Miami’s storied South Beach—a perennial playground for sun-seekers, snowbirds, and international glitterati alike—welcomed a buzzy newcomer to its bustling hotel scene on February 11 with the debut of Moxy Miami South Beach, the first resort-style property under Marriott International’s Moxy Hotels brand.
Located in the city’s illustrious Art Deco district (home to the highest concentration of Art Deco buildings in the world), and just two blocks from iconic Ocean Drive and the beach just beyond, the eight-story, 202-room hotel—developed by New York-based Lightstone—showcases South Beach’s signature sultriness starting at $159 per night, a fraction of the going rate at nearby hotspots like Faena Hotel Miami Beach and the Miami Beach EDITION, another member of the Marriott family.
“Opening the hotel during this unprecedented time presented Lightstone with a unique challenge,“ said Lightstone President Mitchell Hochberg in a press release. “Moxy South Beach isn’t a response to the pandemic, even if it feels like an antidote to it. In a way, the design anticipated the needs of the current environment, so we’re able to accommodate what people are looking for right now: contactless check-in, outdoor spaces, and a do-it-yourself ethos. But we always stayed true to the roots of the Moxy brand, letting guests curate their own experience while they escape reality for a few days in South Beach.”
Inspired in part by a cultural mélange spanning midcentury Havana to modern-day Mexico City, Moxy Miami South Beach embraces a vibrant open-air concept that celebrates the glamorous enclave’s steamy temperatures and innate élan. Indoor-outdoor spaces include a central courtyard on the lobby level and an alfresco rooftop screening room, while the 72-foot, cabana-lined pool on the second-floor terrace testifies to the starring role that show-stopping hotel piscines have long played in Miami’s glittering social history.
The guestrooms, designed (along with the public spaces) by Rockwell Group, resemble ocean liner staterooms—a nod to the Clyde Mallory Line, an overnight ferry service that operated between Miami and Havana in the 1940s and 1950s. Ranging from 224 to 507 square feet for a standard king and an ocean-view suite, respectively, the sun-splashed rooms, bedecked in coral, lime, and other beachy hues, feature floor-to-ceiling windows, terrazzo tile floors, and custom artwork by local artist Aquarela Sabol. Thirty-six ocean-view rooms afford unobstructed vistas of the Atlantic, while all are equipped with walk-in rain showers and savvy storage solutions (like under-bed shelving) designed to maximize space in the close-quarter accommodations.
Besides top-shelf cocktails and cuisine, six dining and drinking venues serve up prime opportunities to see and be seen in style—one of South Beach’s premier pastimes. At Bar Moxy, guests can sidle up to the oblong bar for both a margarita and contact-free check-in, then grab a burrito bowl or La Colombe coffee at Los Buenos, the all-day bodega and taco stand steps away. A staircase from the central courtyard leads to Serena, ensconced in tropical foliage on the second-floor terrace, where soigné vibes and shareable plates like squash blossom quesadillas and a range of enticing ceviches help foster a rollicking ambience reminiscent of outdoor eateries in Oaxaca and Mexico City. The Upside, the hotel’s eighth-floor rooftop bar reserved exclusively for hotel guests and private events, boasts spacious (and socially distanced) seating areas, a shallow lounging pool with submerged chaises, and panoramic views of Miami Beach. April will see the opening of Como Como, a seafood grill and raw bar, and Mezcalista, a low-lit lounge with more than 100 rare mezcals and tequilas available for the quaffing.
In response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, an onsite “Cleanliness Captain” enforces Marriott’s 200-plus cleaning protocols—part of the company’s Commitment to Clean—which include frequent disinfection of all surfaces, rigorous room cleanliness standards, and limited capacities. All hotel staff are subject to temperature checks before entering the premises.
While Miami, like virtually every tourist destination worldwide, has been pummeled by the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s good reason to believe it’s poised to rebound faster than most. Though hotel occupancy in Miami-Dade County fell 53% and revenue per available room decreased 64% through February 13 on a rolling 52-week average basis, hospitality analytics firm STR forecasts those figures to recover to declines of 30.4% and 44.5%, respectively, for full-year 2021 vs. 2019. (Comparisons to 2019 are more meaningful than those to 2020, given the abrupt cessation of travel worldwide early last year due to the onset of coronavirus.)
“We are cautiously optimistic about the outlook for 2021,” said William Talbert III, CEO and president of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Between December 2020 and February 2021, we had the highest occupancy levels since the beginning of the pandemic, and many hotels are reporting near full occupancy for March. As vaccinations continue to be distributed across the United States, we expect domestic consumers to gain confidence in travel. We’re working to ensure that visitors to the Greater Miami area can experience the destination safely and responsibly.“
Several airlines are also helping to bolster Miami’s recovery with new domestic and international routes. Southwest Airlines launched nonstop daily service between Miami and Tampa, Baltimore/Washington, Houston, and Chicago on November 15. In December, Frontier Airlines announced expanded service to 27 cities serving Miami, including its first-ever international flights to Cancun and Ontario beginning March 11 and April 12, respectively. On February 11, JetBlue introduced 14 daily nonstop flights between Miami International Airport and New York (JFK), Newark, Boston, and Los Angeles. And this summer, American Airlines, which is responsible for more than 70% of Miami’s passenger volumes, will become the only U.S. carrier offering nonstop service from Miami to Tel Aviv and Paramaribo, Suriname. American will also increase capacity between Miami and Latin America and the Caribbean starting in April, and expand domestic routes to the city beginning in June.
Moxy Miami South Beach’s debut marks Lightstone’s first foray outside of New York City with Marriott’s millennial-focused brand, which now numbers over 70 properties across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. It was Hochberg who first brought the budget-friendly Moxy stateside, after seeing an “under construction” sign for the brand in Italy in 2013. Since 2017, Lightstone—one of the largest and most diversified privately held real estate companies in the U.S.—has opened Moxy Times Square, Moxy Chelsea, and Moxy East Village, elevating the brand’s focus on world-class design and dining with the help of hospitality power players including Yabu Pushelberg and Tao Group. Two more New York outposts, Moxy Lower East Side and Moxy Williamsburg, along with Moxy Downtown Los Angeles, are scheduled to open in 2022—part of Lightstone’s $3.5 billion portfolio currently under development in the hospitality and residential sectors.
View original article
By Alexandra Kirkman