Miami has lived up to its moniker as the Magic City in recent years, and not just because of the immaculate climate. According to the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, occupancy rates totaled 67.2 percent across luxury properties in 2022—a boost from 62.5 percent in 2021. ADR also leapt from $521.28 to $564.14 in the same timeframe.
Major European brands are cashing in on the city’s booming hospitality landscape with new openings, including citizenM, which kicked off 2023 with the launch of its second Miami hotel. Slated to open in 2024, Aman Miami Beach will occupy an Art Deco tower in the vibrant Faena District meticulously restored by John Michel Gathy of Denniston. Aman’s fourth North American outpost, the property will comprise 56 suites that boast wraparound terraces and floor-to-ceiling windows, while the 22 residences will feature a restrained look by Kengo Kuma. The property will also introduce the exclusive Aman Club, a private members destination conceived to further embed travelers in the culture.
Plenty of domestic brands are heading south as well. Waldorf Astoria will plant a flag in the city’s downtown with a 100-story supertall tower. The $26 million Waldorf Astoria Hotel & Residences Miami will feature 205 guestrooms and 360 condo residences as well as amenities like a restaurant, fitness center, spa, resort-style pool and cabanas, and a medley of meeting and event spaces. That’s just the beginning. From behemoths to boutiques, Miami’s beckoning of hotel titans to introduce a new standard for hospitality is nothing short of alchemy.
Bulgari Hotel Miami Beach
Among the European brands staking their claim will be Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, which is set to debut stateside in 2025 with the Bulgari Hotel Miami Beach. Designed by longtime architecture partner Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, the waterfront property in the Art Deco Historic District will host 100 guestrooms and a range of luxury amenities including an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, large spa, and a Bulgari restaurant and bar. “The real essence of the hotel will be the way Bulgari’s Italian roots will be displayed in Miami Beach,” says Bulgari Group executive vice president Silvio Ursini. “Bulgari Hotels & Resorts operates elite properties in the world’s most dynamic cities, making Miami Beach the perfect destination for the brand’s foray into the U.S. market. Miami Beach is an iconic global destination that has become even more attractive with the growth of Art Basel and the arrival of renowned restaurant concepts, attracting guests from Europe—Italy in particular—South America, and the Middle East.”
Elser Hotel & Residences
Olga Cotofana, managing partner of locally based Cotofana Designs, whose studio recently unveiled interiors for the Elser Hotel & Residences, agrees with Ursini. “Miami continues to evolve and grow into one of the most vibrant metropolitan destinations,” she says. “The city offers an effortless cosmopolitan lifestyle with year-round weather and convenient access to fine dining, art, nightlife, and culture, making it a very attractive place to explore.” Housed within a tower crafted by Sieger Suarez Architects, the new hotel is enlivened with colors, furnishings, and custom artwork all chosen to reflect the liveliness of the local cultural landscape. Abundant greenery contrasts darker brick and gray tones that embody the synthesis of cosmopolitan and coastal living. “We wanted to pay tribute to the rich history of the building’s namesake, [Downtown Miami’s] Elser Pier, while incorporating Miami’s evolving design,” Cotofana adds. “This way, guests would receive an all-encompassing glimpse into the city’s legacy of sophisticated design.”
Mayfair House Hotel & Garden
Old World architectural gems are also experiencing rebirths. The former Mayfair Hotel & Spa in Coconut Grove has reopened as the Mayfair House Hotel & Garden following a two-year facelift by New York-based studio Goodrich. “We made a careful study of Kenneth Treister’s original design, poring over historic photos and looking at the original plans and details,” says Goodrich principal and founder Matthew Goodrich. “We restored or refreshed as much as we could, and then added layers of bold design inspired by his unique maximalist vision.”
With a sundrenched coutyard at its core, the property is endowed with greenery alongside cascading fountains, fanciful copper lighting, and sculptural architectural flourishes. Original elements like signature archways and unique finishes have been retained and echoed in focal points like carved wood details. “Coconut Grove has a long history as an artist enclave, and we drew on that in our design of the hotel,” Goodrich adds. “We were excited at the prospect of creating such a different feel for Miami. The bold color and materials we used make a strong statement in a sea of minimalist, white hotels, and introduce a different experience and feeling for guests.” A garden café and Calypso-style rooftop pool bar serve as social hubs, while the 179 guestrooms and suites boast expansive footprints ranging from 500 to 1,124 square feet across eight configurations that each tout their own terrace.
Another New York studio leaving its signature on Miami is Meyer Davis, which crafted the Arlo Wynwood, the first hotel in Miami’s street art mecca. The preeminent creative haven and its industrial backdrop were obvious muses for an organic-meets-modern approach. “Our design language for Arlo Wynwood draws on the bold and curated artistic nature of the neighborhood—looking at the design experience that can be created when it collides with the clean lines of contemporary architecture,” says senior project manager Eric Appel. “Arlo Wynwood redefines a relaxed sense of contemporary urban luxury. The design embraces the perfectly balanced tension between the natural and the man-made.”
Warm, earthy materials are juxtaposed with contemporary finishes and vivid accents that permeate its understated richness. Beyond a slew of buzzy social areas like a third-floor cocktail lounge or the convivial pool, bar, and café on the rooftop, 217 accommodations convey coziness against a white oak backdrop. In contrast to the vibrant exterior murals created by Miami artist Hoxxoh and MILAGROS Collective, “we wanted to provide a very calming, organic, and fresh escape to guests within their rooms,” adds associate and senior design leader Shannon Senyk. “The neighborhood is very energetic, and the guestrooms were intended to serve as a bit of a refuge.”
THE WELL Bay Harbor Islands
Meyer Davis is also putting its imprint on the first Miami outpost for holistic wellness brand THE WELL, where refuge and reprise take centerstage. THE WELL Bay Harbor Islands, part offices, part wellness center, and part residences, is slated to launch in December with 54 luxury condominiums and four floors of upscale workspace spread across 250,000 square feet. “When it came to the design and amenities, we wanted to solve the problems usually faced in office spaces and homes,” says Kane Sarhan, cofounder and CCO of THE WELL, adding that Meyer Davis is collaborating with the brand’s in-house team. “Miami is not only a booming market. It has also been named America’s healthiest city for three years in a row now. We have been looking for a place to call home for a while now and Miami had everything we were looking for.”
Informed by THE WELL’s team of doctors and healers, the design will include an innovative integration of technology, including air purification systems and aromatherapy diffusers that will cleanse expansive, sundrenched interiors lined with wood and other natural materials. Floor-to-ceiling windows and spacious balconies will reinforce the serenity of the coastline, complemented by cool accents. Developer David Martin, CEO of Terra Group, says, “The project will meet the growing demand for luxury living and boutique commercial space as more residents and companies gravitate to South Florida, while also meeting people’s desire for health and wellbeing to be at the center of their lives.”
This article originally appeared in HD’s February/March 2023 issue.