A test of time that still preserves the glamour that once defined Miami is one way to describe the iconic Four Seasons Hotel At The Surf Club. This magnificent resort in the quaint oceanfront town of Surfside is like no other. It looks toward an ambitious future in which the only goal is offering the best lodging experiences blending history, over-the-top hospitality and an appreciation for comfort.
The Four Seasons is the glamorous revival of the iconic Surf Club, which has hosted many celebrities and royalty since it opened its doors on New Year's Eve in 1930. Seated on nine acres of oceanfront and gardens, this is the fourth Four Seasons property in Florida. This institution has become a landmark of Miami. Many people can recognize its historical significance, including those who have not stayed at the property. However, everybody is encouraged to visit and experience what this resort has to offer. Staying at the Four Seasons Hotel At The Surf Club is experiencing the city from a timeless perspective.
When tire magnate Harvey Firestone first conceived of a new type of social club on board his yacht, the Marybelle, he had yet to learn how long-lasting the appeal of what he would soon create and what would eventually become Four Seasons Hotel At The Surf Club would be. Russell T. Pancoast designed the Mediterranean Revival building and beachside cabanas that comprised The Surf Club. They formed elegant backdrops framing the beach and sea while shielding the crowd from the outside world. It quickly attracted members from every industry, culture, and social class. It was a home away from home for people who shared history, privilege, and a taste for pleasure. Those three characteristics have stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel At The Surf Club, transcending time.
Some legends that walked the surf club include Iran's Shah Mohamed Reza, Winston Churchill, Noel Coward, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Elizabeth Taylor, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Frank Sinatra, Tennessee Williams, Joan Crawford, and Liberace. They came to The Surf Club because it was for people with good taste who were looking for a good time, and today that is what guests can expect from the hotel.
The new Surf Club is a larger-scale embodiment of its original values. It is embraced by sophisticated modernity that is not too imposing to distract guests from its glamorous past felt throughout the property, even in the luxurious rooms. Nadim Ashi, the founder of Fort Partners and current owner of The Surf Club, explained his mission to preserve, respect, and enhance the original spirit.
"When we bought the Club, I asked the oldest member, today in his 90s, to sit with me so we could talk. I wanted to record his memories. He remembered the 1930s when it opened and showed me the spot in the ballroom where he had his first dance when he was 16: 'I can still smell her hair," Ashi said. "How do we create these memories? Our business model is not about real estate, it's about experience and memories."
Designed by Kobi Karp Architecture & Interior Design in collaboration with Richard Meier, the intimate hotel is a masterpiece of openness and light, including exclusive private residences centered on Pancoast's restored Mediterranean-Revival property. When guests enter the hotel, they will first walk through modern areas that complement the historic building. The particular scent of the main lobby area is unique to the property, making the luxurious experiences even more remarkable. Walking into the main area is the cherry on top as the history of the iconic Surf Club comes in total displacement. It's one of the most beautiful spaces in all of Miami.
In the lobby, the historic Peacock Alley blends the old meets new and leads guests into the exterior, where more beautiful sights await. Light, air, and nature embody the lobby, which contains the essence of the Surf Club. If it wasn't a hotel, it would feel like stepping into a museum. The historical arrival experience of the hotel is more than just remembering what the Surf Club once was; it is an experience that marks a new beginning plagued by glamour from the past.
"From the moment I arrived here, I was captivated by the beauty and narrative of The Surf Club and the opportunity to be part of a place so rare and inspiring," said General Manager Daniela Trovato.
The Four Seasons knows that tastes may change, but human values endure. And it is the same values that link The Surf Club to the past and future, including a commitment to quality, a belief in passion, an understanding of human behavior, and a dedication to creating a vibrant environment where people feel at home. This is not just a regular hotel stay; it's an experience.
Ashi opened up the original site and increased the potential for life there. The Surf Club now includes a hotel with 77 guest rooms, 30 hotel residences, and 121 private residential apartments spread across three new buildings, in addition to a meticulous restoration of the existing Pancoast building and cabanas.
The interiors of the hotel's public areas and bedrooms and the cabanas were designed by Parisian interior architect Joseph Dirand. Dirand has created a series of rooms that evoke a sense of the past with a feeling of the present and a hint of the future. He is renowned for bringing atmosphere, rich narrative, and quiet drama to life through space, materials, furniture, and details.
