Now owned by hotelier Keith Menin of Menin Hotels, the property was originally designed in 1940 by modernist Igor Polevitzky. Morris Lapidus, the architect of Miami Modern (MiMo) hotels added an extension to it in the 1950s.
The newly designed Shelborne South Beach is said to take the “vice and virtues of the 40s and 50s and translates them into a modern interpretation” by implementing a “naughty and nice” design theme to the hotel’s lobby, guestrooms, ballroom and pool.
Upon arrival at the Shelborne, guests are greeted with an interpretation of an original Morris Lapidus designed floating porte cochere and curved glass entry with a view of the lobby. ADD Inc Miami’s lobby design focuses on tuxedo tones featuring prominent white walls to contrast black accent pieces. The design incorporates a showpiece lobby featuring Maria Theresa crystal chandeliers; a reception desk (also referred to as the “bubble desk”) containing rows of acrylic orbs illuminated from behind; and a concierge desk wrapped in black stingray skin. Two dominant black Marquina Negro marble columns with channels of white veining counteract the starkness of the reception desk.
Past the reception desk is the Shelborne’s lobby lounge with black terrazzo, black tufted lounges, pool table and photo wall. To play with the black and white, naughty and nice theme of the hotel, the lounge walls are finished with black mirrors illuminated by glass sconces. Also part of the lobby scene is the GuyandGirl Boutique and the nouveau Bar Tanaka by Chef Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka.
In addition to Bar Tanaka, Vesper American Brasserie, which got its name from a James Bond movie, and the poolside taco stand Lucy’s Cantina Royale, are now part of Shelborne’s dining experience. Crème Design created the interiors for the three restaurants.
The new hotel rooms mix the past with the present featuring a blend of black and whites, black and gray wall-to-wall carpet, modern furniture and Art Deco-styled accents. The beds are now with white headboards and decorative pillows. A screen wall with triangular motifs was created to resemble the pattern in the hotel’s original porte cochere structure. The bathrooms feature custom wood and marble vanities, and polished white marble flooring.
A walkway with white exterior walls and ceilings covered in vines, banquettes with pillows and glass guardrails lead guests to the new infinity pool. Other features include a sun deck with an arc of shower water connected by a catwalk bridge, MiMo style staircase with glass bubble roof, poolside cabanas with private showers, and a beach garden surrounding the pool area.
The property also has a new ballroom featuring a custom designed gray diamond carpet with floral motifs capturing the hotel’s original MiMo diamond façade. Carrera marble walls and bars, white sheer drapery and linear crystal chandeliers were also added to the space.