Splendor in the sun

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Decades ago, the Fontainebleau was a vacation hot spot for the East Coast elite and a playground for Hollywood legends: Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Judy Garland, Lucille Ball and others.

Today, thanks to a nearly completed $1-billion restoration, the hotel built in 1954 on the eastern section of Miami Beach is again turning heads.

It hosted the taping of the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, which airs at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3, on CBS. In return, the lingerie brand's famous contract models cut the ribbon Nov. 14 on the resort's official reopening.

"It's the most glamorous hotel," Victoria's Secret Angel Adriana Lima said last week before walking the runway. "For me to be here, I feel so special."

Like the hotel's original architect, the late Morris Lapidus, even its most famous features were odd: the "staircase to nowhere" was a set of lobby steps that led to a small coat closet, and the "Swiss cheese wall" was an exterior face with small, circular windows. Both have been restored.

Also awaiting guests are 1,500 guest rooms in two towers, numerous pools, a day spa and 11 restaurants and lounges.

"In its day in the '50s and '60s, the Fontainebleau was state-of-the-art in glamour," Jeffrey Beers, a New York architect updating the interior, told The New York Times. "We would like to restore that in spirit."

It's well on its way.

Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Web: fontainebleau.com