As most solo travelers I am always looking for that magical place in which to stay when I'm on vacation. Somewhere that is exceptionally beautiful, comfortable and lively. A place where you can escape to and acquire lasting memories. While there are many wonderful hotels around the world that are outstanding, there are few that are iconic. The Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach falls is in this rare category.
My first visit to the famous Fontainebleau was in 1960 when I was nine years old. My father took my sister, Gina, and me here to celebrate the Easter holidays. We were so excited because we knew we were going to the beach. We had no idea that we would be staying in what was deemed the most fabulous hotel in the US. I have a hunch my father held back telling us how wonderful this hotel was because he wanted to surprise us and make this vacation extra special.
The minute I walked into the lobby I knew this was where the rich and famous of the day came to get away. Glamour was all around from the lavish, opulent interiors, to the formal French gardens, the super sized pool, the ritzy oceanside cabanas, the gorgeous beach and all of the "beautiful people" everywhere. This paradise made such an impression on me. I thought to myself, "this is the life!" Even to this day, I think my first stay at the Fontainebleau fostered my love for luxury travel.
Through the years I have returned to this unique hotel and seen it change and recreate its image. I knew several years back the hotel had undergone an one billion dollar renovation and was once again was where the movie stars, models and the "in" crowd hung out. Since learning about the hotel's revitalization, I've wanted to return to experience its new, modern grandeur.
When trying to figure out where I wanted to ring in the New Year, I weighed the options and decided I wanted to stay in a place where I could totally relax and escape. Somewhere that I could go to that had everything and was that was totally luxurious. Some place where I would be completely satisfied and if I choose not to leave the premises, I would not be disappointed. I made decision to return to my childhood Shangri-la, the Fontainebleau, for yet another memorable getaway.
Great architecture is at the heart of this hotel's longevity and appeal. In 1954 its original architect, Morris Lapidus, set out to design an enduring, masterpiece of modernism." In his own words he described his concept for the hotel as an "Architecture of Joy." Elements of fantasy such as the "Stairway to Nowhere" that was the setting for many a grand entrance by the famous or monied clientele, the Cheese Hole walls, the black bowtie motif in the grand lobby's white marble floor and the huge spaces where guests could "see and be seen" all worked together to create a place that was simply "out of this world!" In its early heyday Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack, Elvis, Marlene Dietrich, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope and Marilyn Monroe floated inside, on the grounds or on the beach of Lapidus' most revered creation.
Today, in my opinion, the hotel is better is than ever. With 1504 attractively furnished rooms from which to select there are many types and options such as rooms with/without balconies, ones with oceanfront or bay front views and multiple types of lavish suites. All making your room preference easily satisfied. Loved my ocean view balcony room equipped with fine toiletries and the "best bathrobes in the world!
Eating venues are, likewise, plentiful with 12 stellar restaurants to choose from. Award winning chef Michael Mina has two of his toney food establishments here, the popular Stripsteak and his new casual, concept restaurant, Pizza and Burgers. Internationally acclaimed Hakkasan offers a subliminal oriental food experience with exotic interiors and haute Asian cuisine. One of the hotel's most popular food destinations is Chez Bon Bon with gourmet sweets, coffee and freshly made gelato. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean is the Le Cote Mediterranean Grill, a restaurant with small plates, full entrees and a great wine by the glass selection. Last, some of the finest Italian food found in Miami can be enjoyed at Scarpetta. Bottomline: the food venues at the Fontainebleau are second to none. It just doesn't get any better that this!
Through the years and the subsequent renovations to Fontainebleau, the pool area has always been one of the hotel's main drawing points. With it's latest redo the pool areas are more out-of-this world and luxurious than ever. Eleven pools of different shapes, purposes and sizes offer the guests many options in which to relax, tan or exercise. Private full service cabanas, canopied sun beds, round sun couches and hundreds of lounge chairs are beautifully arranged throughout the eleven pool area. The Fontainebleau's poolscapes have been the setting for many fashion photo shoots, movies and live entertainment concerts. One of my most favorite pool options is the adult only pool which offers continuous, upbeat music, sophisticated cabanas and a full service bar, all extremely ritzy!
For those of you who like to shop, the Fontainebleau can definitely satisfy your need for retail therapy. From high end clothing and accessories for men and women found at Ida and Harry's, to Timeless, the watch and jewelry emporium, to Aquamarine that has the beachwear to die for, as well as, Lapis where you can purchase ultra cool leisure and workout clothing, Morris and Co. for gifts and sundries and last, the fabulous Bleau Signature shop that offers clothing, accessory and gifts that bear the hotel's distinctive logos and brand. I purchased a Fontainebleau black string bikini here, that I love, as my souvenir from my recent stay.
Nightlife, as you can imagine, is both lively and elegant at this "Palace of Joy." The historic and famed Bleau Bar is still a main attraction for guests to enjoy fabulous cocktails, wind down and mingle. If you want an evening nightclubbing, there is no more swinging, "in" place in Miami Beach that can be found than at the Fontainebleau's LIV. You will rock yourself to exhaustion here! Famous DJ's regularly fire the party up to a screaming hot level! Stripsteak and Scarpetta also offer nice venues for a drink or two.
For fitness and wellness, the hotel has a state of the art gym overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with personal trainers available to custom make your daily workout and a comprehensive, luxurious spa that offers the latest in body and facial treatments. Likewise, there is a beautiful boardwalk along the beach where guests can take long walks or bike rides daily to get their exercise. Not to be missed is a dip in the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean!
Another highly unique offering at the Fontainebleau is its BleauLive concerts that are held periodically, usually on holiday weekends, that offer some of the hottest names in the entertainment industry. This last New Years' Eve, when I was staying at the hotel, Justin Bieber performed and helped Miami Beach welcome in 2017. Needless to say, IT WAS QUITE A PARTY!! A huge, state of the art music, acoustics and light stage was constructed for the event. People of all ages enjoyed the special affair. In the past some of the other popular entertainers who have performed in this venue are Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Pitbull.
So the next time you are looking for a place to escape to that is glamorous, that has everything, consider going to one of the, "world's most celebrated playgrounds," the fabulous Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. Go there once and I bet you will return again and again!
To check available booking dates at The Fontainebleau Hotel, click here.
Enjoy this short video made several years ago highlighting the hotel, its history, amenities and its unforgettable ambience.
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