InterContinental Miami Celebrates 40 Years
InterContinental Miami made its grand debut in 1983, built with travertine marble imported from Italy—so much, in fact, that the project emptied out a quarry. Towering 34 stories over the city and showing off a trifecta of views of Biscayne Bay, the Atlantic Ocean and the Port of Miami, the hotel designed by Pietro Belluci, the same architect behind New York City’s Pan Am building, became an iconic landmark piercing the downtown skyline.
In the early 1980s, Miami was on the map for pop culture, thanks in part to “Miami Vice,” but InterCon’s arrival marked a new chapter for hospitality in Southern Florida. The opening coincided with Miami’s evolution into a destination for international business and synced up with the city’s growing reputation as an arts, entertainment and culture scene.
Located in Brickell—Miami’s vibrant city center—InterContinental Miami is a place where business and art intersect. And, over the past 40 years, the 653-room hotel has been the stage for gatherings big and small.
The luxury hotel has played a supporting role for the Super Bowl, welcomed mayors from around the country for a 2008 conference ahead of a presidential election and hosted a grand Indian wedding with more than 500 guests gathering for a four-day celebration. InterContinental Miami has also created countless memories for groups with culinary pop-ups, salsa dancing and “Noche de Arte” events that allows for resident artists to display their artwork onsite and engage with guests.
Ahead, take a look at InterContinental Miami’s highlight reel from the past four decades and discover what’s next for this legendary hotel.
InterContinental Miami’s Most Memorable Events
Ana Maria Rego, the Director of Meetings and Event Services at InterContinental Miami, said she always knew she wanted to work in hospitality.
“Hotel,” a primetime soap opera series starring Connie Selleca debuted in 1983 (coincidentally, the same year InterContinental Miami opened) and further piqued her interest in hospitality. She went on to study hospitality at Florida International University.
“What's great about this hotel is it never gets boring,” said Rego, who has been with InterContinental Miami for two decades. “There’s never a dull day. You get to be a part of some of the biggest moments of people’s lives, whether it’s a wedding or a Super Bowl victory.”
The hotel, indeed, has hosted some momentous occasions and played key roles in major events.
In 2010, quarterback Drew Brees led the New Orleans Saints to a 31-17 Super Bowl victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The InterContinental Miami played host to the Saints, who staged a full takeover of the hotel and meeting spaces and hosted a post-win party with 2,600 guests.
Leading up to the big game, Rego recalled a funny moment when Head Coach Sean Payton asked her to get a container of peanut butter and a jar of sand. She dispatched some hotel team members to go to a nearby beach and gather the sand. Then, when she got home that night and was watching a press conference, the mystery errand revealed itself as Payton had pranked defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, having the peanut butter and the jar of sand delivered to him to help “keep his mouth shut” and not say anything incriminating ahead of the Super Bowl.
A decade later, in 2020, InterContinental Miami was the NFL Headquarters for Super Bowl LIV, with a full takeover of the hotel’s meeting spaces for about 10 days and a 1,400-person post-game party— with some league officials arriving at the hotel one month prior to set up their offices. A year later, the hotel hosted Ohio State, which was playing in the College Football Playoff National Championship team. InterContinental Miami also hosted Tennessee when it won the Orange Bowl in 2022. Rego has even pointed them to the hotel’s 35,000 square foot outdoor SkyLawn so they can walk through plays ahead of the game!
“I find myself rooting for rival teams because they’re staying here and you get to know them,” Rego says.
Beyond football, weddings, political gatherings and business meetings, the luxury hotel also hosts the star-studded InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball, which began in 1996 and has grown into a marquee gala. The sought-after event welcomes nearly 1,000 guests in the hotel’s grand ballroom for a night filled with A-list entertainment, elevated culinary offerings from InterContinental Miam’s executive chef and jaw-dropping visuals.
Make-A-Wish has brought in stars like Steven Tyler, Marc Anthony, Diana Ross and Lenny Kravitz to perform for the gala and, throughout the years, more than $35 million has been raised to grant thousands of wishes for critically ill children.
Looking Ahead: Reimagined Guests Rooms
The city of Miami and the InterContinental Miami have grown up together, and meeting and events guests staying at the hotel will get an authentic feel for the city during their stays, whether at Little Havana coffee breaks with Cuban coffee, croquetas and pastelitos (Cuban pastries) served or via salsa dancing lessons taught at the hotel.
Coinciding with the hotel’s 40th anniversary, InterContinental Miami has nearly completed a $40 million renovation to transform all the resort’s 653 guest rooms and suites as well as the hotel’s 29th floor Club Lounge. Designers drew inspiration from the views of Biscayne Bay and the vibrant downtown skyline to create a Miami color palette with nautical blues and a coral that evokes South Florida sunsets. The design strikes a balance of crisp modern elegance and a calming tropical style.
Luxury cabanas will make their debut on the rooftop pool in late summer.
With 135,000 square feet of meeting space throughout the hotel's meeting rooms, ball rooms and outdoor venues, the InterContinental Miami is one of the best places to take in the sites of “Magic City.”
“The views are just spectacular,” Rego says. “You have views of the city, but also the bay and it’s really beautiful at dusk when you can see the lights of Miami. It’s nothing like I’ve ever seen before.”