James Royal Palm ResortFirst Look - Home, James: James Royal Palm
Cuban fedoras aren’t the only old hat in Miami. A classic Art Deco hotel from the 1930s that fell into ruin, this storied building has been reborn as the James Royal Palm. Sometimes all you have to do is break out the jackhammer, and $45 million later, something old is new again. The 394 whitewashed rooms have a “this is my pied-à-terre in Miami” feel. Miami hotels are partied out, but these are sparkling brand new. As part of the renovation in the common areas, a second swimming pool and plunge pool were added, along with the requisite cabanas. You have to love a hotel that has a dedicated Sun Concierge to set you up poolside or at the hotel’s beach enclave. And those sand toys? Not just for kids.
Instead of putting up a steel monstrosity, the money behind the development kept the historical exterior intact. Who knew private equity guys had a heart, like the Tin Man? OK, maybe it was zoning and preservation laws that saved the James.
But unlike other new developments, this place has soul. At any moment, you can picture Don Johnson rocking the white suit and pastel T-shirt in hot pursuit. Of what? The hotel may be classic, but the bikinis (and mankinis – so wrong, but we digress) are anything but geriatric.
The secret to looking this good may be found in the spa. This is no fluffy massage kind of place; it’s a serious treatment center. Wellness rituals include insomnia massages, IV therapy, and vitamin drips for immunity, jet lag, and detox. For those who are planning to indulge in nightlife and the activities for which Miami is known, you may want to book your appointments now.
The James’ location is another reason to visit, right on Collins Avenue and the ocean. It’s not just short shorts either. The James is leveraging the fine arts scene by collaborating with MoCA and the New World Symphony. The James also has an Artist-in-Residence program, which provides housing for artists, where they can live and create their art. The next Picasso could very well be in your midst.
But let’s face it. You’re probably in Miami for more than the art on the walls. Even if this was in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the James hedged their bets and guaranteed they would be the center of the nightlife universe. New York social impresarios have set up outposts of Catch restaurant and SL Nightclub at the hotel. It’s safe to assume you will be up past your bedtime. But whatever Miami adventure you choose, at closing time, “Home, James” you’ll be.
(Photos: James Royal Palm, courtesy of James Royal Palm)