MIAMI -- The Mandarin Oriental made its debut here with a soft
opening, becoming the first operating property out of several
luxury hotel chains that are establishing themselves in Greater
Miami, with three Ritz-Carltons to open later this year and a Four
Seasons to open next year.
Initially, the $100 million Mandarin Oriental had only about 115
of its 329 rooms available for occupancy, but all are expected to
be ready this month.
At the moment, the hotel is in a class by itself as the most
upscale property in the city, with rack rates for regular rooms
ranging from $525 to $740 per night, through March 31.
Spring rack rates range from $475 to $690; summer rates from
$395 to $610.
Located on Brickell Key, a 44-acre luxury condominium community
on an island in Biscayne Bay, the 20-story, bayfront tower offers
spectacular vistas of the water and of the downtown Brickell Avenue
financial district, which is located on the other side of a short
28, the hotel offers introductory rates of $180 per night for a
waterview room and $239 for a Miami skyline view, based on
Winter rack rates for the 31 suites range from $1,200 to $3,000
per night, with the exception of the TaiPan Suite (presidential
suite) -- which opera superstar Luciano Pavarotti was first to
occupy -- priced at $4,000 per night, year-round.
The hotel's formal opening is set for March 31 and will feature
a grand gala.
All public facilities are operational, with the exception of a
three-story, 15,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, scheduled
to open by the end of this month.
The crescent-shaped tower, which does not carry a name on its
marquee, is palatial, highlighted by a sweeping, curved lobby
called a "podium" for its raised vantage point looking out over the
This space, with overlapping wooden screens and museum-quality
artifacts, has an exquisite lobby lounge and a bar specializing in
martinis and champagne.
Backdrops for the lounge, with subtle Oriental motifs, include
fountains, tropical-flower arrangements and sculptures.
Immediately accessible from the lobby lounge is Azul, an
elegant, 120-seat restaurant designed by Tony Chi and Associates of
Azul directly connects below to Cafe Sambal, a less-formal,
160-seat indoor and outdoor restaurant, with a large terrace
offering more waterfront views.
Also occupying a major terrace vantage point overlooking the bay
is an outdoor swimming pool.
On par with the other amenities, the property's large guest
rooms, with 10-foot ceilings, are stunning, featuring bursts of
color amid carefully refined furnishings.
Many of the guest units offer balconies or terraces, and all
suites have floors of bamboo hardwood.
All units feature bathrooms sheathed in Spanish marble, with a
separate tub and shower.
All rooms also offer high-speed Internet access, with fax and
data ports unobtrusively located within mahogany desks.
The property's 15,000-square-foot meeting and banquet
facilities, accommodating 600 persons, are elegant.
These facilities, located near the lobby, have their own terrace
The general manager of the Mandarin Oriental is Jorge Gonzalez,
a former Ritz-Carlton executive who also most recently opened the
Loews Miami Beach Hotel as managing director.
The resident manager is Albert Mertz, who was previously
executive director of food and beverage service for the Loews Miami
The executive assistant manager, overseeing the rooms division,
is Jeannette Schulze, who joined the hotel from the Mandarin
Oriental Hyde Park in London.
The Mandarin Oriental is a joint venture between Hong Kong's
Swire Properties, which holds a 75% stake, and the Mandarin
Oriental Hotel Group, at 25%.
For information or reservations, call the property at (305)
913-8288 or (866) 888-6780. The Mandarin Oriental reservations line
(USA and Canada) is (800) 526-6566.