Fontainebleau Miami Beach

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Fontainebleau IOU
Miami Landmark
Miami Beach FL Fontainebleau01.jpg
Fontainebleau Miami Beach, 2011
Fontainebleau Miami Beach is located in Miami
Fontainebleau Miami Beach
Location4441 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, Florida, U.S. 33140
Coordinates25°49′5″N 80°7′20″W / 25.81806°N 80.12222°W / 25.81806; -80.12222Coordinates: 25°49′5″N 80°7′20″W / 25.81806°N 80.12222°W / 25.81806; -80.12222
Area180,525 m2 (1,943,150 sq ft)
Built1954; 68 years ago (1954)
ArchitectMorris Lapidus
Architectural styleMiami Modern Architecture (MiMo)
Visitation16,349,845 (2015)
NRHP reference No.08001318[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPDecember 22, 2008[1]
Designated NHLJune 24, 2010
Designated MFLDecember 9, 2011

The Fontainebleau Miami Beach (also known as Fontainebleau Hotel) is a hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Designed by Morris Lapidus, the luxury hotel opened in 1954. In 2007, the Fontainebleau Hotel was ranked ninety-third in the American Institute of Architects list of "America's Favorite Architecture".[2] On April 18, 2012, the AIA's Florida Chapter ranked the Fontainebleau first on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places.[3]

The Fontainebleau Miami Beach is located on Collins Avenue and is owned by the Soffer family controlled Fontainebleau Resorts.


Fontainebleau Hotel in March 1955. Photo by Samuel Gottscho.
Fontainebleau Hotel, 2004

The hotel was built by hotelier Ben Novack on the grounds of the former Harvey Firestone estate. Novack owned and operated the hotel until its bankruptcy in 1977.[4]

The Fontainebleau is noted for its victory in the landmark 1959 Florida District Courts of Appeal decision, Fontainebleau Hotel Corp. v. Forty-Five Twenty-Five, Inc. 114 So. 2d 357,[5] in which the Fontainebleau Hotel successfully appealed an injunction by the neighboring Eden Roc Hotel to prevent construction of an expansion that blocked sunlight to the Eden Roc's swimming pool. The Court rejected the Eden Roc's claim to an easement allowing sunlight, in favor of affirming the Fontainebleau's vertical property rights to build on its land.[6][7] It stated that the "ancient lights" doctrine had been unanimously repudiated in the United States.[8]

In the 1970s, a suite in the hotel was used by members of the Black Tuna Gang to run their operations.[9] This is recounted in the 2011 documentary Square Grouper, which follows the burgeoning marijuana-smuggling trade of the mid-to-late 1970s. It was at this time that large amounts of the drug were being shipped to southeastern Florida; the film alleges that more than ninety percent of the United States' illicit demand was being met through such channels.

In 1978, Stephen Muss bought the Fontainebleau Hotel for $27 million,[10] thus rescuing it from bankruptcy.[11] He injected an additional $100 million into the hotel for improvements[11] and hired the Hilton company to manage it.[10] In 2005, the Muss Organization sold the Fontainebleau to Turnberry Associates[12] for $165 million.[10]

The hotel closed a large part of its property in 2006, though one building remained open to hotel guests, and the furnishings were available for sale. The expanded hotel and its new condominium buildings re-opened in November 2008.[13]

On December 22, 2008, the Fontainebleau was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[1]

In popular culture[edit]

The Fontainbleau is a prominent feature in contemporary culture, appearing in numerous movies and television shows, musical lyrics, and nationally televised sporting and other events, including:

21st century[edit]

  • In 2019, the Fontainebleau appears in the third season of the Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in a scene in which Midge Maisel (played by Rachel Brosnahan) and Susie Myerson (played by Alex Borstein) stay at the resort while on tour with Shy Baldwin. In one scene, Midge is shown descending the grand staircase in the ornate lobby.
  • Also in 2019, the Fontainebleau, billed as the Riviera Grand Hotel, was the setting for the pilot of the Grand Hotel TV series pilot. After the pilot was filmed and ABC picked up a full order of episodes, the cast and crew headed to Los Angeles, where a mini-replica of the Fontainebleau was constructed. The exterior shots shown throughout the season are actually the real Fontainebleau.[14]



  • The Fontainebleau is one of the primary settings for the 1988 comedy sequel Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach with the film's characters staying there during the movie and many of the film's scenes filmed there.
  • The Fontainebleau acts as the unmentioned location for a widely popular scene in 1983's Scarface where Manny, played by Steven Bauer, gets slapped in the face after trying to win over a girl by sticking out his tongue to her.[16]


