T+L Reports: South Beach Showdown
Are those champagne corks or cannonballs flying over Collins Avenue?A turf war is brewing in Miami as three of the nation's hottest hoteliers—Ian Schrager, André Balazs, and Jason Pomeranc—transform landmark properties and vie for the coveted SoBe clientele. Let the games begin.
—Peter Jon Lindberg
CONTENDER IAN SCHRAGER
Shore Club 1901 Collins Ave.; 877/640-9500; www.ianschragerhotels.com
PEDIGREE Industry veteran Schrager, who took over recently, invented the concept of the hotel lobby as the place to be seen.
SECRET WEAPON One word: SkyBar. Even before its January debut, everyone was buzzing about this Miami outpost of the trendy L.A. bar.
THE ODDS A branch of Nobu downstairs, with a guest list that reads like Us Weekly—Schrager's latest venture is a shore bet.
CONTENDER ANDRÉ BALAZS
Raleigh Hotel 1775 Collins Ave.; 800/848-1775; www.raleighhotel.com
PEDIGREE Balazs, with his Standard properties in L.A. and the chic Mercer in Manhattan, is Schrager's toughest competitor.
SECRET WEAPON That opulent swimming pool, like the rest of the 1940 property, was designed by Art Deco icon L. Murray Dixon.
THE ODDS Balazs won raves for his redo of L.A.'s Chateau Marmont. Can he repeat the trick in a new locale?Count on it.
CONTENDER JASON POMERANC
Sagamore 1671 Collins Ave.; 800/950-1363; www.thompsonhotels.com
PEDIGREE Pomeranc, 31, might seize the keys to the hip-hotel kingdom with this follow-up to his 60 Thompson in New York.
SECRET WEAPON A top-quality contemporary art collection (Massimo Vitali and Tina Dietz) is displayed throughout the hotel.
THE ODDS If Pomeranc's young, arty set follows him south, it could put him ahead in a crowded field.
Sagamore Hotel, Miami Beach
A sweeping porte cochere greets visitors at this graceful Modernist hotel from the 1940s, which also functions as a contemporary art gallery. The minimalist aesthetic serves as backdrop to site-specific installations, paintings, and photography—including a cheeky tribute to hallucinogenic mushrooms over the front desk by Roxy Paine (the sculptor whose writhing morass of steel branches once filled the roof of New York’s Met). Guests can take refuge from the thumping Miami Beach soundscape in one of the 93 art-studded studios and suites, or sample lobster cocktails by the beachside pool.