Miami offers many hotel options, hip rocking beach resorts, city hotels with splendid pools and walking distance to new museums, and a charming historic property.
The Biltmore in Coral Gables has been a legend for many years; the copper clad Giralda Tower was faintly outlined in the dusky twilight when I arrived. Inside the lobby, I was awestruck by the hand painted frescoes on the gorgeous barrel vaulted ceilings, soaring marble columns, leaded glass windows, and fine furnishings. The Mediterranean exterior sprawls over several acres and includes a 23,000 square foot pool with a polished marble surface, a noted golf course, and a professional cooking school and polo fields. Imagine in the day, thousands of local Sunday visitors who came to view synchronized swimmers and bathing beauties. The striking 85 foot high dive often featured the Fairbanks Sisters dive team. Prior to his Tarzan screen debut, Johnny Weissmuller was a Biltmore swimming instructor and broke world records at the pool.
In 1973, following intense lobbying by Coral Gables officials and city residents for The Biltmore’s acquisition, the City of Coral Gables was granted ownership of the hotel through the Historic Monuments Act and Legacy of Parks Program. In 1983, the City initiated a full restoration of the Biltmore to its former glory as a grand hotel. Nearly four years and $55 million later, The Biltmore re-opened on December 31,1987 as a four-star hotel and resort. An additional $40 million and a ten-year restoration by its current management restored the Biltmore to its former glory.
This is a hotel which values Old World charm in a serene setting. Throughout the property, which despite its vast size, is an easy stroll as it is built in quad like areas of beautiful gardens, open air dining courtyards, fountains, hand painted tile work which represents the owners personal love of peacocks, balustrade balconies, really this property could be in Spain. With 273 rooms, the resort is a relaxing stop and a reminder of a grand life in the 1920’s. The Everglades suite is quite over the top, and its easy to understand why it was a favorite of Al Capone, royalty and presidents. At the height of luxury, the Everglades Suite is a one-of-a-kind two story suite that features hand painted ceilings depicting scenes from Florida’s Everglades. Accessed with a private key for utmost privacy, this suite offers 360 degree panoramic views of Coral Gables and further from the two balconies and the windows on the wrap-around second floor mezzanine. The spacious and well appointed living room and dining area are the perfect venue to listen to music played on the baby grand piano or watch shows on the 42” LCD TV.
The interior spaces of the hotel are filled with enormous black and white photographs of the former guests, scenes from a time when a gondolier rowed the guests to the sea through the canals. Honestly, the historic aspect and the museum quality memorabilia is a fabulous enticement as well.
Culinary academy. In February 2009, the Biltmore Hotel furthered its longstanding passion for gastronomy and commitment to excellence in the culinary arts by opening the Biltmore Culinary Academy. As the only hotel with a recreational cooking school operating in North America, the academy has a dedicated learning area and fully equipped professional kitchen offering a variety of classes, workshops, team-building events, for both adults and children. Fun and educational, the Biltmore Culinary Academy is ideal for aspiring chefs.
If you love history and old world elegance, The Biltmore Coral Gables is the perfect hotel for your visit.