Since Delano South Beach is known for its hot pool scene and party atmosphere, it’s hard to imagine that the building, created in 1947 by Rob and Rose Schwartz and designed by architect Robert Swartburg, was originally utilized for military housing and more. Named after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the structure is Art Deco (as are all of the older buildings in the neighborhood) and stands out at Collins Avenue and 17th Street thanks to its winged finials. In 1994, hotelier Ian Schrager (co-founder of New York’s Studio 54) purchased the building and opened Delano South Beach one year later under the Morgans Hotel Group brand.
You won’t see any remnants from the Delano’s military past. To revamp the space, the South Beach hotel partnered with designer Philippe Starck, who created an Alice in Wonderland fantasy world (check out the life-size chess set on the way to the pool or the ornate silver table and chairs situated in the pool). Throughout the entire hotel, which was designed to feel like a home, you’ll see unique furnishings (milk bottle light fixtures and a wall covered in nightlights) and a playful approach to items such as seating — there’s one $12,000 gold Salvador Dalí “Leda” chair by Starck that looks like the shape of a woman.
Although all of these fun items will capture your attention, other focal points include the happening pool area with its 10 cabanas (two are designated for spa treatments) and eight bungalows. And while you’re lounging at the pool, expect fresh treats to be served every hour, including strawberry piña colada shots and mochachino samples. If you want to hit the beach, you’ll be just steps away from the sand, ocean, your own chaise lounge and a cabana staff member who will check in with you while you’re tanning. The Delano Beach Club is open daily (till 3 a.m. on some days) and emits a sexy vibe in a party-like poolside atmosphere.
Other hotel highlights include restaurants Bianca (modern Italian fare), Umi Sushi & Sake Bar and Rose Bar for light bites like spicy eggplant and cocktails such as the Bianca Bellini. And then there’s the FDR at Delano nightclub, which spins tunes till 5 a.m. on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays.