The Biltmore a historic Miami hotel

The Biltmore Coral Gables Hotel in Miami is one of those magnificent grand hotels from yesteryear.

Completed in 1926 when America was in the middle of an economic boom and Miami was beginning to get a reputation as a great place for a vacation, the Biltmore is one of a kind.

Influenced by Italian, Moorish and Spanish architectural designs, the Biltmore looks like is deserves its place in the sun.  Featuring exquisite, hand-painted frescos on barrel-vaulted ceilings, brilliant travertine floors, fine marble columns, intricate leaded glass fixtures, carved mahogany furnishings and lavish gardens, the Biltmore also boasted an 18-hole golf course, country club, polo fields and massive swimming pool.

The hotel had its heyday during the jazz age from 1926 until 1942 when everyon who was anyone would stay there.  Guests included royalty such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor; President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a guest; Hollywood royalty in the form of stars such as Ginger Rogers and Bing Crosby frequently visited; even Al Capone enjoyed the luxury of the Biltmore before ending up in a cell.

During the Depression years the Biltmore thrived by putting on huge gala aquatic shows in its huge pool.  Up to 3,000 spectators turned out on Sundays to watch synchronized swimmers, bathing beauties, alligator wrestlers and the four year-old boy wonder Jackie Ott, whose act included diving into the pool from an 85-foot high platform.  Even Johnny Weismuller, the greatest film Tarzan of all, was a swimming instructor at the Biltmore, where he broke world swimming records before winning Olympic Gold.

During and after World War II the hotel became a hospital for the War Department, a refuge for wounded warriors.

In 1973 the City of Coral Gables was granted ownership of the hotel through the Historic Monuments Act and Legacy of Parks program, but it wasn’t until 1983 that a consortium was formed to rejuvenate the hotel back to its former glory, and to open it as a thriving hotel again.

Today the Biltmore has been modernised, but still retains its old world charm.  Rooms and suites have been updated, the golf course and pool brought back to life, and spas and other modern amenities added so that guests can once again enjoy the elegance and class of a luxury hotel.

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