And you thought South Beach was already too cool for school? Now, two of America’s hippest hotels — one from New York, the other from L.A. — have spawned new versions of themselves in Florida’s capital of decadence. First to breeze into town is Gansevoort South, a Collins Avenue version of the hotel that first opened up Manhattan’s Meat Packing district to luxury lodgings in 2004. The new property — which opened this month — trumps its elder sibling’s modest rooftop splash-about with a 22,000-square-foot “rooftop retreat” that commands ocean views and is, according to the Gansevoort folks, “arguably the largest rooftop playground in the country.” Downstairs is no less dramatic either: the lobby shows off a 50-foot-long shark tank.
If the Manhattanization of Miami weren’t enough, Californication is around the corner. When West Hollywood mainstay the Mondrian gives birth to the Mondrian South Beach this spring, the hotel-residence will join the Delano and the Shore Club as the latest Miami brand in the Morgans Hotel Group portfolio. Sure, one of its penthouses just sold for $5 million (tell that to Ritz-Carlton South Beach, who sold one for $17 million), but we’re more excited by the design flourishes courtesy of Marcel Wanders. The former Elle Decoration designer of the year conceived the hotel as “Sleeping Beauty’s castle,” with labrythine gardens, oversized poolside lamps, secret pathways and “kissing corners.” It may not boast a fabled Skybar of its LA parent, but give it time. Or wait for Soho Beach House Miami to open: The latest outpost of the London and Manhattan private members’ club debuts 2009.