Miami’s Hottest Hotel Openings in Time For Art Basel

Dec 2, 2014

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Art Basel Miami Beach is set for December 4-7 at the Miami Beach Convention Center marking the official start of Miami’s “season.” With that comes a host of parties, satellite fairs and, this year, highly anticipated hotel openings. Read on for Lifestyle Editor Shayne Benowitz’s scoop on the hottest new hotels on the beach–and what’s happening at them during Art Basel.

The Miami Beach EDITION

A guest room at the newly opened Miami Beach EDITION.
A guest room at the newly opened Miami Beach EDITION.

Perhaps the most buzzed about hotel opening of the season, Marriott’s The Miami Beach EDITION marks the return of celebrated hotelier Ian Schrager (the mastermind behind groundbreaking Delano) to the beach inside the historic Seville Hotel on 29th and Collins. While details have been kept under close wraps, here’s what we know: EDITION will boast a modern Spanish-inspired restaurant, Matador Room, as well as the more casual Market (inspired by the 24-hour markets in Madrid and Barcelona) by acclaimed Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. And the hotel is purported to have an ice skating rink and bowling alley, in addition to the more expected amenities like pool, beach and spa. Under the direction of Josh Wagner (whose Midas touch made Rec Room, Regent Cocktail Club and Dolce Italian at the Gale South Beach instant hits), The Basement is sure to be Miami’s next hotspot nightlife venue. Opening rates at EDITION start at $549 and soar to $1,149 during Basel. It’s a Marriott Rewards Category 9 hotel, requiring 45,000 points for a night’s stay and can be maximized by booking with your Marriott Premier Credit Card.

Basel Buzz: Discobox at The Basement will host a week’s worth of dance parties as follows, DJ Harvey Dec. 2, Horsemeat Disco hosted by designer Yabu Pushelberg Dec. 3, James Murphy and Soul Clap Dec. 4, Lee Foss Dec. 5 and Louie Vega Dec. 6. Doors open at 11 p.m. For reservations

Thompson Miami Beach

Part of the Thompson Miami Beach's sprawling outdoor space.
Part of the Thompson Miami Beach’s sprawling outdoor space.

Hearkening back to 1950s Miami Beach glamour, Thompson Miami Beach welcomed its first guests Friday, Nov. 21 to the former Crown Apartments building at 40th and Collins, nestled near fashionable neighbors like Soho Beach House and the Fontainebleau. With a glittering, glamorous chandelier greeting guests in the lobby, the hotel showcases Miami Modern architectural flourishes, like white breezeblocks and varnished wood “cheese holes,” inviting a sense of discovery beyond the lobby and into Seagrape, the restaurant concept by beloved Miami Chef Michelle Bernstein. The Thompson brand, owned by Commune Hotels, places a strong emphasis on creating hotels that reflect their cities’ local communities, and Thompson Miami Beach tapped hip Wynwood salon Junior & Hatter to open an outpost in the hotel. Award-winning mixologist and longtime Bernstein collaborator, Julio Cabrera, is behind the bar program at the second floor Crown Room, a glamorous, eclectic throwback to a classic cocktail lounge. The outdoor space is just as inviting with two pools bedecked in multi-colored pastel loungers and cabanas, as well as 1930s House, a wine and crudo concept helmed by Bernstein. Opening rates start at $279 and jump to $529 during Basel.

Basel Buzz: Private events galore. Amongst the sexy invite-only events is a Dom Perignon interactive dinner hosted by luxury watchmaker Roger Dubuis and supermodel Stephanie Seymour to fête the Velvet Haute Couture collection on Dec. 3.

Shelborne Wyndham Grand

"Too much is never enough," a quote by Morris Lapidus above The Drawing Room bar.
“Too much is never enough,” a quote by Morris Lapidus above The Drawing Room bar.

An Art Deco gem long in neglect, the Shelborne South Beach reopened in September as a Wyndham Grand after a yearlong, $280 million dollar restoration with food and beverage by Iron Chef Morimoto and a bar concept by the eccentric Albert Trummer (formerly of Miami’s Drogerie and New York City’s Apotheke). The result is a true return to its glory days with sparkly terrazzo floors, starburst and bubble chandeliers and chic pink, coral and gold tones and textures. With the decadent Morimoto restaurant contributing to the hotel’s sex appeal, and the Drawing Room bar serving Trummer’s signature “medicinal” cocktails with elixirs, potions and tonics, it has all the makings of a newly annointed South Beach hotspot. It’s already been the location for a music video shoot by Mr. 305 himself, Pitbull. Opening rates start at $279 and soar to $1,009 during Basel. It’s a Wyndham Rewards Level 9 property, requiring 50,000 points for a night’s stay.

Basel Buzz: The Shelborne’s Marine Deck will host a private cocktail party for MTV Re:Define to honor renowned British artist Michael Craig-Martin with surprise special guests on Dec. 5. There will also be a private dinner hosted by the hotel owners prepared by Morimoto.

Kaskades Suites at Gale South Beach

The rooftop deck with views of New World Center, who will be hosting Video Art on its wall during Art Basel.
The rooftop deck with views of New World Center, who will be hosting Video Art on its wall during Art Basel.

Gale South Beach blew onto the scene during Art Basel two years ago and proved to be a force to be reckoned with. The chic boutique property brought with it instant nightlife classics, Rec Room (a subterranean lounge for late night dancing to an eclectic set list) and Regent Cocktail Club (serving up the best classic cocktails in Miami with an all star cast of mixologists), as well as the delicious Dolce Italian restaurant, and has had a stronghold on the South Beach scene ever since. This year, it debuts an expansion with Kaskade Suites (a remodeled apartment complex just across the street on James Ave.) adding 25 all-suite rooms with more space and luxury—and covetable en-suite aromatherapy spa features—to its discerning guests. Rates start at $263, sold out during Basel. Enjoy 20 percent off rates booked before Dec. 1.

