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Downtown Miami's New b2 Hotel: To Ultra Or Not To Ultra?

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Checking in on the Downtown Miami hotel scene with our new freelancer Miles Runner...

Starting March 1st - two weeks before Ultra Music Festival insanity begins across the street - you can reserve a room at the b2 Hotel on Biscayne Boulevard in Downtown Miami, the latest thing in the transformation of Miami's urban core. B-Hotels out of Weston, FL has taken the run down Riande Hotel Continental Downtown Miami Bayside WHATEVER (it seems the hotel went by many variations on that name)?. the Hotel Continental... and turned it into their first "b2" product. A b-mini if you will. They're doing the full-service-hotel-at-a-bargain-price thing, catering to the yuppie market, with a spa to boot.

The more-or-less total gut rehab of this hotel is the difference between it being a post-Ultra Music Festival rave haven with a guest list that Marc Sarnoff would have us assume is "70 to 80 percent on drugs" as it has been in the past, and the hotel catering to slightly more sophisticated business travelers and pre-cruise families. (the port is, like, right there) Will b2 be prepared to handle two full weekends of Ultra madness across the street with only two weeks under its belt?

Jim Jones, famed kool-aid cult leader, had plastered above his throne, "those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it." There's nothing to indicate mistakes have been made in this property's history for the B-People to repeat, but let's assume it has something to do with this question of "to Ultra or not to Ultra?" and take a look at the history of the place.

The Hotel Continental was built over the structure of the Miami Colonial Hotel. ExMiami Colonial Hotel It was once a luxury Spanish Colonial landmark worthy of housing an ill-fated Spanish prince. It was renamed the Hotel Continental Riande Downtown Bayside Marketplace Definitely Not Full Service Hotel and given a new facade (with smaller windows, really?) sometime in the late 80's when things were better and withered away like the House of Usher as its owners couldn't keep it up.

An indication that things at the Riande might be different now that it's the b2 is a new hangout by famed restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow: Biscayne Tavern, a gastropub where "southern comfort meets urban fusion?serving a variety of craft and seasonal ales, combined with upscale and irresistibly delicious gourmet offerings," will go in the Hotel's lobby. Irresistibly delicious gourmet offerings? Who could resist that? But why shouldn't the description just read, "Everything, all at once. All of your favorite things, all of the time. For free." Its walls will be covered in rich mahogany and smell of leather bound books. But we'll let Eater cover that...

Perhaps the new b2 brand will bring the hotel back to its potential in one of Miami's most action-packed locations. The vision of the B-People with this hotel is not quite clear yet (is it for pre-cruise fanny packers, stylish young workaholics, or the those friends of Molly?), nor is it made any clearer when examining the photos, but it's their first one of these b-things so we'll just wait and see how Ultra treats them before we can commune with their vision for the future, whatever it is.

· b2 Miami Downtown Hotel [b Hotels]
· Commissioner wants to kill second weekend of Ultra [Miami New Times]
· Hidden under the Continental Hotel is the Colonial Hotel [exMiami]
· Tragic Drama Under The Miami Moon [Biscayne Times]
· Jeffrey Chodorow Brings Biscayne Tavern To Downtown [Eater Miami]