Back in the day, when people would 'meet under the clock at the Biltmore' (the New York Biltmore, not the Miami one) hotel lobbies were the social hearts of not only their respective hotels, but of entire cities. Since then, as hotel rooms have gotten bigger, things like TV replaced socializing as means of entertainment, and hotel guests have desired more privacy, many newer lobbies even in a resort city such as Miami often don't quite have the panache of their stately older brethren. But, even with TV (and the internet, and video games, and cars, and drugs, and prostitutes, and the beach, and nightclubs, and every possible other Miami distraction) a really spectacular lobby can still energize life at a hotel. So, here we present, in no particular order, our list of South Florida's Six Most Beautiful Hotel Lobbies.
1) The Delano: If not the most captivating room in all of Miami (which it very well might be), the annoyingly hard to photograph lobby of the Delano Hotel is easily South Florida's most sublime and ethereal hotel lobby. Designed by Philippe Starck years ago, the room has hardly been touched since, thank god, because when you're in it, you feel like God. By gutting the entire lobby level of the Delano, and installing long flowing curtains at regular intervals, Starck takes full advantage of cross ventilation to keep the room cool, and the curtains billowing. Lights are always low, but a glow can be seen at the door at the very end, shimmering off the room's white columns, walls, and curtains. At its best, and usually during the winter months, the AC is shut off, doors at both ends are left open, and a gentle breeze can always be felt passing through the space.
Flickr Pool/PhotoMe Photography]
2) The Biltmore: The Biltmore's grand lobby was meant to make a drop dead statement and, like the entire hotel when it was built, sell lots of real estate. That's why it's so far from the beach or even the bay, but in the middle of a residential neighborhood, where guests could pick up a lot before a round of golf.
3) The Mayfair: The guest rooms of the eclectic, architecturally scrumptious Mayfair center around two indoor atria with glass roofs, elaborate gardens, and gargling fountains in complex geometric shapes. Architect Kenneth Treister designed complex, hand made details, including monolithic columns, heavy metal light fixtures, and lots of wood trim. There's also some Tiffany glass in there somewhere.
4) The Eden Roc: Perhaps the most well preserved of architect Morris Lapidus's fabulous Miami Beach lobbies, you were meant to feel as if you were in a movie while in the lobby. The 'staircase to nowhere' was perfect for grand entrances, and the many levels meant you were always on a stage, even when just reading the morning paper.
5) The Breakers: This lobby was the center of the Palm Beach social scene when it opened in the 20s, and boy does it still look every bit the part.
6) The W South Beach: Unlike almost every other hotel built within the last twenty years, the W's lobby is a new lobby that feels like an old one. It's big, it's tall, it has plenty of sitting areas, it's plush, and it's very well designed. And it's a public space. Yes, people meet there, as if they were meeting 'under the clock.' In fact, one of those people claims to have been attacked by prostitutes in that very same lobby. Very Miami!
· Hotels Week 2013 coverage [Curbed Miami]