Basel Buzz: New York City’s 1 OAK and Up & Down nightclubs will pop-up at Rec Room Dec. 4-6 as one of the week’s hottest (and hardest to get into) parties.

27 Restaurant at Freehand Miami

The Broken Shaker at Freehand Miami. Their new restaurant 27 just opened.
The Broken Shaker at Freehand Miami. Their new restaurant 27 just opened.

When The Broken Shaker first popped up in 2011 in the courtyard of the historic, yet defunct Indian Creek Hotel, it was the catalyst for a brand new movement in Miami’s nightlife scene–local and laid-back with next level cocktail creativity. Originally a temporary establishment, it returned a year later along with the opening of The Freehand Miami, a hip, design-minded hostel loved by locals and travelers alike. Grounded in fresh “garden to glass” mixology (with ingredients like mustard turmeric reduction, ancho reyes liqueur, macha tea infused with celery) by dynamic duo Elad Zvi and Gabe Orta, The Broken Shaker is consistently at the top of everyone’s list of what makes Miami cool today. On Nov. 25, the highly anticipated 27 Restaurant opened to in-the-know local fanfare inside a two-story cottage at the back of the Freehand property. The concept is a hybrid of flavors and styles that make Miami unique, while adhering to its fresh and local ethos. Standout dishes range from Bubbie’s Latkes to Gabe’s Arepa Platter, and the whole fish and lasagna are not to be missed.

Basel Buzz: The week is filled with laid-back private and public events, like the Death & Co. pop-up Monday night, a dreamcatcher workshop supporting Free Arts NYC Friday evening and Pop-Up Alley’s weeklong shopping event.

Strip Steak at Fontainebleau Miami Beach

The decadent wagyu duo at Strip Steak by Michael Mina.
The decadent wagyu duo at Strip Steak by Michael Mina.

Chef Michael Mina has taken the Fontainebleau by storm. After opening Michael Mina 74, a late night, high energy, upscale eatery, in the subterranean former Arkadia space last year, he’s recently replaced Alfred Portale’s Gotham Steak with his own Strip Steak, making it the Fontainebleau’s most visible, marquee restaurant. With all the steakhouse staples one comes to expect, from Australian wagyu to dry-aged bone-in rib eye, the menu also features premium raw bar items (“America’s Best Oysters” and caviar service) and sumptuous appetizers, like the duck and ricotta cavatelli. You can also order a Maine lobster tail or seared foie gras to accompany any of your entrees, for good measure. All this works to cement the Fontainebleau as a perennial Miami hotspot. If you pay with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you’ll enjoy 2x the points on dining, and the first Friday of the month just so happens to falls over Art Basel, so make this your Friday night dinner reservation for 3x the points.

Basel Buzz: Tear the house down at megaclub LIV (still the hottest party in town) with an incredible DJ lineup including David Guetta, Kaskade and Richie Hawtin during Basel weekend. Tickets here.

Rum Line at Loews Hotel Miami Beach

Tiki chic kitsch and rum cocktails at the Rum Line.
Tiki chic kitsch and rum cocktails at the Rum Line.

Loews Hotel Miami Beach has taken great strides in the last year to up its “it” factor ante with the opening of Lure Fish Bar, Exhale Spa South Beach, and now the tiki-chic Rum Line. Perched on an outdoor patio adjacent to Lure in the historic St. Moritz tower, the Rum Line is bedecked in kitschy-chic rattan furniture with tropical prints. It also boasts a rather impressive (and exhaustive) cocktail menu by mixologist Rob Ferrara, featuring old school (mojitos, mai tais and caipirnhas) and new school (Ferrara originals, like the Tug Boat, made with Mount Gay Black Barrel, Wray & Nephew Over Proof, Allspice Dram, ginger, lemon and honey) rum cocktails, a selection of daiquiris, punches and barrel-aged cocktails. There’s also a bar bites menu to soak up all that rum, like oysters, shishito peppers, tuna tacos and mini lobster rolls.

Basel Buzz: Join Exhale Spa Friday, Dec. 5 for a morning of Yoga + Art with a flow practice led by Jodi Carrey, followed by live graffiti art, sips and nibbles, and an opportunity to make your own creation. 10 a.m. – Noon, Free.

Villa Bagatelle Miami Beach

Rooftop pool at Villa Bagatelle.
Rooftop pool at Villa Bagatelle.

Opening under the radar to replace the always-under-the-radar Boulan Hotel, Villa Bagatelle now occupies the boutique property on the corner of Collins Ave. and 21st St. on the edge of Collins Park. A hotel concept by the same group that opened the dining/nightlife hotspot by the same name in New York’s Meatpacking District in 2008, Villa Bagatelle is the group’s first hospitality venture. While at the moment it appears to only have hung a sign in its signature curlicue font, the hotel is open for business, and the group has plans for renovation and activation of a rooftop dining venue in the spirit of its St. Tropez location over the next 18 months. Rates start at $197 and jump to $746 during Basel.

Basel Buzz: The adjacent Collins Park plays host to Art Basel’s Public sector with not-to-be-missed sculpture and site-specific installations in collaboration with the Bass Museum of Art.

Will you be coming to Miami for Art Basel? What events and venues are you most excited to check out?

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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