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Schrager, Marriott’s latest Edition opens

Miami Beach Edition Guest room

With the opening of the Miami Beach Edition, a next-generation urban resort by Ian Schrager in partnership with Marriott International, the city not only gains a unique oceanfront complex designed for 21st century recreation, socializing, networking, and business, but also takes its next great leap into the future.

“Ian Schrager will once again redefine the destination with the opening of Miami Beach and a one-of-a-kind experience that only he could create,” says Arne M. Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International.

“The sophisticated approach to modern luxury through design, culinary and entertainment elements so unique to Ian Schrager, combined with Marriott’s well-known service and operational culture, is what makes Edition one of the most intriguing brands in the industry.

“The experience we’ve been able to co-create with Edition, beginning in London and now in Miami, is one that excites a new generation of travelers.

“The future is bright for Edition, and we are thrilled to introduce such a stunning and extraordinary project to Miami Beach,” Sorenson says.

In many ways, the new Edition represents the most important step forward for the city since the moment when Schrager’s last Miami hotel, the Delano, opened in 1992—and changed everything.

“Up till then there hadn’t been a new hotel built in Miami Beach in almost forty years,” Schrager recalls.

For decades, the great mid-20th century resort city and its hotels had slipped into stasis and decline, as the jet age allowed vacationing Americans to flock to Europe and the Caribbean in place of their old Florida standby.

But in the early 1990s, Schrager sensed that something exciting and fresh was emerging in the historic Art Deco blocks of South Beach: a new population, and new kind of cultural energy.

Building on that realization, he created the Delano—and suddenly Miami Beach was on the map again, the hotel’s cutting-edge design and stylish atmosphere drawing sophisticated travelers back to the city for the first time in a generation.

“The fundamentals were always there: the ocean, the beach, the weather, the frequent flights,” Schrager says.

“All one had to do, it seemed to me, was create something special and comfortable; it was an example of ‘build it and people will come.’”

Two decades later, the Miami Beach Edition represents the next great seminal event in the life of the city.

Like its predecessor, it is built upon a realization about the profound shifts and changes that have transformed Miami in the years since the Delano opened.

No longer merely a getaway spot for people seeking a break from winter, or the place, as Lenny Bruce put it, “where neon goes to die,” Miami has emerged in the last two decades as world-class capital, a 24-hour gateway city whose cultural scenes – in art, architecture, music, fashion, cuisine, design – now rival any of the world’s urban centers, and attract people from every corner of the globe.

The explosive growth of Art Basel Miami has made the city a focal point of the international art world, while the rise of lively new areas such as the Biscayne Boulevard corridor, Wynwood, the Design District—along with downtown Miami itself—have given it the kind of resurgent, bustling, creative districts that cities like New York, Los Angeles, Paris and London have long enjoyed.

Above all, a tectonic shift is placing Miami at the fulcrum of 21st century culture, as the longtime cultural primacy of East and West Coasts, built in part on their ties with, respectively, Europe and Asia, is now being supplemented by the emergence of a third great “coast,” looking south, and energized by its links to the vibrant energies of Latin America—in music, fashion, art, design, food, entertainment – energies which are being funneled through Miami as nowhere else, and turning it into a new kind of global capital.

“The old ‘bicoastal’ cultural model,” Schrager says, “is really now more ‘tricoastal’: a kind of golden triangle of New York, L.A., and Miami.”

The arrival of the new Edition, like the Delano two decades ago, will at once ratify the city’s new stature—and propel its evolution even further.

“There are thousands of boutique hotels out there—some are good, some are not so good; but they’re all replicating what Steve [Rubell] and I did. This is something else, a step forward,” Schrager says.

“It’s a new kind of place—it’s the next-generation urban resort, and the next-generation business and lifestyle hotel. There’s nothing else like it on the beach or anywhere else.”

Located in the Mid-Beach area—the historic “heart of Miami Beach” between South Beach and North Beach—on a three and a half-acre private enclave stretching from Collins Avenue to the ocean shoreline, the Miami Beach Edition is not merely a hotel, but an elegantly designed, intricately interlinked complex of structures, spaces, and settings that together offer a new kind of resort environment, where every aspect of the traditional beach hotel has been re-imagined for the needs and desires of a new generation, and every thought given to enhancing a guest’s stay: for vacation, for relaxation—and for work.

Indeed, the Miami Beach Edition is the first resort hotel to embody a lifestyle revolution that has only begun to make itself felt in the world of hospitality. For a new generation of businesspeople, the era of the traditional office environment is coming to an end. Today’s entrepreneurs, creatives, and professionals have little interest in doing business in a formal or traditional corporate setting; instead, they want to work in places of comfort, and style, and human interaction, places where they can feel completely at home, fully connected, and part of a larger experience. Nor do they see any need to isolate their work from the rest of their lives, and, thanks to the power and connective universality of their laptops and handhelds, they can carry out business almost anywhere.

