One of the biggest stories in the world of hotels is the “refresh” of the famed Fontainebleau Hotel on the narrow spit of Miami Beach, Florida.
Built in 1954, the Fontainebleau was designed by famed architect Morris Lapidus. For years it was considered the crown jewel of “Millionaires Row” and was the setting for films like the James Bond classic Goldfinger and Al Pacino’s Scarface.
For all of that glamor, the years took their toll on the Fontainebleau. I stayed there in 2004 for a work conference, and by then it was aging behemoth. Although the curving facade of the exterior was still dazzling, the inside was a frumpy mess of worn carpeting and dowdy furnishings.
The property was purchased in 2005 by developers, and all but shut down between 2006 and 2008. One billion — yes, with a “b” — dollars later, the Grande Dame has been transformed back into the Sexy Vamp of her younger days.
The renovation and expansion brings the number of guest rooms and suites up to 1,504 across 22 oceanfront acres. There is a 40,000 square foot spa, and a pool with private cabanas. The new Fontainebleau boasts 11 restaurants and nightclubs, for some of the most talked about dining in all of Miami Beach.
It’s a luxury hotel, with rates to match, starting at $399 between December 22, 2008 and May 31, 2009. If that’s a little too rich for your blood, but you’re dying to see the updated classic, you can take advantage of the “Rediscover Fontainebleau” promotion. If you make a reservation before January 20th, and stay for two or more nights between now and May 31st, the Fontainbleau will give you a $50 daily resort credit which is good for all of the restaurants, spas and hotel shops.
Photo: Oh_Candy on flickr