The Biltmore - A Timeless Destination, Renewed

The Biltmore - A Timeless Destination, Renewed

By:Susan B. Barnes
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At 95-years young, The Biltmore Coral Gables has been hosting the elite for decades. Hollywood stars, politicos and the like have long flocked to the grandeur of the "great hotel" to see and be seen. At one time, the pool was the largest in the world and boasted swimming instructor (and later Tarzan actor) Johnny Weissmuller.

In keeping with its opulent past, The Biltmore recently completed a $35 million renovation to the entire property, including redesigned accommodations, meeting spaces, fitness center, and an 18-hole, par-71 championship golf course.

The brand new 271 guest rooms and 174 suites blend luxury and traditional elegance with a decor of sophisticated tones of plums, silver sage and accents of gold. Each space features European bedding, 340-thread-count Egyptian cotton duvet covers, Jerusalem stone-tiled floors, balconies, 65-inch flat-screen 4K TVs, Nespresso coffee machines, and wireless, high speed Internet.

The Biltmore's recent renovations extend into meeting spaces, too. The hotel boasts 75,000 total square feet of function space, most with natural daylight and all without air walls. Ballrooms are surrounded by grand terraces overlooking the golf course and pool, while many conference rooms have private terraces which can be used for small gatherings and breaks. Take advantage of the balmy Florida weather and utilize some of the 32,437 square feet of outdoor space. Functions may be held in the Fontana courtyard which features "al fresco" dining or poolside on the lawn and Cascade terrace or select one of nine nestled cabanas for a breakout.

For those seeking team building opportunities, the Culinary Academy headed by Carlos Aguilera, Executive Chef at the Biltmore, is a terrific space that allows up to 12 guests to elevate their cooking skills including tools and techniques, menu planning, food presentation and kitchen safety.

"Whether you're looking for a live cooking demonstration or a hands-on workshop, our group cooking classes at the Culinary Academy are a fun way to bring people together," said Chef Aguilera. "We create delicious menu items that speak to many different tastes and preferences but really it is all about gathering together, safely, and connecting through food."

If attendees would rather work up an appetite rather than prepare a meal, the corporate clinics, private lessons and multi-day golf schools are also available for your group at the newly added Jim McLean Golf School, considered one of the top schools in America. Legendary golf course architect Donald Ross designed The Biltmore Golf Course, an 18-hole, 71-part championship course, in 1925; as part of the recent renovations, the golf course was restored to its original design.

"For nearly a century the Biltmore has set the standard for luxury hospitality and will continue to do so for the industry at large," said Gene Prescott, Chairman & owner of the Biltmore Hotel. "We are honored to celebrate our rich history and simultaneously look forward to a brighter future."

And what a history it has. When The Biltmore Hotel opened its doors on January 15,1926, it put Coral Gables on the map. Soon welcoming guests such as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, gangster Al Capone, and Hollywood glitterati like Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland and Bing Crosby. The vision of George E. Merrick (creator of Miami's Coral Gables neighborhood and founder of the University of Miami) and hotel magnate John McEntee, The Biltmore was just what they had in mind: "a great hotelwhich would not only serve as a hostelry to crowds which were thronging to Coral Gables but also would serve as a center of sports and fashion." The "great hotel" features Mediterranean architecture and classic Italian, Moorish and Spanish influences throughout.

Though it feels a world away, The Biltmore Hotel is in fact just five miles from Miami International Airport; Ft. Lauderdale International Airport is 30 miles to the north.