  • On January 29, 1977, boxer Roberto Durán retained his WBA world Lightweight title with a 13th-round knockout over Vilomar Fernandez in a bout that was televised live by CBS from the hotel.[17]
  • The Fontainebleau is the title subject of a song written by Neil Young and performed by the Stills-Young Band on their 1976 album Long May You Run, which was recorded at the hotel.[18]


  • The Fontainebleau is depicted in the 1960–1962 television series Surfside 6 about two detectives living and working aboard a houseboat moored directly across the street from the hotel. Supporting character Cha Cha O'Brien was an entertainer who worked at The Boom Boom Room in the hotel. Only establishing shots of the hotel were used; the series was filmed entirely at Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, California.
  • In March 1960, Frank Sinatra videotaped an ABC television special at the hotel, The Frank Sinatra Timex Show: Welcome Home Elvis, as part of his regular Timex-sponsored series to welcome back Elvis Presley following his two-year military service in West Germany. Broadcast on May 12, 1960, Nielsen reported a 41.5% rating and 67.7% share, with an audience at 50 million, making it the top-rated show of the year and Sinatra's top-rated television appearance of his 21-year career (1960–1981).




Fontainebleau's grand re-opening on November 18, 2008 marked the end of a two-year, $1 billion transformation. Special care was taken to preserve many of the original design elements, including the "Staircase to Nowhere" (formally called the "floating staircase"). The hotel's elaborate re-opening celebrations included hosting the annual Victoria's Secret fashion show.

Restaurants and nightclubs in the complex include:

  • Stripsteak by Michael Mina (formerly named FB Steakhouse and originally named "Gotham Steak")
  • Scarpetta (Italian)
  • Hakkasan (Cantonese)
  • La Côte (bi-level poolside bar and grille)
  • Blade Sushi
  • Vida (Pan American)
  • Fresh (Snacks & Gelato)
  • SFX Entertainment LIV Nightclub, a.k.a. '54 (formerly Tropigala Lounge and, before that, the LaRonde Room)
  • Bleau Bar
  • Glow Bar
  • Michael Mina Pizza & Burger (formerly Arkadia)
  • Chez Bon Bon (pastries and chocolates; formerly named Solo)


The local pronunciation of the hotel's name is the Anglicized "fountain blue" rather than the normal French pronunciation of the word.[20]


  1. ^ a b c "Weekly List Of Actions Taken On Properties: 12/22/08 through 12/24/08". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-12-30.
  2. ^ BuildingOnline. "BuildingOnline eUpdate News: American Institute of Architects Releases Poll Showing America's Favorite Architecture - construction industry news". Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Current Standings". 2015 People's Choice Award (Florida Architecture). Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Ben Novack Sr.,78 Is Dead; Founder of Fontainebleau". New York Times. April 7, 1985.
  5. ^ Opinion
  6. ^ FOUNTAINEBLEAU HOTEL CORP., a Florida corporation, and Charnofree Corporation, a Florida corporation, Appellants, v. FORTY-FIVE TWENTY-FIVE, INC., a Florida corporation, Appellee. @ LexisNexis Academic
  7. ^ "Case @ University of Chicago". Archived from the original on 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  8. ^ [Fontainebleau Hotel Corp. v. Forty-Five Twenty-Five, Inc., 114 So. 2d 357 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1959) .]
  9. ^ "DEA History Book, 1975 - 1980". Archived from the original on April 25, 2010. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  10. ^ a b c Fool's Paradise: Players, Poseurs, and the Culture of Excess in South Beach By Steven Gaines pages 100 -110
  11. ^ a b South Florida Business Journal: "Born to build - Muss, Soffer progeny develop joint project : Fontainebleau II" by Stephen Van Drake March 11, 2002
  12. ^ Sun-Sentinel: "Turnberry Buys Fontainebleau - $150 Million Targeted For Upgrades" by Tom Stieghorst January 21, 2005
  13. ^ "Miami Beach Luxury Hotels & Resorts - Fontainebleau Miami Beach - Miami South Beach Hotels". Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  14. ^ Diaz, Johnny (June 13, 2019). "Eva Longoria's new 'Grand Hotel' TV drama stars Fontainebleau Miami Beach and a South Florida cast". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  15. ^ Ugoku. "The Sopranos location guide – Miami Beach hotel". Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  16. ^ "'Scarface' turns 35".
  17. ^
  18. ^ All Music Guide review of "Fontainebleau"
  19. ^ "James Bond Locations". Archived from the original on 24 May 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  20. ^ Kitty Bean Yancey (December 9, 2004). "At 50, venerable Fontainebleau regaining its glitz". USA TODAY.

External links[edit]