Far and away the most famous hotel in Miami, the enormous Fontainebleau (pronounced "fountain-blue") is as much of a spectacle as it is a hotel. With three buildings sprawling across 20 acres of manicured beachfront, the hotel is a marvel of magnitude, its reputation rooted in excess.
In addition to an enormous number of guest rooms, the Fontainebleau contains the largest ballroom in South Florida and more convention space than most any hotel in America.
Larger than many towns, the hotel employs almost 1,200 staff; the laundry department washes almost 2.5 million sheets per year.
Since opening its doors in 1954, the Fontainebleau has hosted presidents, pageants, and movie productions-including The Bodyguard and The Specialist. The sheer size of the hotel, with its full complement of restaurants, shops, and recreational facilities, makes this a perfect place for conventioneers.
Unfortunately, the same recommendation cannot be extended to individual travelers. The lobby is terminally crowded, the front desk staff regularly gets "slammed" with check-ins, and it
takes a bit more time than usual for valet parking and room services. Still, this is the one and only Fontainebleau, in many ways the quintessential Miami hotel.
Facilities are truly terrific and,for all its shortcomings, it's one hotel you'll never forget. About half of the hotel's rooms have been recently renovated; request one of these when making reservations.
Bright colors and a tropical decor characterize the majority of these makeovers, all of which were refitted with new bathrooms, furnishings, and fabrics. Firm double beds, sturdy wooden dressers and marble sinks, confer a cheerful business-class feel. Executive-level rooms are slightly more expensive, and much better outfitted. Avoid the hotel's yellowing older rooms that look, and smell, like the 1950s. Despite its grand scale, the Fontainebleau's main entrance is not as spectacular as you might imagine.
If you want breathtaking, look out back at the tropical gardens that surround a fantastic free-form rock grotto, swimming
pool, and waterfall. A huge trompe l'oeil illusionary mural of this fanciful garden is painted on the resort's southern wall, and can be seen from Collins Avenue.
During Christmas, spring break, and summer holidays the hotel offers free fully supervised programs for children, daily from 10am to 4pm.
Several large restaurants include Trop-Art Cafe, a colorful coffee shop; Steak House, a surf-and-turf restaurant serving dinner only; and Kamon, a Japanese restaurant and sushi bar. There are a half dozen or so other cafe and coffee shops (including two by the pool), as well as a number of cocktail lounges, including the Poodle Lounge, which offers live entertainment and dancing nightly. Club Tropigala, just off the lobby, features a Vegas-style floor how with dozens of performers and not one, but two orchestras.
Room service, concierge, house doctor, limousine service, laundry, children's activities.
Two outdoor swimming pools (one freshwater, one saltwater), seven lighted tennis courts, three whirlpools, health spa, sauna, 20-shop arcade, games room, beauty salon.