May 21, 2022

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Just Do Travel

These Newly-Renovated Miami Hotels Are a Design Lover’s Dream

3 min read
Photo credit: christian harder

Photo credit: christian harder

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Anyone who craves design inspiration through travel is in for a visual feast: After a five-year renovation, two Miami-based sister hotels—Esmé and Casa Matanza—are open and ready to welcome guests. Run by Infinity Hospitality, both of the Mediterranean Revival establishments are full of rich colors, luxe textures, and vintage furniture, thanks to designer Jessica Schuster.

Photo credit: christian harder

Photo credit: christian harder

“Both sister hotels are layered with details and textures and offer so many moments of discovery,” Schuster gushes. “It is a unique and fun space in South Beach that goes back to our initial concept: transforming the [property] into a [place where you can experience] time away from time.”

Photo credit: Christian Harder.

Photo credit: Christian Harder.

Formerly known as The Clay Hotel and the Spanish Village, the property opened in 1927 as a bohemian artist’s colony. Schuster says many original architectural elements were maintained, but it was rather “bare and seedy” when she signed on to give it a makeover. So, she set out to create an enduring experience pinned to South Beach as well as the building’s architecture and history.

Of course, renovating the hotels didn’t come without challenges. “The primary being that this was an original hotel from the 1920s,” Schuster explains. “Every room was a different size and shape, which made it challenging to design at scale.”

Esmé is comprised of 145 guest rooms and five food and beverage concepts across eight buildings, which are connected by paseos. The boutique hotel is now filled with jewel tones, textured mahogany, and gold accents. Casa Matanza exists as a 42-room standalone building with a restaurant, which can be accessed from Esmé through a tunnel that takes guests to the other side of Drexel Avenue. Its guest rooms take on a darker, moodier color palette than those at Esmé.

For both hotels, Schuster was careful not to rush the process, searching for the perfect elements to fit the historic spaces. “Over the course of three years, I curated an assortment of vintage furniture and lighting from travels around the world and combined those with custom-designed pieces,” the designer says, pointing to pieces like a 1940s Spanish chest that sits in the lobby of Casa Matanza.

There were some surprises along the way, too: “One of my favorite things we designed is the fireplace [at Esmé], which we discovered during construction,” says Schuster.

Much of the furniture in the guest rooms is custom-designed by MCM House, including the beds draped in Bellino linens. In the bathrooms, guests will find colorful tile by Bedrosians Tile & Stone and Grown Alchemist bath products. Other standouts of the hotels include a pool on Esmé’s roof, where guests can take a yoga class or lounge while sipping on cocktails.

It’s safe to say these sister hotels are a must-see—whether you’re a local looking to grab a bite (or indulge in a staycation) or a tourist who appreciates well-designed spaces with enticing elements at every turn.

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