Eastern Excitement: New Developments in Florida

The biggest development news on Florida’s East Coast, and really in the whole state, is the Genting Group’s plan for a $3.8-billion casino complex on Miami Beach, but that is far from the only thing happening on the Sunshine State’s Atlantic seaboard. 

From the plethora of Art Deco properties springing up in Miami to major renovations wrapping up on Amelia Island near Jacksonville, there are a lot of new and renewed hotels and resorts worth a look in this part of Florida.

Miami
The 243-room St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort opened last month on Collins Avenue between the beach and the designer boutiques of the Bal Harbour Shops. All rooms have ocean views and balconies and the property offers amenities including celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s J & G Grill, a Remede Spa, and 11,200 square feet of event space. 

The new SLS South Beach opening this spring will be SBE Hospitality’s first East Coast property. Housed in the Art Deco Ritz Plaza, the 142-room luxury property features rooms and event space designed by Phillippe Starck, as well as several restaurants and lounges with West Coast pedigrees, such as James Beard winner Jose Andres’ The Bazaar and Katsuya by Starck, helmed by sushi chef Katsuya Uechi. Both Andres and Uechi cater events in the hotel’s 28,000 square feet of event space.

Thompson Hotels has finished a multi-million-dollar renovation of the former Hotel Victor on Ocean Drive in the Art Deco District, which emerged this year as the Thompson Ocean Drive. The 90-room luxury boutique property offers an infinity pool, Spa V, several restaurants and lounges, and 6,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. 
In December, Kimpton Hotels & Resorts raised its flag over the new Surfcomber Miami, South Beach, a 186-room beachfront boutique property in the Art Deco District. The hotel has 1,500 square feet of meeting space and can host up to 50 guests indoors and 500 outdoors. 

On the rebranding front, the Turnberry Isle Miami has ditched its Fairmont flag and completed a $2-million renovation of the 48 rooms and suites in its Orchid Building tower. 

Palm Beach
The 379-room PGA National Resort & Spa, with five championship golf courses, is in the final round of a $65-million revitalization project scheduled for completion in the fall. Current work includes a top-to-bottom makeover of all guest rooms and corridors with a hipper decor, the addition of a zero-entry pool and signature restaurant, and the renovation of the breakfast buffet area into the Palm Terrace, available as a poolside venue for evening events. The property’s 40,000 square feet of meeting and conference space was recently overhauled.

In November, The Breakers Palm Beach completed a five-year, $80-million renovation of all 540 guest rooms, adding marble to the bathrooms, custom furnishings, Wi-Fi, and flat-screen televisions. The resort, which has 40,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, also added a 1,700-square-foot suite designed by Badgley Mischka.

The 222-room Hilton Singer Island Oceanfront Resort completed a renovation in January that included the addition of an 800-square-foot oceanfront meeting room with direct beach access.

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts broke ground last summer on a Hyatt Place in the heart of downtown Delray Beach, with 134 rooms and spa-inspired bathrooms. 

The Embassy Suites West Palm Beach-Central opened last month, between downtown West Palm Beach and the airport. It has 194 two-room suites and 17,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as an outdoor pool, lighted tennis courts, saunas, and a Precor fitness center. 

Looking further out, the Palm Beach County Commissioner’s Office has taken steps to improve the Palm Beach County Convention Center, approving a $27-million subsidy for a connecting hotel. The plans call for a 400-room Hilton property. 

Jacksonville
The Renaissance World Golf Village Resort completed a major expansion of its outdoor meeting and event space last fall, bringing its total to 101,000 square feet. The centerpiece of the additions is the La Terrazza area, featuring brick pavers and elegant furniture in conversational groupings. Capable of hosting up to 2,000 guests, it has power, communication, and Internet connectivity comparable to an indoor ballroom. Earlier last year, the resort added a boardroom and a business center.

The downtown Omni Jacksonville Hotel recently completed a $1.5-million renovation of its 14,000 square feet of meeting space, updating the decor and upgrading the sound system and lighting. The Sheraton Jacksonville added a ballroom in November, bringing its total meeting space to 9,525 square feet.

Amelia Island
The Omni Amelia Island Plantation embarked on an $85-million “re-imagination” of the 1,350-acre property in November. The project will include the addition of 128 guest rooms and 27 suites for a total of 404 ocean-facing rooms, a new lobby with floor-to-ceiling ocean views, a significantly expanded Beach Club area, more food and beverage offerings, and an expansion of the conference center, bringing the total meeting space to 70,000 square feet of space. The project is scheduled for completion next spring. 

The 444-room Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, with more than 40,000 square feet of meeting space, will complete a renovation next month, updating guest rooms with a new color scheme, carpet, and balcony doors  with plantation shutters. The work wraps a six-year, $65-million expansion and renovation that included a new spa and ballroom.