Ritz Plaza Hotel in South Beach to get makeover

South Beach’s Ritz Plaza Hotel has announced that it is to undergo a major renovation and rebranding. Property owner SBE says it is moving ahead with plans for designer Philippe Starck to update the hotel’s guestrooms and relaunch the property as the SLS South Beach in spring 2012.

According to SBE, Sam Nazarian’s Los-Angeles-based hospitality, real estate development and lifestyle company, Starck’s design for the hotel “will feature a stunning surrealistic feel highlighted by a white-on-white palate with limited accents from carpeting, stone or artwork. Perfectly suited for a luxurious yet vibrant beach experience, the project will mark Starck’s … return to South Beach, where his 1995-designed Delano remains the market standard.”

SBE announced plans for the Starck-designed SLS chain two years ago.

In addition to updating the Ritz Plaza’s 132 rooms, SBE plans for the site include the construction of 10 new pool-side bungalow suites, opening an 8,000-square-foot Hyde Lounge, and the addition of two Starck-designed restaurants: The Bazaar by Jose Andres and Katsuya.

Originally built in 1939 under architect L. Murray Dixon, the Ritz Plaza features a rooftop architectural design described as depicting a “lantern reaching to the sky.” It is the tallest art deco structure in South Beach.

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