MIAMI BEACH --
The luxurious new Ritz-Carlton South Beach here, housed in the
historic former DiLido Hotel built by famed architect Morris
Lapidus in 1953, is not only puttin on the ritz, its offering a bit
of razzamatazz, too.
Situated at the
corner of Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue -- gateway to the new,
hipper north end of South Beach -- the hotel, not yet a year old,
distinguishes itself from its sister properties around the world,
and even next-door neighbors here, with unique service and
staying in its 375 rooms -- including 67 VIP Club Level rooms, 74
Lanai poolside rooms and 11 units with private terraces -- enjoy
all the usual high-end perks, privileges and amenities expected of
a Ritz-Carlton or similar upper-tier property, theyre also treated
to one-of-a-kind sights, sounds and sensations.
hotel manager Liam Doyle, the Ritz-Carlton South Beach is not a
Instead, it has a
true sense of place; we have created an oasis here so our guests
can experience the flavor of South Beach within the resort, he
said. Our one-of-a-kind amenities ... make this the place to
For example, the
hotel -- originally built in Miami Moderne, or MiMo style and
restored while being refurbished to meet modern Ritz-Carlton
standards -- is home to a maitre dhotel, in the time-honored Old
World hospitality tradition.
George Slover --
who attends to guest needs in the Americana and DiLido Beach Club
restaurants, as well as the Lapidus Lounge bar -- is the sole
maitre dhotel in the Ritz-Carlton chain -- and entire Miami Beach
worlds only known tanning butler -- a male model clad in designer
swim trunks -- patrols the lounge chair deck on weekends,
proffering guests a variety of South Beach suntanning products out
of his custom-designed sunscreen holster.
If asked, the
butler will even apply sunscreen for clients -- but only on their
hotel management, the tanning butlers proved so popular with female
guests that a lady butler will appear poolside for men sometime
this winter season.
In a nod to Miamis heyday in the
first half of the 20th century -- as well as Floridas famed
waterparks like Cypress Gardens -- the Ritz-Carlton offers a
synchronized swim show Thursdays through Sundays at 6
mermaids lead guests from the hotel lobby out to the beachfront
infinity pool, the only such elevated facility offering
unobstructed ocean views in Miami.
performers shed their tails and offer a sunset water ballet in the
time-honored tradition of Esther Williams -sequined bathing caps
hotel, guests enjoy a music program planned by leading
international disc-jockey Richard Vasquez.
Vasquez and other area DJs turn the hotels oceanfront DiLido Beach
Club -- the only such restaurant in South Beach -- into a San
Tropez-style happening with ambient lounge tunes accompanied by a
The DiLido Beach
Club, famed for its Indian flat-bread sandwiches, fronts on Miami
Beachs new beach promenade, a convenient walkway that connects
newly popular stretches of Collins Avenue with Lummus Park and
musical note, the Ritz-Carltons indoors Americana restaurant is
transformed into a 1950s-style nightclub Thursdays to Sundays from
6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a lounge singer, pianist and
The hotel gets
another world-class eatery in mid-2005, when New York chef and
restaurateur David Bouley is tentatively set to open Evolution, his
first venture outside the Big Apple.
houses a 16,000-square-foot spa. Ritz-Carlton said its Miamis
largest and is the first outside Paris to offer treatments by La
Maison de Beaute Carita.
And millions of
dollars in Latin American and European art, assembled by hotel
owner Diana Lowenstein, grace the restored halls of the
In yet another
first, the Ritz-Carlton South Beach is the only hotel in the area
to offer a VIP guest level, on its Club Level rooms on floors nine
Guest rooms on
the Club Level have access to an exclusive top-floor lounge, which
offers private check-in and concierge services, five food and drink
presentations daily and panoramic views of Miami Beach.
begin at $359 per night, based on availability. To book or for more
information, call (800) 241-3333 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com.
reporter Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].