The suites are grand and welcoming, and light all around makes the space extra comfortable. The decor is modern with a hint of art deco meets contemporary. They are a design lover's dream but allow for the best photos for those who want to boast about the elegant accommodations. The views from the balconies are unmatched, and in hues of green and earthy tones, the rooms are a rendition of the property's natural aspect.
Ashi has brought on board two of the world's most well-known culinary names: Thomas Keller's The Surf Club Restaurant and Chef Michael White's Lido Restaurant at The Surf Club. The culinary experiences at the property welcome everyone to indulge in delicious flavors surrounded by historical beauty.
The palm-fringed Champagne Bar reflects The Surf Club's early soulful charm and glamour, enhanced by a modern collection of imaginative cocktails and an adored team of experts. Outside, Winston's On The Beach is a relaxed, al fresco setting with food emphasizing regional Florida flavors with plenty of light and fresh dishes that feature seafood and vegetables.
Guests may enjoy food from the new beachside picnics while relaxing at the hotel's calm and stunning clearwater beach. Two big pools with beautiful cabanas and accommodations allow for beautiful photos, a relaxing dip in the water, a comfortable rest, and a delightful enjoyment of a book or magazine to enhance the glamorous experience.
Similarly, for a second year, Leila, Detroit's chic Lebanese eatery, founded as an homage to the family's matriarch, returns to Winston's On The Beach, The Surf Club's casual poolside dining spot, named after guest Winston Churchill. The restaurant serves cold and hot mezze such as baba ghanoush, kibbeh niyee, halloumi, and staple entrées such as shish kafta, lamb chops, and their famous baklava cigar rolls among a natural landscape of coconut palms and ocean breeze. Leila's alfresco dining experience honors a communal eating philosophy and evokes the simple pleasures of great food shared with good company.
Previously the name of The Surf Club's restaurant before its reimagining, Lido Restaurant evokes the leisurely lifestyle of an Italian summer. The restaurant offers an exceptional newly debuted raw bar with some of the freshest seafood guests may accompany by an indulgent but simple Italian-inspired dinner. The restaurant also offers one of the city's best brunch experiences, exceptional caviar options, earthy dishes, and an impressive assortment of desserts for those with a sweet tooth. Breakfast at the Lido Restaurant, with views of the outdoor spaces, also adds to the beautiful experience.
The Michelin-starred New York City restaurant Kosaka is returning to The Surf Club's iconic Hemingway Tower, where chef Shinichi Inoue will present a multi-course omakase. Seasonally prized selections from Toyosu in Japan are captured in innovative flavors and textures and served on custom-made ceramics that embody Japanese beauty. Guests can expect a complete culinary journey that begins with Hassun and continues with small Japanese plates and a Sashimi course. Then, a course of expertly prepared nigiri served hand-to-hand from sushi chef to guest, followed by dessert and Japanese tea. Additional plates, such as King Salmon Tataki, Toro Caviar, Miyazaki Beef Sushi, or a Premium Uni Platter, can be ordered to enhance the experience. The cost per person is $300, and for reservations, visit the website.
In addition, The Spa at The Surf Club, inspired by the invigorating energy of the space and the direct connection with the natural surroundings, blends innovative wellness practices that embrace self-reflection, indulgence, and absolute bliss, including a beautiful spa sanctuary with hammam.
The Surf Club of Tomorrow is a significant statement of ambition for a future as impressive as its past. What holds them together is Ashi's passion for quality and ability to cultivate relationships with creatives who respect, believe in, and share his vision.
"We have selected the best of what everyone can do and we have pushed them to give us their best," Ashi explains. "We haven't let go of anything less than excellence. We believe that if you create something unique, it will last. We have not created The Surf Club, but we have a commitment to ensure that what we are doing has integrity, culture and quality at its heart. It needs to be alive and loved."
The hotel and residences are managed by Four Seasons, who bring diligence, charm, and dignity to the experience. Respecting The Surf Club's independent heritage, the company is eager to allow its unique spirit to flourish while maintaining the quality of service that the operator and institution share.
"Respecting the strong heritage at the heart of The Surf Club, allowing its unique spirit to flourish, we are always seeking to bring new experiences while ensuring the quality of service The Surf Club and Four Seasons are known for," Trovato added.
For additional information about the Four Seasons Hotel At The Surf Club, or to make reservations, visit the website.
Photography by: Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel At The Surf Club