Once a host to royalty, movie stars and a notorious gangster or two in its heyday, this landmark hotel has now been restored to its former world-class grandeur.
At the height of the roaring twenties, the Jazz Age and the Prohibition Era, The Biltmore Hotel in tropical Coral Gables, Fla., was revered as the most fashionable hotel in the country. Set amid Miami’s lush landscape, the Mediterranean-inspired palace with Spanish and Moorish influences welcomed Hollywood royalty, crown princes, dignitaries and socialites, as well as infamous gangsters such as Al Capone. The dream of land developer George Merrick, The Biltmore, designed by renowned architect Leonard Schultze, debuted in 1926 With such splendid extravagances as hand-painted ceiling frescoes, gleaming travertine flooring and carved mahogany furnishings. Thriving in an oppressed era, the hotel remained in the spotlight by hosting fashion shows, gala balls, polo tournaments, beauty contests and aquatic shows from its famed 23,000-square-foot pool and 85-foot-high diving tower.
ABOVE: “The Everglades,” nicknamed the “Al Capone Suite,” was a favorite of the notorious gangster. The stunning two-story suite built on the 13th floor of the hotel’s tower features a living room With soaring hand-painted ceilings, a grand piano and an impressive stone fireplace.
LEFT: A magnificent hotel in its 1920s heyday, The Biltmore welcomed the world’s most famous and infamous, “everyone who was anyone.”
BELOW: Inspired by classic Mediterranean architecture and situated on 150 tropical acres In Coral Gables, the hotel features a championship, 18-hole, 71-par golf course designed in 1925 by eminent architect Donald Ross.
Today, now restored to its former glory after a $40 million, 10-year renovation, The Biltmore retains much of its Mediterranean ambiance with its 130 Palazzo-style suites, balconies, open-air courtyards and fountains. The sky-high diving tower is now a lush tropical waterfall, and luxurious private cabanas line the colossal pool resurfaced in marble. Honored with the elite distinction as a national historic landmark, the legendary hotel’s lavish architectural elements, award-winning restaurant and 18-hole championship golf course continue to beckon visitors worldwide.
ABOVE: Poolside, guests can lounge and enjoy a cocktail or massage in one of the hotel’s spacious cabana suites. Photography by undercovertourist.com.
TOP RIGHT: The Biltmore famously hosted bathing beauty contests from the pool, once the largest in the world, and right, aquatic shows from its 85-foot-high diving tower.