Miami twice: 1 Hotel in South Beach

Following on from my earlier blog about visiting Miami, another highlight of my visit was getting to see one of the best new designs I have seen for many years – the “1 Hotel” created by Meyer Davis Studio in the South Beach district.

While the design is not exactly what I would call “trendy”, it does taps into the green movement for biophilic design within a sophisticated range of white hues, a perfect complement for the bright sun, vibrant plant life and colorful culture of Miami. After entering the lobby through a beautifully sculptured door, I am impressed by an approximately 500 square-foot “living wall”, a depiction of a male athlete created from strategically placed bits of carved moss reminiscent of the kind used for architectural models.

Throughout the hotel, rustic natural elements contrast with the modern style of the light-filled interiors.  Spanish moss hangs from the ceiling as a sculptural element defining the separation between the lobby and the first floor, cocktail table bases are made from gnarled Cypress roots, and mushroom “sheaths” like the kinds seen on swampland trees have been applied to structural columns. The concierge sits behind a desk made from a huge timber plank that sits atop a single enormous root, green plants are everywhere, and beautifully designed fur-covered benches bring a modern twist.

1 Hotel reveals a perfect blend of nature with Miami-style elegance, using cool, white materials in a range of textures alongside warm, matte-finish wood features on a massive scale. Clever “floating” effects zone the spaces into different levels – even the guestrooms are large enough to create a “hovering”, back-lit island for the bed and sofa. The conference rooms, which don´t have access to daylight, each enjoy a full-height “living wall” accented with downlights to emphasize the sculptural effect of the greenery.

Celebrating the Florida lifestyle of open flow between indoor and outdoor spaces, the exterior has been planned with terraced levels stepping down towards the beach, each with different pools and chic cabanas designed with white curtains, lots of foliage and comfortable lounge chairs.

To me, 1 Hotel is undeniably an immersion in luxury, quite elegant yet extremely relaxed. Next time I’m looking for a resort hotel with a real Miami feel, this would absolutely be my first choice.