Miami Beach has had successive waves of hotel development in recent decades, starting in the late 1980s when developers began restoring South Beach’s art deco gems.
Now a number of new urban beach resorts from preeminent hospitality groups — including Aman, Rosewood, Auberge and Bulgari — are set to lure visitors to Miami Beach, which saw a post-COVID-fueled boom. Across greater Miami, there were 17.1 million hotel room nights sold in 2022, up 12.7 percent from the year before.
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Leading the pack is the redevelopment of a 1940 property whose 1990s renovation helped propel South Beach’s resurgence: The Raleigh. The historic property is where “America’s mermaid” Esther Williams made the original fleur-de-lis-shaped pool famous.
In 2019, Michael Shvo (whose firm SHVO owns Beverly Hills’ Mandarin Oriental Residences) and partners purchased The Raleigh for $103 million from Tommy Hilfiger, as well as two adjacent hotels (The Richmond and South Seas) that combined will become The Raleigh, A Rosewood Hotel and Residences, expected in 2025. Greg Freedman, co-CEO of BH3 Management, who contributed $190 million in financing for the three-acre development, touts it as “a transformational project for Miami Beach.”
SHVO is reported to be investing $1 billion in the hotel’s preservation and renovation, with design overseen by architects Peter Marino and Kobi Karp, along with developing 44 residences in a brand-new 17-story tower. “As we proceed with our meticulous restoration of The Raleigh, we continue to be inspired by its legacy of elegance, glamour and sophistication,” says Shvo, whose program also includes a private members club with beachfront dining and Asaya wellness destination. The redevelopment will preserve the hotel’s famous original pool, as well as the Raleigh’s Martini Bar and the Tiger Room.
But to make way for the new residence building, most of the Richmond and South Seas hotels will be demolished, leaving just their facades, a plan that some preservationists have criticized. “[Developers] could never squeeze out enough money from the little historic buildings. That’s why they say they have to have this new big glass and steel tower next to it,” Jack Finglass, a past chair of the city’s historic preservation board, recently told Miami’s WLRN.
Two other luxe projects involve adding modern towers alongside historic buildings.
Auberge Resorts Collection’s revival of the circa 1939 Shore Club — plus the neighboring art deco-era Cromwell Hotel — will include a new 200-foot residential tower. In the early 2000s, the Shore Club was reimagined by architect David Chipperfield, with the hotel’s super-private Beach House referenced by Jay-Z in “All Around the World” and names including Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Rihanna as patrons. This summer, Witkoff Group and Monroe Capital secured $430 million in construction financing for a transformation by Robert A.M. Stern Architects that includes the Shore Club Private Collection of 49 seascape- and yacht-inspired residences starting around $6 million, split between the upper floors of the Cromwell and the new residential tower. There is also a singular 6,000-square-foot two-story beachfront residence listed for $37.5 million.
And Aman Miami Beach is slated to open in 2026 in the former Versailles Hotel, which will be paired with a new 22-unit condo tower. Versailles first opened in January 1941 as a 16-story Art Deco tower that cost just $300,000 to build. (Aman owner Vladislav Doronin is also building the ultra-luxe Missoni and UNA condos in downtown Miami.) Its restoration is being shepherded by frequent Aman architect Jean-Michel Gathy of Denniston, who is ensuring a sense of tropical serenity extends to 56 guest suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, dining venues, exclusive members-only Aman Club, and an Aman Spa. Illustrious Japanese architect Kengo Kuma designed the standalone minimal Art Deco–inspired residential building that comprises 22 branded homes, his first in the U.S.
Bulgari Hotels & Resorts is also coming to Miami Beach, albeit without a residential tower. Bulgari plans to open its first U.S. hotel in the former Seagull Hotel in 2025. Says Silvio Ursini, Bulgari Group executive vice president, “The essence of the Seagull Hotel, built in 1948, will be featured in our design ethos, which combines the elegance of the Bulgari brand with the timelessness of Art Deco style.” As at all of the heritage Italian jewelry house’s properties, Milan’s Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel are overseeing the restoration of the modernist property that was a winter escape for ‘50s and ‘60s Old Hollywood. Glamour should ooze through the hotel, with most of the 100 rooms being suites, plus an outdoor pool, spa and restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Niko Romito. Adds Ursini, “We are creating a singular destination that will offer guests a sense of place and modern appointments befitting an ultra-premium hotel.”
The Aman, Auberge and and Rosewood towers will join previously built residential buildings at Faena and The Setai.
While it remains to be seen how much the gleaming new towers will dilute the area’s art deco vibe, the future of Miami Beach is clearly five-star.
A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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