.

Biltmore Miami is an enormous property, with 275 rooms. The pool alone measures half a square mile, and is filled with 600,000 gallons of water - at one time, the largest swimming pool in the world. The 18-hole golf course - itself the subject of $3 million of renovations - was designed by Donald Ross, who also designed Pinehurst in North Carolina, and other U.S. Open venues. The golf course reopened in January 2019. The renovations touched every one of the guest rooms, along with all the public areas of the hotel, including upgrading to hurricane-proof windows.
Biltmore Miami Coral Gables, Fontana Italian Restaurant
There are four restaurants inside the hotel, including casual dining that overlooks the golf course and pool, the Fontana specializing in Italian cuisine, and the upscale Palme d'Or restaurant, with a menu of French classics by chef Gregory Pugin. Guests can choose from two servings of high tea in the opulent lobby, and a Sunday brunch that has become legendary in the city.

There's no place quite like it, in Miami or anywhere else.

Images courtesy of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitor's Bureau


Popular posts from this blog

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Film News - imagineNATIVE Embargo Collective at the Berlin Film Fest

Hot Off the Presses:
(and gosh, doesn't that expression sound quaint these days?)

to have its European Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival 2010
(Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin 11.-21.02.10)

(Toronto, February 3rd, 2010) The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is pleased to announce the official selection of the festival’s Embargo Collective programme for the Forum Expanded section of this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. This programme of works was commissioned by the imagineNATIVE festival for its 10th anniversary and will have its European premiere Monday, February 15th, 8.30pm at Cinema Arsenal 2 and a repeat screening Wednesday, February 17th, 4pm at CinemaxX 6.

Curated by imagineNATIVE’s Artistic Director Danis Goulet, the Embargo Collective is an international group of seven Indigenous artists at the forefront of the changing global landscape of Indigenous cinema. Inspired by Lars von Trier’s The Five Obstructi…

Guitar Rock | Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds Independent: May 31, 2019

Guitar Rock
Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds
Independent: May 31, 2019
Stream/Buy on Bandcamp
Stream it on Spotify

With tight musicians and intriguing lyrics, Happy Freuds delivers high energy guitar rock with stylistic flair on Echo Of Sounds, their debut release. Produced with a minimum of overdubs or fixes, the album consists of a mix of original material, rearrangements of works from others and selected, less known, classic rock.

A kinetic rhythm section is the bones of the music, offering interesting patterns that augment sometimes unexpected harmonic changes. It's brainy rock, in other words, meant for music lovers who can appreciate the quality. Teo's vocals are raspy and expressive, growly when necessary - perfect for the musical mode. Teo also covers lead guitar, adapt at ear worm leads, with a tone that can be clean or dirty as required

Their sound ranges from straight up hard rock in tracks like The Mountain to the pop-flavoured acoustic Background Noise and folky To …