CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The Biltmore Hotel, nestled among the
affluent residences here, evokes images of old-world elegance and
famous celebrities. In its heyday, the hotel's guest register
included the likes of the Vanderbilts, the Roosevelts and
Today, the property caters to a variety of guests, from
conference attendees to wedding parties. But it is also an
excellent place to begin or end a cruise vacation. Located five
miles from Miami airport and 15 minutes from the Port of Miami,
this 280-room landmark offers cruisers a welcome respite between
the plane ride and the embarkation process.
The Biltmore's architectural centerpiece is a 15-story, 300-foot
copper-clad tower modeled after the Giralda Tower in Seville,
Entering the hotel's lobby is like stepping into another world.
Here, Mediterranean revival-style accents include large Italian
marble columns, floors and decorative ceilings. The lobby also
supports a magnificent hearth at one end and is home to several
tropical birds in stone and brass birdcages.
The Biltmore Hotel was built in 1926 and was considered a major
social and cultural center of Miami. However, its success was
short-lived as it became a casualty of the Great Depression. It was
taken over by the federal government and served as a military
hospital from 1942 until 1968.
In 1972, the Biltmore became the property of the city of Coral
Gables and remained unoccupied for many years. In 1987, the city
reopened the Biltmore Hotel, and in 1992 it was taken over by a
multinational consortium led by Seaway Hotel Corp.
The property, an affiliate of Westin Hotels & Resorts, was
designated a National Historic Landmark by the federal government
Last summer, the hotel completed an extensive upgrade of all
guest rooms. The work included new carpeting, bedspreads, European
feather beds, draperies and furniture. Rooms feature armoires,
safes, minibars and fax machines. This completed the second round
of refurbishments. A $55 million restoration process was completed
The pool at the Biltmore is almost as famous as the property
itself. It is considered to be the largest pool in the continental
U.S., accommodating 600,000 gallons of water and measuring 22,000
Canary Island palms, coral stone, grass walkways and plants all
make for a tropical atmosphere poolside. The area also features a
grill restaurant and private cabanas.
The Biltmore offers two restaurants. The Courtyard Cafe is open
daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner and features a
Caribbean/Southwestern cuisine. The 110-seat La Palme d'Or,
formerly the Biltmore's Il Ristorante, opened in October and serves
French cuisine nightly.
The restaurant hosts Michelin-rated guest chefs from France each
month in a program called Le Tour des Toques. The program,
cosponsored by Air France, enables guest chefs to prepare signature
dishes, which are then featured on the restaurant's menu for a
month. Chefs visit the first week of every month and hold an
interactive culinary demonstration and lunch for locals and members
of the Biltmore's wine club, known as the Cellar Club.
The hotel also has an 18-hole championship golf course, 10
tennis courts and a full spa and fitness center.
Meeting facilities include two main ballrooms, the Granada and
Alhambra, and 21 meeting rooms ranging in size from 400 square feet
Phone: (800) 727-1926, (800) WESTIN-1.