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Fontainebleau, Miami Beach 

4441 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 800 548 8886 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 538 2000
Fax: 305 532 8145
view web site ›'s insider take:

"When you create the stage setting and it is grand, everyone who enters will play their part," wrote Morris Lapidus, the original architect of this iconic Miami Beach resort. And Mr. Lapidus's words ring true more than half a century later. After it opened in 1954, everyone from Lucille Ball to Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley checked in. Since emerging from a three-year, $1 billion (yes, billion) makeover in late 2008, Fontainebleau remains an It spot in a town that absolutely loves to be looked at. Two new towers were added during the renovations (bringing the room count to 1,504), and Lapidus's original Art Deco details were restored, including the bow tie tiles in the lobby floor and the legendary "Staircase to Nowhere." Rooms are outfitted in varying shades of off-white, from the ivory leather headboards to the white marble bathrooms to the cream wingback chairs with arc lamps above. Be sure to stay on the ocean side of the resort, where you'll feel as if you're at sea on a yacht, thanks to sweeping Atlantic views from your curved balcony. During the renovation, the stunning Lapis spa was added, with cool gray marble everywhere, 30 treatment rooms, and a 35-foot-long rain tunnel. You'll find the spa near the expansive pool, seen on the big screen in Goldfinger and Scarface; the pool area is surrounded by countless daybeds and leads down to the beach. Nightlife is copious at Fontainebleau, of course. Start your evening fashionably late with a blueberry mojito in the lobby's Blue Bar, where the floor tiles cast an azure glow, then book a table at Scarpetta or Gotham to break bread with Miami's glitziest. LIV nightclub, off the lobby, goes all night most nights. Need we add that you must dress to impress? —Terry Ward

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
With its iconic Miami Modern architecture and guests like Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, the Fontainebleau created a buzz when it opened in 1954. Now, a three-year renovation has put the 1,500-room beachside behemoth back on the map, with an over-the-top "what recession?" atmosphere and new adjacent towers housing rooms, 11 restaurants, and a $50 million spa. As a one-stop entertainment complex, the resort lives up to its billing—although the service will have to improve to keep up with the number of guests. All the large rooms, which fill four towers, come with 20-inch iMacs (from which you can make restaurant and spa reservations) and very comfortable beds. On-site distractions include the lobby nightclub, Liv; a series of high-end shops; and a gargantuan complex of pools that includes the see-and-be-seen original. Architecture buffs will enjoy the historic Morris Lapidus details—like the bowtie-motif marble floor and the famous staircase to nowhere, which allowed women to make a grand entrance.—2009 Hot List

When to go: After the New Year holiday, when Miami remains balmy.

Which room to book: In the original Versailles tower, which is close to the resort's restaurants and spa, ask for an Atlantic Ocean view.

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