Fontainebleau throwing 100-day bash to honor Sinatra’s 100th

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An archival photo of Frank Sinatra at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach.
An archival photo of Frank Sinatra at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach.

From the 1950s to the 1970s, Frank Sinatra performed hundreds of shows at the Fontainebleau, turning the Miami Beach hotel into something of a home away from home. In fact, Sinatra even had his own permanent 17th floor suite at the resort, courtesy of Fontainebleau founder Ben Novack.

This fall, the Fontainebleau will pay homage to “Ol' Blue Eyes” with a 100-day celebration that begins on Sept. 2. The promotion is timed to end on Dec. 12, which would have been Sinatra's 100th birthday.

For aficionados of the legendary crooner, the highlight of the promotion may well be an exhibit of 35 images of Sinatra. The collection is curated by the Sinatra family, and some of the photos were taken by renown photographer Terry O'Neill.

But other touches will be offered, as well. Throughout the 100-day countdown, patrons of the Fontainebleau's Bleau Bar will be able to sample Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select in conjunction with a toast to the singer. Fontainebleau restaurants will also feature throwback 1950s menu offerings.

The Dec. 12 finale to the promotion will be a concert honoring Sinatra, though the Fontainebleau has not announced who the performer will be.

Sinatra began performing in the Fontainebleau's Le Ronde nightclub, now the site of the trendy Liv club, shortly after Novack opened the landmark hotel on central Miami Beach in 1954. For the following 22 years, until shortly before Hilton bought the property out of bankruptcy, Sinatra made the Fontainebleau one of his regular stops, performing there more than 200 times.

Even the casual tourist could tell when Frank rolled into the resort.

“Whenever Frank Sinatra played Fontainebleau’s La Ronde nightclub there was big money to be made. There would be long lines of fans in the lobby, desperate for tickets, and the only way to see the show was to discreetly tip the head waiter $100,” says Kristina Ratsy, the hotel's senior marketing manager. “Frank Sinatra was the engine driving Fontainebleau. And whenever he was in residence, the money flowed.”

Along with his live performances, Sinatra acted in scenes from two movies at the Fontainebleau; the 1959 Frank Capra-directed comedy “A Hole in the Head” and the 1969 detective film “Tony Rome,” in which he co-starred with his former flame, Jill St. John.

A 2010 article in the magazine Ocean Drive gave insight into Sinatra's stay at the hotel during the filming of “Tony Rome.” After days on the set, Sinatra, ever the night owl, would give late-night performances at Le Ronde.

“Onstage, Sinatra would sip Jack Daniel’s and run through a dozen or so of his signature songs, mixing a little Rat Pack humor in between,” the article says. “One gag involved sitting on a stool that had a seat belt. 'The last time I was here, I fell off,' he informed the audience. Then, for those who didn’t quite catch his drift: 'I’m bombed!'”

Though it's likely that nobody will quite do the high-life with the panache that “the Chairman of the Board” did, the Fontainebleau is offering guests a chance to give it a try as part of the 100-day Sinatra celebration. The Love Like Frank package, priced at $1,915 for two nights in a junior suite or above, will include a bottle of Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select, a $250 dinner credit, two 50-minute massages and gifts themed to the Sinatra era.

For more information, visit  www.fontainebleau.com.

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