The dust has long settled since Miami’s 1990s explosion of designer-hotel openings and renovations, but today the boldly stylish trailblazer of the lot, the Delano, still percolates at the epicenter of Miami’s social scene. Opened in 1995, the yin-yang collaboration of hotelier Ian Schrager and designer Philippe Starck immediately attracted the style-conscious of the world to this spare, all-white, tropical 1947 oceanfront landmark (named after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the patriotic spirit of that postwar time). To
see why, enter the movie-set-worthy dark-wood lobby through 30-foot diaphanous white curtains and prepare for your jaw to drop. Designed in a manner even minimalists would consider minimalist, the hotel possesses an elegant simplicity full of surreal twists and turns, all of it both refreshing and confounding to its roster of international fashionables or anyone fed up with the neighborhood’s ubiquitous Art Deco theme. The style is carried over to the white and light guest rooms, but emphasis is on the public areas—the lobbies, restaurants, and bars. The fantasy swimming pool is the cool-pool of choice in South Beach and one of the hotel world’s most famous, with classical music piped in underwater and cafe chairs and tables set up in the ankle-shallow end. And even now that Madonna is no longer a partner, the casually formal Blue Door restaurant is still a coveted booking.