If you’ve ever visited Miami, you know full well the “rollercoaster of love”-type relationship one can form with South Beach hotels. Though the website shows photo after photo of chi-chi lobbies and tres modern guest rooms, the real life product can be a cruddy, over-priced mess. Hotel Shelly (Smelly), I’m talking to you, sista!
After a few more grown-up visits to SoBe, I’ve learned the logic of lodging. 5th-8th= MTV SpringBreak. 15th and beyond= chic and be seen.
In a way, it’s like the cafeteria scene from teen classic Mean Girls– “Over here you’ve got your Asian Nerds, Unfriendly Black Hotties, JV Jocks, Sexually Active Band Geeks…”
And then you have the Plastics- the group of HighEnd masterpieces that make all the other South Beach hotels look like that sad chick in Mean Girls whose only claim to fame was getting “awesomely” punched by Regina George.
The gorgeous Fountainbleu, reeking of new car smell, is nouvea-riche Toaster Streudel-heir Gretchen Weiners. The banging from the outside, but “eh, so-so” Sagamore Hotel is endearingly vapid Karen Smith.
But the true showdown occurs between the fab and flashy Gansevoort (obvi Regina) and the understated, but uber irresistible Delano (Cady).
Though I pooled, partied and poshed at the Gansevoort – or the G as we dubbed it- the moment I walked into the Delano, a post was born. The lobby of the G seduces you instantly with its sexy shark tank and HighEnd boutiques like my beloved BigDrop. The Delano, however, with its mismatched furniture and offbeat artwork, gives the impression of a devil-may-care cool kid, not really giving a damn if you stay or not.
The G may claim to be the meeting point of NYC and MIA, but the Delano actually achieves that level of chicness. In fact, the Delano is so stylish that it allows you for at least one moment to be transported beyond the slightly nauseating glitz and faux glamour of South Beach. Catching sight of an oversized chess set in the lawn, I found myself remarking, “This is so cool it doesn’t even feel like we’re in Miami.”
And the cherry topping is the Delano’s mind-blowingly delicious Blue Door restaurant. A $10 bottle of Pelligrino hardly feels indulgent while overlooking the posh back lawn and pool. And the menu achieves gourmet status while still sounding tasty and inviting. I was in literal foodie heaven the moment I tasted the Delano Cobb salad. Avocados, fresh crab, egg and bacon…hmmm, Homer Simpson food coma! And the Blue Door’s specialty, the ground tuna burger was so frickin’ mouth-watering it almost had me pulling a J.Simpson- “Is this chicken or beef or what? I know it says tuna burger, but…”
I won’t even bother showering this haute hotel with any more compliments, because in true Plastics form, it’ll just smirk “I know, right?” and continue being the coolest kid on Collins’ block.