Miami Hyatt adds polish for silver anniversary

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The Hyatt Regency Miami, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is undergoing a $20 million face-lift to update its look and feel, as more ultraluxury and boutique entrants enter the Greater Miami market.

The renovations, which began in August and will run through February, are rendering the self-described four-star, full-service property the de facto "newest" hotel in the area, according to director of sales and marketing John Visconti.

"We now have a contemporary, luxury residential, 'I would live there' feel, as opposed to a more staid, traditional hotel design, which all the better hotels are moving away from," Visconti said.

All hard and soft furnishings, including fixtures and carpeting, are being replaced in the 612 guest rooms, which now boast the chain's signature Grand Hyatt Bed, ergonomic workstations and flat-screen TVs.

In addition, the lobby and the fitness center have been overhauled. "We are now the hippest and most modern hotel in town," said General Manager Gino Caliendo.

What hasn't changed is the hotel's competitive pricing, with rack rates generally ranging from $150 to $200 a night, according to Visconti. "You don't have to stay in the Best Western when we offer such good value," he said.

Hotel management is developing packaged stays to draw more leisure visitors, who currently account for some 40% of guests, to the downtown property, which is already popular with cruise passengers sailing out of Miami.

"We're under a mile away from the largest passenger port in the world, so we're sold out many weekends," said Visconti. "There are more cabins and passengers than there are hotel rooms in Miami. The cruise business has just gone crazy."

But Visconti said he hopes to also draw landlubbing leisure visitors away from Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road in nearby South Beach, as well.

"The good news is we're 15 minutes away from Miami Beach," he said. "But all of a sudden, Miami is one of the hottest, fastest-growing markets year over year. There's a lot of development going on."

The Mary Brickell Village complex, under development just north of the Hyatt Regency, is home to about a dozen bars and restaurants, including Tobacco Road.

"Like any other financial center, there once wasn't anything to do in downtown Miami after 5 p.m.," said Visconti. "But many young professionals are now heading over to Mary Brickell Village after work for cocktail hour and dinner."

The hotel is also close to Miami's up-and-coming Design District and the Bayside Marketplace retail complex. For more, visit www.miamiregency.hyatt.com.

To contact Destinations editor Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].

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