A few small venues, mostly catering to the tech world in the Pacific Northwest, have begun to recognize this, but Miami Beach Edition will carry the idea to an entirely new level, the first not only to integrate into its very design this new dynamic of working, networking and socializing, this blurring of the lines between work and play, but the first to combine it with the elevated experience and superior level of comfort, convenience, and features expected by the most sophisticated patrons. And, of course, it will be the first to offer all of this in a resort hotel, located in one of the greatest oceanfront settings in the world.

“We’re rethinking the relationship between a resort and a businessperson,” says Schrager, “and we’re saying, you’ll be able to come here for your business, and why shouldn’t you be able to have fun, and enjoy life while doing business, and networking, and being with a lot of like-minded people, in a new kind of space that is almost a kind a business club.”

Two overall goals have informed the concept and program of the Miami Beach Edition. The first is “one-stop shopping,” providing everything a guest could imagine—dining, nightlife, socializing, recreation, culture, work and meeting space—within the complex. Once there, in other words, one has no reason to leave. (Needless to say, however, it is one of the great attractions of the Edition to offer beyond its walls the entire metropolitan landscape of Miami, a true 24-hour place whose myriad offerings far surpass most resort areas and indeed most other cities.)

The other goal is to draw upon and enhance the deepest traditions of glamour and sophistication of one of the world’s greatest resort destinations: postwar Miami Beach—or the “Billion Dollar Sandbar,” as it was known in the 1950s. A stylish and thoughtful renovation of the landmark 1955 Seville Hotel by architect Melvin Grossman—whose “tower-on-a-pedestal” design represented a key step in the evolution of “Miami Modern” hotel architecture—the EDITION not only preserves much of the historic fabric, but evokes in its interiors the spirit of tropical elegance that defined Miami at its greatest.

This will be evident from the moment guests step into the hotel lobby, whose pristine white marble floors and polished white pearl Venetian plaster walls, highlighted with subtly variegated tones of gold and the deep green of indoor palm trees, will bring to mind such iconic gathering places as the world-famous Coconut Grove in the golden age of Hollywood.

One of the few hotel lobbies in Miami Beach to offer a view of the ocean, the spirit of the space, like the hotel itself, can be summarized as “barefoot chic,” or “new tropical”: a sense of casual elegance well suited to the soft air and gentle breezes coming in from the sea, along with certain sense of informal glamour.

“You might see people in golf attire, a bathing suit, a Pilates uniform, formal evening clothes, or jeans,” Schrager notes, “all comfortable, all being themselves, all connected by a certain sensibility.”

Filled with a variety of comfortable seating groupings and intimate lounging areas, the lobby will embody the Edition’s next-generation spirit, a place where the lines between work and play, socializing and networking, begin to blur.

A couple enjoying a romantic moment, a family on holiday, businesspeople gathered for an informal work session, an entrepreneur polishing a marketing plan, a fashion model being interviewed by a creative director—all will be happening at the same time, in the same great room, all embraced by the understated décor and grand proportions of the hotel’s historic architecture.

Just off the lobby, guests will find the Market—an imaginative reinvention of the classic 24-hour Miami Beach coffee shop by the Michelin star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Offering its own street entrance on Collins Avenue and inspired by the great century-old markets of San Miguel in Madrid and La Boqueria in Barcelona, this 21st century food bazaar—part patisserie, part boulangerie, part salumeria—will offer next-generation casual gourmet fast food around the clock at a series of bustling counters, an open-air café (overlooking the avenue), and a take-out area; an enticing range of healthy international items—from pizza and panini to baked goods, from ceviche and tapas to shakes and smoothies—will be found on its constantly rotating menus.

“Just like the great old coffee shops on Collins Avenue,” Schrager notes, “it’s a place that can be your first stop of the day, and your last stop of the night.”

Over on the beach side of the hotel, meanwhile, two stylish interior spaces will evoke classic Miami Beach elegance and sophistication: the Ocean Bar, a chic, elegantly designed lounge whose wide glass walls overlook the Atlantic, and the Matador Room, the hotel’s main restaurant—a grandly proportioned, glamorous oval-shaped space that recalls all the excitement of Miami Beach’s heyday (the kind of place, Schrager says, “one might expect to see Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers waltzing through”), where Jean-Georges will create a modern interpretation of Latin cuisine influenced by Spanish, Caribbean and South American flavors. The seasonal menu, composed of small and large plates, will utilize a bounty of the freshest Floridian ingredients.

