Christine visits the new Fountainebleau

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Several weeks ago, Ceci and I set out for an evening in MIMO land. What is MIMO? It stands for Miami Modern. When the Art Deco district started to lack luster in the 1940's and 1950's, the spotlight turned to the new hotels constructed further north around 40th street. The most famous landmarks were the Fountainebleau and Eden Roc Hotels.

So Ceci and I decided to visit the newly remodeled Fountainebleau Hotel which was unveiled last fall with a Victoria's Secret runway show.

As an official tour guide of Miami Beach with a beach strip breadth of knowledge surrounding the architecture and history of hotels dotting "America's Riviera", I had mixed emotions about visiting the Fountainebleau. Did the new owners preserve the 1950s features and spirit?

For the complete review of the hotel renovations, click here to visit my FABULOUS FLORIDA blog.

So first I beelined for the staircase. The famous "Staircase to Nowhere". As you will picture below the Staircase is still intact and still leads to nowhere as evidence by the lit-up red Exit sign at the top of the staircase. But symbolically, the staircase led to recognition. How? Well you'll just have to take my tour to find out!

The lobby is well preserved with a few updates. First, and interestingly, Miami Vice pink and blue lights emanate from the lobby's iconic bar--the Bleau Bar. I wonder what inspired the designer to use blue lights to illuminate the floor and pink for the concentric circles in the ceiling followed by a Jetson-futuristic white light orb? Eye catching indeed but a disconnect from the golden era of the 1950's.

Then we headed for the restaurants for a light meal. Scarpetta was the choice for the evening. For my review of this Italian restaurant, visit Fabulous Florida.

The Bleau Bar long regarded as the meeting place for the celebrities

The bar is full of guests and locals, relaxing from a tiring day at the sun-drenched pool, or clubgoers anxiously waiting for the club to open its doors. LIV (pronounced "live") is a voyeuristic-design, multi-floor, high energy dance club with three, full-service bars, and music selections ranging from house, rock and hip hop. Private skyboxes with European bottle service is available for those seeking VIP treatment.

Originally we learned the entrance admission was a non-recessionary rate of $50.00. That night the rate we heard from bar guests was a palatable $20. We were invited a few times by men supposedly warned that without any females in their all male entourage, would keep them on the other side of the velvet cordon guarded by the "you-have-to-pass my eye-candy filter or slip-me-a-fifty" bouncer. This is typical of popular clubs in South Beach that are the size of sardine cans. However, I found it hard to believe it for this spacious club.

Actually, this evening was meant to catch up with my friend and the fact that my feet survived the past four hours in heels was a podiatric miracle. The thought of dancing sent needles spiking through my meta tarsels. We politely declined.

The hotel was brimming with convention attendees, locals, and other hotel guests and the energy was contagious. No matter what darkness loomed outside the hotel walls from a plaguing recession, within the confines of the hotel, everyone felt luxurious or like a celebrity. Everyone was somebody. I recommend a visit to the Fountainebleau Hotel and at the very least, a drink at the iconic Bleau bar.

Cecilia, Scooter, and Christine

If you have visited the Fountainebleau before or after the renovation and expansion, LEAVE A COMMENT by clicking "Comment" below.
What was your impression?

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  1. Christine,

    How have you been? The picture came out great and it was nice meeting you. Hope you had a great weekend! I will keep in touch.