Easy Living at the Shelborne Beach Resort
In South Beach, it’s all about the ocean: the ocean in the morning, when the sun rises over the water and the oceanfront hotels array their lounge chairs and umbrellas in neatly-ordered rows for another day in paradise.
The truth is, there’s no better South Beach vista than the one from the balcony of an oceanfront hotel room: the sweep of the sand, the aqua-blue water, waves breaking along the shore as yogis practice asanas and runners jog along the waterfront-and waiters scurry to and fro, carrying drinks to those too relaxed to move from their cushioned chaises.
This is the sort of view you want to awaken to every morning-and that’s where the Shelborne Beach Resort has you covered.
The Shelborne: where people come to chill-without attitude.
Designed by Igor Polevitzky, one of Miami Beach’s most forward-thinking architects, the Shelborne opened in December 1940, ushering in Miami’s Modernist style, a kind of streamlined elegance that is reflected in the Shelborne’s most noted architectural feature: a nearly thirty-foot sinuous S atop its tower.
Thanks to the efforts of the Miami Design Preservation League, which kept South Beach from completely succumbing to the wrecking ball, the Shelborne still towers over its immediate neighbors-enabling a bird’s-eye perspective on everything that happens on the beach-as well as the city across the bay.
For years, Hollywood stars found a refuge at the Shelborne-and today, that sense of casual sanctuary remains.
Less about being seen than about being wallet-friendly.
A family-owned operation, the Shelborne Beach Resort recently initiated a two-year restoration-and the results are exemplary. Nearly all of the capacious rooms now include flat-screen televisions, as well as a contemporary line of espresso wood furnishings. Room linens are by Kojo Worldwide, which also supplies bedding to some of the Shelborne’s more costly neighbors.
The overall effect is calming and clean, in keeping with Polevitzky’s maxim that a building’s interior spaces should flow effortlessly into its exterior places.
One- and two-bedroom townhouses, complete with full kitchens
And while the Shelborne does offer a fitness center on the seventeenth floor, there’s little question that the primary focus of the Shelborne’s guests is the pool, with Polevitzky’s trademark diving board. In these litigious times, there’s no diving allowed-which enables a soothing waterfall to continually cascade into the pool from the upper reaches of the diving board.
Dining poolside is an option-or should the journey from chaise to table prove too arduous, waiter service enables you to remain prone while sipping. In short, the Shelborne’s pool provides the perfect respite from whatever it was that brought you to South Beach in the first place. The Shelborne’s unpretentious pool scene also includes two Jacuzzi/hot tubs alongside the diving board, thereby insuring the release of any residual stress and tension.
Casual style, easy living
For those desirous of saltier waters, the ocean is just outside the Shelborne’s gate. Stroll the Beachwalk-doff your Havaianas-and feel the sand between your toes. Recline on a chaise-or simply flop on the sand-and stare at the ocean-and then gaze over your shoulder at your home away from home: the Shelborne’s Modernist lines silhouetted against the Miami Beach skyline.
What the Shelborne does best is afford a familial atmosphere without encroaching upon one’s privacy. The multi-lingual staff is both courteous and professional-as well as friendly. If anything is required-let’s say, a refrigerator in a room-then the staff is happy to accommodate.
A recent stay found the Shelborne filled with a cosmopolitan mix of guests from North and South America, as well as Europe, resulting in a respectful atmosphere of mutual congeniality.
One point to keep in mind is that the Shelborne is a condo-hotel-and in order to fully utilize the Shelborne’s services, it is necessary to book directly through the Shelborne-either on their website, or by telephone to their reservations department.
Room rates are extremely reasonable-and certainly nowhere near as taxing as the rates at the Shelborne’s more rarefied neighbors. Indeed, when combined with the various seasonal promotions (for example: stay at the Shelborne for three nights, and the fourth night is free), a room at the Shelborne becomes one way to weather the recession.
(One caveat: the Shelborne does have the habit of charging guests $3 daily for the use of the electronic safe in every hotel room-as irritating a surcharge as a mosquito buzzing about your head when you’re trying to sleep.)
Nonetheless, remind yourself again that it’s all about the ocean view-and particularly in the evening, when the sun sets behind the Miami skyline, painting the watercolor-streaked sky a rosy-orange-as the pastel neon lights of Miami Beach flash on. You’re at the Shelborne and everything’s fine.
Over the past few years, the Shelborne has become the nucleus of Winter Music Conference. This year’s edition of Winter Music Conference takes place from March 23rd - 28th-and the Shelborne will play host to international superstar DJ Danny Tenaglia for their final pool party of WMC 2010.