From its crisp white walls to its ocean-facing curves, the pulsing neon of its club to the refined elegance of its food, Fontainebleau is a modern marvel.
But this Miami landmark is no creation of the early aughts; its origins date back to 1954, when a modest 520 rooms housed guests in a hotel a third the size of Fontainebleau’s current property. In 1978, real estate mogul Stephen Muss bought the property and hired Hilton to manage it. It was only in 2008 when the now-majestic hotel really began to take form under direction from developer Jeffrey Soffer.
The first addition to the property was the Versailles Tower, adding 380 rooms. Then came two more towers, bringing the grand total to 1,504 rooms—the most of any property in greater Miami. While the additions were designed to modernize Fontainebleau with updated design and top-of-the-line amenities, they also stayed true to the property’s designation as a historic landmark. Thanks to this architectural foresight, guests can now enjoy the best of midcentury modern and 2016 aesthetics in the same space.
Not surprisingly, the renovation brought with it several brand new restaurants and serious culinary talent. Grounded in authentic Chinese cuisine, Hakkasan is what Vice President of Culinary Operations Thomas Connell calls a “concept-driven, not chef-driven, restaurant.” But guests can also find the culinary genius of celebrity chefs employed with panache, notably in Michael Mina 74, a casual American concept; Stripsteak by Michael Mina—a steak-centric Mina creation; and Scarpetta, the regional Italian inspiration of James Beard Award- winning Chef Scott Conant.
Unlike other hotel properties, where leased space leaves restaurants to their own devices, Fontainebleau has crafted a brilliant support structure that balances the experience of celebrity chefs Mina and Conant with Connell’s daily oversight and the innovation of each concept’s head chef. Thanks to recent additions to the hotel, the chefs can also lean on a full suite of onsite facilities—including banquet halls, a bakery, expansive storage, space for onsite butchery, and other research and development facilities.
“Fontainebleau’s unique model for collaboration works when you have common vision between founding chefs and property staff,” Connell says. “We always have open dialogue, and the chefs are onsite at least monthly so that they can interact with guests and review their concepts.” Thanks to this approach, nearly every concept on the property is leading its respective empire in revenue—while helping to define Miami as a culinary destination.
“Michael Mina 74 leads the brand,” Vice President of Food and Beverage Joshua Summers says. “And Hakkasan—which we brought over from London—outperforms all other Hakkasan locations. That’s because Chef Connell’s skills keep menus fresh and focused.”
Part of that focus is keen attention to sourcing. The chefs’ collaboration has ensured that only the best ingredients find their way into the hotel’s restaurants—including fish caught off the hotel’s boat, meat sourced fresh daily, and produce picked within miles of Fontainebleau.
Another perk of having top-notch restaurants in the same hotel: custom dining itineraries. “You can be here for days and not leave the property,” Summers says. Guests often craft their own hours-long enjoyment of Fontainebleau’s culinary talent, stretching from Champagne at Michael Mina 74 to light seafood indulgences at Scarpetta, to continental steak entrées at StripSteak. Some lucky diners have even been invited to the onsite pâtisserie, where they can pick and choose chocolate indulgences from the hotel’s pastry case.
Supposing loyal diners are keen on learning the ins and outs of Scarpetta’s pasta, or the secrets to pairing wine with steak, Fontainebleau also offers classes open to the public. Interested foodies can even have classes and events customized to fit their interests—and with such a diversity of concepts, the theme can be almost anything.
“Our culinary offerings are truly the majesty of Fontainebleau,” Summers says. It helps, of course, that the luxurious property is steps away from the deep blue ocean, and that there seems to be no limit to the talent and potential within its walls. If Fontainebleau aims to elevate Miami dining—indeed, to redefine it—it’s well on its way.
Dining Highlights at Fontainebleau
Stripsteak: For something a bit different, be sure to try the Japanese Whisky Ceremony— perfect for whisky aficionados and novices alike. Multiple varieties of Japanese whisky are brought to your table and your server will guide you to the whisky that most suits your taste. They then perfume the glass with ingredients and aromas naturally found in the whisky. Participants complete the ceremony with a luscious taste of the whisky they prefer.
28oz Dry-Aged Bone-In Rib-Eye—If you’re coming to StripSteak, this most regal of steaks is not to be missed. Dry-aged in the restaurant’s own butcher shop to enhance the flavor and tenderness, the rib-eye is then grilled over a wood-burning grill to perfection. The result is a beautifully marbled, tender steak that you will never forget.
Tuna Tartare—A classic featured at many Michael Mina restaurants, the Tuna Tartare is one of the property’s best-selling dishes. Spicy and sweet play well together in this blockbuster dish; sushi-grade tuna is mixed tableside with garlic, chile, and Asian pear for the perfect balance of flavors.
Hakkasan: Opt for the carefully curated dishes and drinks on the $45 three-course dim sum lunch menu—from authentic Peking Duck combined with caviar, to the crafted cocktails and eclectic wines. Don’t miss the the Smoky Negroni Cocktail, either. Must-try dishes include Pepper Steak and Honey Sea Bass.
Michael Mina 74: This is undoubtedly one of the best places in the city for innovative cocktails; there are three mixed drinks on tap, three barrel-aged concoctions, and three carbonated creations, all made in-house. Plus, you can enjoy the seafood cart filled with bounty from the hotel’s own boat. Necessary menu indulgences: Ahi Tuna Poppers and the Dry-Aged Steak Burger with American cheese.
To learn more about Fontainebleau, its amenities, and the many dining possibilities on property, visit fontainebleau.co