MIAMI -- After completing a massive wave of hotel construction in
the mid-1980s, Greater Miami is about to set off another wave of
The latest moves involve leading national and international
brands trying to tap the growing market for corporate and group
When the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, slated to open its doors Nov.
30, was announced several years ago, it was hailed as the first new
hotel tower planned for Miami Beach in a generation. But waiting in
line are three more towers on Miami Beach alone: the Royal Palm
Crowne Plaza Resort, the Miami Beach Marriott at South Beach and
the Sonesta Sasson Resort Hotel & Condominiums.
Still another Marriott, the J.W. Marriott, is on tap for the
Brickell Avenue financial area in downtown Miami. That property
will be joined by the Mandarin Oriental, scheduled for construction
on an island right off Brickell. Also on Brickell will be a Four
In affluent Coconut Grove, a Ritz-Carlton is planned, in direct
competition with the existing Grand Bay Hotel. Meanwhile, an
affiliated Grand Bay Resort Condominium Hotel is set for Key
Biscayne. Even Orient-Express has been drawn here. The chain wants
to build on a choice slice of real estate owned by actor Sylvester
The $135 million Loews, which will be designated as the official
hotel for the Miami Beach Convention Center, was on the ground
floor of the building boom and is benefiting from around $50
million in seed money from the city of Miami Beach. Most of the
other planned properties are self-financing.
The 800-room Loews, which was built on a choice beachfront site
just north of the South Beach Art Deco district, incorporates a
rebuilt historical hotel on the site. Adjoining the new hotel is
the 422-room Royal Palm Crowne Plaza, which is slated to open in
January 2000. That property, which like the Loews is within walking
distance of the convention center, is expected to market itself for
convention business in conjunction with its neighbor.
The 150-room Sonesta Sasson, slated for completion in the fall
of 1999, is materializing out of a $60 million conversion of an
existing structure. Adjoining the property will be a new 36-story
The 229-room Miami Beach Marriott, slated for December 1999, is
going up on the waterfront at South Pointe, in a newly gentrified
area of the resort city. The 300-room J.W. Marriott, which recently
broke ground and is to open late in 1999, will be a 21-story tower
in the heart of the Brickell Avenue banking sector.
Besides 29 suites and two executive level floors, the property
will have a 24-hour full-service business center and 18,000 square
feet of meeting facilities, including a 10,000- square-foot
ballroom. Also set for Brickell Avenue is the 300-room Four
Seasons, marking the debut of the chain in Greater Miami when it
opens in fall of 2001.
The 316-room Mandarin Oriental, scheduled for early 2001, will
rise just off Brickell Avenue on a posh residential island
developed by Hong Kong's Swire Properties. The $85 million hotel is
a joint venture with Mandarin Oriental International Ltd. In
addition to a tower overlooking Biscayne Bay, the property will
offer a signature 200-seat Hong Kong-style rest-aurant.
Also set to overlook Biscayne Bay, this time from Coconut Grove,
is the 250-room Ritz- Carlton, which will be part of a luxury
condominium in a neighborhood noted for other luxury condos,
shopping, dining and entertainment. The 243-room Grand Bay Resort,
slated for opening in January 2000, also will be part of a condo
complex. The 14-story building will feature the 20,000 square-foot
Golden Door Spa.
The latest arrival, Orient-Express, has broached plans to build
200 villa-style rooms on the Stallone property. But because that
property is in an affluent residential neighborhood, a zoning
battle could break out.
Existing area hotels are spending big bucks to restore their
facilities.Turnberry Isle Resort & Country Club, a Raphael property in
the Aventura section of North Miami, will open a $24 million
seven-story building with 130 junior suites in December.The Sheraton Bal Harbour Beach Resort completed a $52 million
renovation and spent $12 million more on a Water Fantasy pool
complex.The Radisson Deauville Resort on Miami Beach is undergoing more
than $20 million in renovations.The Wyndham Miami Beach Resort, originally the Doral and later
the Westin Resort, completed a $24.5 million renovation.The Fontainebleau Hilton Resort & Towers in Miami Beach
underwent a $20 million renovation.