Opened in 1926, the Biltmore Hotel is a sprawling, Mediterranean revival-style resort in tony Coral Gables. The building is a National Historic Landmark that boasts a certain Gilded Age splendor. With its lush landscaping, pristine pools, on-site fine dining, and a tidy golf course, the hotel is popular with both Miami visitors and locals alike.
Originally, the Biltmore was part of a sprawling national portfolio of hotels started by industry magnate John McEntee Bowman. For this particular hotel, he teamed with George Merrick, the founder of Coral Gables, and tapped leading architects to create a lavish, Spanish-influenced palace with a bit of Italian and Moorish flair. Throughout the Jazz Age, it was a popular meeting spot for socialites. Later, after World War II, the hotel was briefly used as a veterans’ hospital, and then, for 20 years, as a Veterans Administration center.
Beginning in the early ’80s, the Biltmore underwent continual updating that has sought to keep its original spirit in tact. For visitors, this means a collection of rooms and suites done up in consciously old-world glamour. Guests enjoy luxurious touches like feather bedding and Eyptian cotton linens, Jerusalem stone tile floors, and oversize windows with views of the golf course, pool, or Coral Gables. At the same time, the Biltmore features 21st Century technology like wireless Internet access and cable TV.
One of the most impressive amenities at the Biltmore is its on-site fine dining, with restaurants that are destinations in their own right. The top-rated Palme d’Or focuses on an update of classic French cuisine under the watch of award-winning chef Philippe Ruiz. Fontana, meanwhile, offers upscale northern Italian cuisine, and a weekly Sunday brunch in the hotel’s courtyard offers a spread of everything from seafood to pastry. Foodies can also enroll in the Biltmore Culinary Academy, which offers interactive classes from one-off events to weeklong boot camps.
There is plenty to do at the Biltmore beyond sleeping and eating. A fully equipped fitness center offers equipment for weight and cardio training, and personalized sessions with a trainer are available. The nearby spa offers packages as well as individual services from skin care to massage and beyond. One of the Biltmore Hotel’s biggest attractions is its private par 71 golf course, with 18 holes originally designed in 1925 and restored to their original subtropical splendor.
The Biltmore Hotel is located relatively centrally in Miami for visitors arriving by car. It’s a quick taxi ride from the nearby Miami International Airport, and is relatively close to cross-county expressways like 836 and 826. Still, public transportation between Coral Gables and, say, South Beach or other points further north can be tricky. If you choose to stay at the Biltmore, you should probably rent a car (and you probably can afford to).
Even if you’re not staying there, you can get the Biltmore experience and visit the hotel for golf, tennis, brunch, or just drinks by the pool. All activities are open to the public.
Address: 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables, FL, 33134
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