Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Aloha to Miami - Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables

Next stop in Coral Gables, the historic Biltmore Hotel. From its website (link),

As the creator of Coral Gables, land developer George E. Merrick founded the University of Miami, and developed the suburbs with strict building codes to ensure the beautiful surrounding. In 1924, young Merrick joined forces with Biltmore hotel magnate John McEntee Bowman at the height of the Florida land boom to build “a great hotel…which would not only serve as a hostelry to crowds which were thronging to Coral Gables but also would serves as a center of sports and fashion.”

On November 25, 1924, 200 of Miami’s business and civic leaders, as well as the press gathered for a dinner to celebrate the new partnership. Bowman announced that the $10 million project would include a 400- room hotel, a country club, a service building, a championship golf course, polo fields, tennis courts and an enormous 150 by 225 foot swimming pool. The 18-hole golf course, designed by premier golf course architect Donald Ross was first to open debuting in January 1925.

Finally, on January 15, 1926, the Miami Biltmore Country Club debuted with a magnificent gala opening that promised to be the social event of the year. The leading socialites of the Northeast came down on trains marked "Miami Biltmore Specials." As champagne flowed and guests fox‐trotted to the strains of three orchestras, one led by famed bandleader Paul Whiteman, the Biltmore’s Giralda Tower was lit for the first time and could be seen from miles around. An overflow crowd of 1,500 guests attended the opening dinner‐dance, and a landmark era in South Florida history began.

We took the elevator to the top floor, which turned out to be entrance to the Penthouse suite. Obviously, we did not have a key to the suite, but we found this vintage phone ...

... and a bird's eye view of the golf course.

Back in the lobby, I noticed the faded stars in the vaulted ceilings (reminding me of Roslyn Chapel in the Da Vinci Code  movie).

The side passage guarded by a gargoyle added a Gothic element.

How about a head of coral?

Or a grand buffet from a time gone by? I have similar buffet from Belgium which is less grand but still beautiful.

Have you visited a grand and/or historic hotel?  One randomly selected commenter from this week's blogs wins a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Saturday, May 21, 10 pm in Baltimore. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 22, at SOS Aloha (link).


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

My office tote bag at the Biltmore


  1. The Seelbach Hilton Louisville, Ky one weekend while attending the races at Churchill Downs.. My BIL swore he heard hookers in the adjoining room.

  2. I visited a lot of the grand hotels in Vegas. There were so many exciting things to see and do.

  3. I have but the names escape me - many in Europe but some int he states too.

  4. No I never have, awesome, very classy.

  5. I've been to the Raffles Hotel in Singapore.

  6. I have been to some amazing places in Europe.

  7. I've walked thru the lobbies of some of the big hotels in NYC and San Francisco, but haven't stayed in any.

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