These rooms in turn will link to the hotel’s extraordinary outdoor resort area, named “Tropicale” in honor of the historic 1950s Havana nightclub that inspired it, the Tropicana. Landscaped by Madison Cox, a series of landscaped outdoor “rooms,” each with its own personality, will offer guests different kinds of experiences over the course of the day, but link together seamlessly to create a single relaxing environment— one that transforms in the evening into a magical outdoor nightclub, where couples can dance under the stars as the moon rises over the sea. Guests can enjoy a drink under a romantic pergola, or sit in the Terrace Bar overlooking the pool area, or wander a little ways—past a second, even larger landscaped pool—to find a private beach, complete with an outdoor movie screen (like a “drive-in movie theater,” Schrager notes, “but without the cars”), an outdoor fire pit, and a village of private bungalows—all arranged within a lush pastoral landscape whose handsome trees, lawns, and plantings feel more like a botanical garden than a conventional hotel. One lovely discovery will be a freestanding “Hot Shoppe” for delicious healthy snacks and shakes—an homage to the original Washington, D.C. A&W root beer stand, founded by J. Willard and Alice Marriott in 1927, from which the Hot Shoppes and eventually today’s vast Marriott International arose.

The vision of a next-generation resort hotel that is also a business hotel—embodied everywhere from lobby to guest rooms—comes to a culmination in the Forum, a 10,000 square-foot amenity (among the largest of its kind in Miami Beach) that reimagines the traditional conference center and event space. Accessible both from the lobby and its own entrance on Collins Avenue, the Forum features a large daylighted reception room and landscaped exterior event space that together create a kind of indoor/ outdoor “cultural park,” with gallery openings, art exhibitions, film festivals, and cultural programs not only during Miami Art Basel but year-round—along with a ballroom designed in a contemporary style that avoids the ornate chandeliers and fittings of the typical conference space. Stylish, intelligently laid-out meeting spaces—equipped with state-of-the-art A/V, projection, teleconferencing and networking—will host everything from product launches and media events to academic conferences and corporate retreats.

Downstairs, in the evenings—and late into the night—hotel guests and visitors (who can arrive through a separate street entrance) can find another world altogether: a new kind of multidimensional entertainment hub—“a sort of red-light district, but legal,” Schrager says, “for the wild at heart”—to raise to a new bar what is already (with Ibiza) one of two greatest nightlife capitals of the world. Here guests will be able to choose among a dazzling range of environments, to be experienced one at time, or together across a night. At its heart is a select and fashionable “micro-club”: a sexy, modern-day version of Schrager’s legendary Studio 54, with world-class DJs, dance floor, and soundstage-quality sound and lighting systems (by Patrick Woodroffe, designer of films and concerts for Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and the Rolling Stones) that will transport patrons in ways they have never experienced. (“This picks up where Studio left off,” Schrager says, “a visual riot, sensory overload, a truly serious dance club.”) Continuing to explore, guests can don customized shoes (by famed artists) to find a bowling alley and lounge—reimagined with sound, lighting, luminescent bowling balls, and midnight bowling leagues into a place of 21st century spectacle, socializing and fun. And beyond that, a truly startling, almost Alice-in-Wonderland sight: an indoor ice-skating rink, its skaters gliding to the beat of a superb sound system, its ice surface become the canvas for spectacular lighting effects, its wide windows onto the street providing a surreal, almost Dali-esque sight for those driving or walking along Collins Avenue on warm evenings.

Every luxury hotel, of course, is ultimately judged by its guest rooms and its service. Miami Beach EDITION’s rooms and suites will be luxurious by every standard—generous and elegant in their design, their warm wood finishes and relaxed, beach-house feel offering a “refuge,” in Schrager’s words, with “everything your need and everything you want.” Embodying his deep belief that “simplicity is true luxury,” the rooms will also carry through the hotel’s mission to become a place where recreation and work can blend into one comfortable whole, through features—from oversized desks to ergonometric seating to sophisticated lighting—that allow them to serve equally well as micro-workspaces as places of retreat. That contemporary approach to luxury, in turn, will inform the hotel’s extraordinary service, which offers all the personalized attention one might want in a luxury hotel, but in a friendly, unpretentious, and modern way, with superb training and efficiency, but without the gold epaulettes or obsequious formalities.

In the end, few individuals have done more to put Miami Beach at the forefront of global culture than Ian Schrager, whose Delano hotel captured and compressed the excitement of a city being reborn, and propelled it into the future. Now, partnering with Marriott International for EDITION, he once again gathers in a single extraordinary place the energies of a new cultural moment for Miami and pushes it forward—providing a thrilling new direction for the city as it fully takes its place on the world stage.

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