By Angela Fairhurst
The Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club is as close to Paradise as one can find in a luxury hotel. Located In the quiet and serene surf side neighborhood outside hustle and bustle of South Beach, the property exudes glamour and elegance.
Paris-based designer Joseph Dirand was tasked with bringing the legendary club and its past into the future by creating 72 guest rooms and 5 cabanas with chic, residential-style interiors. The 31 residences in three glass-fronted towers were designed by Richard Meier.
One can’t fully appreciate the environment without some insight into its history. The Surf Club originally opened its doors on New Years’ Eve in 1930, a budding idea hatched in the late 1920’s by the yacht owner and tire tycoon Harvey Firestone. He and his friends wanted a private place to socialize rather than the other “be seen” limelight spots, especially in the prohibition era. Cruising the coast with his Miami Beach friends, they spotted a pristine beachfront landscape to be the future home of the Surf Club.
They retained architect Russell T. Pancoast, who defined aesthetics of that era, to bring their vision to life. This became the social gathering place for the elite hosting celebrities, statesmen and aristocrats attending poolside fashion shows, debutante galas, black-tie boxing nights, presentations of shiny new race cars, and over-the-top parties.
Preserved in the hotel’s reincarnation is the walk though the historic Peacock Alley. Walking into what was once the cobblestone driveway and entering though the ornate doors of The Surf Club, one feels the connection to the Surf Club’s historic roots. Memorabilia hangs on the walls, with a photo of a Winston Churchill painting in one of the cabanas, a picture with Harvey Firestone and his Marybelle yacht in another. The path continues down original terracotta floors and the palm tree-lined alleyway with archived photographs by artist Michele Oka Donner that depict the infamous parties and members of The Surf Club. In the living room sits a large table with coffee table books from all eras.
Guest rooms are bright and airy, reflecting Dirand’s clean-lined modernist style. He created the palette of the room to reflect what you see outside your window. The beige representing the sand; the green the palm trees; and green/blue that continues the colors of the water and the sky.
Miami’s natural light is used to great effect, while the furniture, such as the modular table that can be used for dining, lounging, or as a desk is functional and built for modern life. High-quality bedding, linens, robes and slippers make for comfy lounging and sleeping. The spacious bathrooms are exceptional with white marbled walls and floors, a large soaking tub, double-vanity sinks, substantial shower, scale, and a plethora of divine-smelling geranium and mandarin bath products made exclusively for Four Seasons at the Surf Club.
Pancoast instinctively understood that cabanas would always remain the true soul of the property, and Dirand honored this truth by maintaining their heritage. The historic cabanas were all about extravagance, some inspired by French castles, some Maine summer cabins and others pure Art Deco creations, setting the scene for indulgence and over-the-top entertainment The five exclusive overnight cabana accommodations offer a truly memorable Surf Club experience. These storied oceanfront retreats feature terrazzo floors inside and expansive wood deck lanais outside that replicate the original cabana floors, looking directly at alluring ocean vistas. In addition, 31 daytime cabanas are available to guests for a charge, and include access to the hotel’s pools, the spa’s hammam, beach service, complimentary bikes and service from the poolside restaurant and bar
SPA and KIDS’ CLUB
The Surf Club’s spa is a white and blue oasis of calm with private relaxation pods overlooking the ocean. The Kids’ Club is as on par as every other part of the property, with terrazzo floors, palm-tree wallpaper and a sprawling green couch for lunchtime picnics after arts and crafts, and snacks, snacks and more snacks.
The Sirenuse Miami’s cuisine is Italian style from the Amalfi Coast, brought to fruition by Chef de Cuisine Antonio Mermolia. The Champagne Bar has the largest selection of champagnes in Miami and an exciting mixology program led by Head Bartender Valentino Longo.
The Surf Club Restaurant is Thomas Keller’s first Florida venture with a menu of continental cuisine and classic libations.
Mare by Le Sirenuse is their refreshed oceanfront restaurant celebrating the sea’s bounty in a colorful oceanfront setting. The Terrace is available for breakfast and Winston’s on the Beach for daytime.