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Trendy Thompson Hotel Attracts Miami Locals And Visitors Alike With Retro Feel

Lee Fryd

Guests have their choice of a scenic seaside spot or poolside relaxation. (Courtesy Photo)

The Miami Beach High 50 year Reunion committee cried when they toured the Thompson Miami Beach. It was just as they were back in their childhood homes. Several doors down from the Fontainebleau Hotel, where their parents once took them to see Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Dean Martin, Thompson Miami Beach has recreated Miami Mid Century glamour. From the curved walls, the custom furniture, outdoor spa cabanas and Mangrove trees, the hotel transports you to the days when Cuba's Tropicale Hotel and Havana Yacht Cub were a quick flight away.

Spanish Octopus from the Seagrape Restaurant at the Thompson Miami Beach. (Courtesy Photo)

"Mid Century is very in and we feel our hotel hits it out of the park," James Wark, Director of Cultural Partnerships & Special Events at Thompson Miami Beach - Commune Hotels + Resorts, said. "Every touch, every piece of the hotel, no matter where you walk, whether it's the Seagrape restaurant, the guest rooms or our spas, indoors and out, the story tells throughout the entire space. And, we do a better job than any." There really is no other hotel that has recreated the Miami Mid Century look on this grand scale, with Designer Martin Bard's terrazzo floors, vibrant yellow, orange and blue hues, and big furniture. The look, style, touch and feel is period, yet, everything inside is new, state of the art luxury.

The hotel is actually a complex of three sections: a 1940s Art Deco skyscraper, 1950s International Style glass and steel tower and 2007 luxury addition, sporting terraces and panoramic ocean views. There's a 1930s House by the pool, moved from across the street on Indian Creek, with avant garde cocktails and a crudo bar. Yes, someone who lived in its original location came in to reminisce.

The foliage is no less indigenous. Aptly named Landscape Architect Raymond Jungles' philosophy "is to really make it feel it belongs here," Wark explained. "So you'll see many different species of plant reminiscent of what was naturally here, as well as local trees more than 40 years old, growing into the space."

A view of the South Pool. (Courtesy Photo)

Upstairs, an outdoor spa treatment area, flanked by cabanas, continues the theme of 50s luxury. Guests get a complimentary daily fitness program: bootcamp, yoga on the beach, boxing and personal training. Spa treatments begin at $120. A hair salon and mani/pedi space are planned.

The second floor Crown Room Bar — the Crown was the hotel's original name — boasts a marble bar, white washed wood walls, mirrors and inspired cocktail program. It's open Wednesdays through Saturdays, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., because Miami night life starts late and lasts long.

The jewel in that Crown would be the Seagrape Restaurant. Once again, it's all local, from Miami Celebrity Chef Michelle Bernstein to the local purveyors, farmers and fisherman with whom she grew up. "We love that she stays true to the community because we want to do that too," said Wark. Seagrape's outstanding gourmet fare price point is approachable. "We're warm, friendly and we offer parking for $5 if you eat or drink here." (It's $30 to $40 elsewhere.)

A beautiful beet salad from Seagrape Restaurant at the Thompson Miami Beach. (Courtesy Photo)

Yes, the Thompson Miami Beach has much appeal for locals. Local foodies like Larry Schweiger, who remembers coming here with a Crown owner's son, have a new reason to leave their waterfront manses. The 1930s House is a destination for those glamorous parties redefining the Beach.

We called our first apartment, a Manhattan Thompson Street walk-up, "The Thompson Arms," with great irony. Who knew ten years later there would be an elevator and TV star in the building... and the eponymous flagship hotel that would spawn a luxury boutique chain, one block away!

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