Think of Miami, and you’ll surely think of a shoreline laced with neon, pastel colors, and classic cars. Florida’s favorite resort city has been characterized by Art Deco design since both the style and the city itself flourished in the 1920s, and continues to be a haven for aficionados to this day.
Historic-minded Miami residents recognized the resurgence of interest in Art Deco in the 1980s, and took measures to preserve some of the more illustrious structures built during the period. If Miami itself is a kind of global brand, the look and feel of Art Deco has been a key factor in its development. Here are a few of Relevance New York’s picks of truly classic Art Deco hotels in Miami, where you can take in the vintage style with the very latest in 21st-century amenities.
The Carlyle | 1250 Ocean Drive
The Carlyle is one of the most iconic Art Deco hotels in Miami and a must-see for fans of the style – or of stunning architecture in general. Opened in 1939, the exterior of the hotel has been nearly unchanged for 75 years. It was designed by the architecture firm of Kiehnel and Elliott, who were well-known exponents of the style. A white and sea-foam green color palette adorns the exterior and a large, pink neon sign illuminates the entrance. Following the traditional Art Deco rules of geometry, the front is divided vertically into four symmetrical sections by three large runs that begin at the awning and extend beyond the roof. Situated on the famous Ocean Drive, a road known for its celebrated hotels and as a popular location for film and television shoots, The Carlyle is a classic in every sense of the word.
The Breakwater | 940 Ocean Drive
The Breakwater Hotel is a stunning sight to behold: it glows bright blue and yellow by night, standing out in a city where doing so is no easy task. Designed with the signature symmetry of the Art Deco style, the Breakwater ascends from the strip like a pillar with its large neon sign displaying its moniker vertically down the face of the hotel, and dividing the façade into two equal sections. Designed in 1936 by architect Anton Skiskewicz, the meticulous symmetry and inimitable glow of The Breakwater makes it impossible to ignore.
Cadillac Hotel | 3925 Collins Avenue
The Cadillac hotel is larger and has decidedly less flash than some of its Art Deco counterparts, and it’s due to this refinement and simplicity that the building has become a Miami icon. Built in 1940, The Cadillac Hotel—perhaps unsurprisingly, or due to a savvy stroke of brand development—was built to look like the car it’s named after. The curved awning that sports the Cadillac moniker looks like it could be the hood of a classic car. The vertical lines that begin there and ascend up the face of the building ending at the sky with typical Art Deco symmetry, remind one of the smooth lines that defined the look of vintage Cadillacs.
The Mcalpin Hotel | 1424 Ocean Drive
Famed Miami Art Deco designer L. Murray Dixon designed The Mcalpin Hotel in 1940, and—like the others on this list—it has been virtually unchanged since. The design of The Mcalpin is boiled down to the bare bones; it’s a true example of the unfiltered purity of Art Deco design. The building is faultlessly symmetrical, colored in pastels, sporting dividing lines and hues that add quaintness to the refined simplicity of the overall design. The Mcalpin is likely the most irrefutably classic example of the Art Deco design style on this list with every inch of the hotel defining the characteristics of the form.
Photo courtesy of: Ann Baekken