Fontainebleau Miami Beach

With its iconic status in the Miami Beach hotel landscape, the luxurious Fontainebleau Miami Beach—which since its grand beginnings in the 1950s has catered to the who’s who of the glitterati set—has truly stood the test of time. In fact, on a recent Saturday night during Recommend’s visit to the property, the lobby’s Bleau Bar was abuzz with guests—perhaps it’s a sign that things are starting to look up again in the marketplace, or perhaps much of the ado is due to this landmark resort’s recent $1 billion dollar expansion project.

“Fontainebleau is an iconic building and a national landmark,” says Paula Gomez, the property’s director of public relations, adding that the billion-dollar renovation included the purposeful preservation of many of the hotel’s classic features. “Preserving the history of the resort was imperative throughout the renovation. The curvilinear building that has become synonymous with Fontainebleau, named Chateau, remains structurally intact just as architect Morris Lapidus intended it to look in the 1950s when he designed it.”

Indeed, many of the original features, such as the bow-tie floors and marble columns in the lobby, the “cheese wall” between the Chateau and Versailles buildings, and the famous “Stairway to Nowhere,” are subtle, wistful reminders of yesteryear. “The intriguing part of the evolution of this resort is its return to the original principals,” Gomez points out. “It’s the transformation from the glamorous golden era of the ‘50s into today’s modern glamour and sophistication.”

more ways to relax “The sheer size of the Fontainebleau distinguishes it from any other resort on the beach,” explains Gomez. “The size enables us to offer our guests more options and the ability to cater to their tastes and needs.”

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Included among the array of options are 1,504 guestrooms and suites spread across four hotel towers—two of which were added on during the recent renovation.

The Chateau and Versailles buildings, the two original buildings, encompass 846 guestrooms and suites. They have been completely remodeled, but the buildings’ original long, winding hallways allow guests to mentally scanter back a few decades to when Hollywood legends such as Lucille Ball and Elvis Presley traipsed back to their rooms along these “hallowed” grounds.

Meanwhile, 650 jr., 1- and 2-bedrooms suites make up the new all-suite Tresor and Sorrento towers. Here, suites feature kitchenettes with mini-refrigerator, sink and microwave; marble bathrooms with granite counters, oversized jacuzzi tub and walk-in shower; and spacious balconies boasting views of the Atlantic Ocean, Biscayne Bay or Downtown Miami.

All guestrooms feature plush bedding, 32-inch, flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations, as well as a personal iMac to assist guests in customizing their vacation while creating a “paperless” hotel stay.

The property’s 2-level Lapis spa, meanwhile, is the ultimate in relaxation. Centered around different elements of water, the 40,000-sq.-ft. space uses this liquid in many forms, including in a rain tunnel, whirlpools, and steam room, as well as a co-ed jetted pool and lounge area with heated hammam benches.

The spa also offers an array of massages, facial, body and skincare treatments, as well as famed New York’s Warren Tricomi haircare salon.

more to savor Much like the accommodations, dining options at the Fontainebleau are plentiful. With 11 onsite dining venues, the difficult part will be finding time to visit them all—although this is something your clients should definitely attempt.

“Fontainebleau has transformed Miami Beach’s dining scene, offering some of the most exquisite restaurant options in the city,” Gomez points out.

For breakfast, for instance, recommend Vida, which offers American and continental buffet options with a wide range of fruit, pastries, breads, yogurts, meats and cheeses, as well as pancakes, waffles, sausages, bacon and an omelet station. Vida is open daily, also serving lunch and dinner.

Meanwhile, Hakkasan, the property’s Cantonese restaurant, is a must for lunch. The restaurant recently debuted a dim sum lunch option with a menu of authentic dishes that include grilled Shanghai congees with meats, poultry and vegetables; stir-fried rice and noodle dishes; barbecue dishes and platters, as well as soup and vegetable sides. Prices range from $6-$22 and are meant to be enjoyed family style. The dim sum lunch at Hakkasan is served on weekends from 12 p.m.-3 p.m.; reservations are recommended.