Miami Beach's National Hotel stands out by blending classic and modern elements
and making art, food and culture part of the hotel's everyday life.
By Eric Slack
Located in the heart of Miami Beach, the iconic and timeless National Hotel has offered luxurious oceanfront accommodations and remarkable entertainment since its opening in 1939. With 116 guest rooms and suites in its historic tower and 36 oversized cabana rooms and suites, the hotel embraces its Art Deco feel with a uniquely curated art collection and offers a wide array of amenities.
“The National Hotel remains as one of the destinations of choice in Miami Beach due to its original character, as well as the devotion of our staff in offering genuine and authentic service to make our friends and guests feel truly at home with the classic feel and warmth that a historic, classic hotel can offer,” General Manager Yaser Mohamad says.
Fully restored in 2014, the hotel was recognized by Historic Hotels of America for maintaining its architectural authenticity and sense of place.
Among the signature pieces of the hotel are fine French dining at its renowned restaurant, Tamara’s Bistro. Additionally, The National Hotel is home to Miami Beach’s longest infinity-edge pool, which measures 205 feet long and is complemented by the hotel’s stunning pool deck, where guests enjoy poolside dining and massage services.
“During our renovations and updates, we never forgot about the latest trends of today’s travelers while also preserving the traditional aspects of the hotel along with the comfort of the human touch,” Mohamad says.
Art, food and culture are all signature parts of The National experience, and these elements have been infused into the hotel’s day-to-day operations. The National Hotel is an icon of the Miami Beach Art Deco District. The emblematic building has stood firm as one of the most viewed architectural representations of the Art Deco culture, and it is part of the legacy of Miami Beach. At The National, the hotel strives to create an experience whereby all of its guests’ senses are seduced.
“The authentic visuals of our grounds are combined with multiple and very diverse art installations to expose and celebrate local, national and international artists,” Mohamad says.
For example, LIVE! At the National has become the main entertainment for the nights at the hotel’s timeless blues bar, where local talents surround a piano man with lots of talented performers with different music influences and styles.
Additionally, Tamara Bistro has re-invented itself with a classic but yet modern French bistro concept, where guests can sample classic French cuisine with the modern and casual twist of a bistro, dining while a show is on stage or al fresco in an oversized terrace overlooking Infinity, The National’s unique 205-foot long pool.
The National is also actively involved with various community events. In December 2016, the hotel took part in the annual Art Basel art fair. As North America’s foremost international art fair, Art Basel puts the spotlight on Miami every year thanks to participating exhibitors and art galleries.
“Every year, The National Hotel partners with local, national and international galleries to present a unique but yet grand installation that represents the world of the arts while also speaking The National’s language,” Mohamad says. “For the last couple of years, we have partnered with Miguel Paredes, Markus & Koala and Carole Feuerman, with Maurice Renoma this year. We bring art and culture that highlights the old and the new with a sense of elegance but yet trendy enough to cater to new waves of modern spectators.”
To kick off the 2016 Art Basel weekend, The National Hotel hosted a private celebration and meet-and-greet party with French designer and photographer, Maurice Renoma. The hotel will showcase Renoma’s artwork throughout the property between December and next April, and it opened these displays to the public during Art Basel.
Another part of this year’s Art Basel at The National was focused on the art of cocktails. Logan Ronkainen, renowned New York City mixologist, Chilled magazine columnist and founder of Punch & Pie took over the hotel’s Blues Bar during Art Basel to create artfully delicious concoctions inspired by some of the world’s biggest artists.
“This year the collaboration touches not only the historic walls of The National, it is also translated into the area rugs, decorative pillows, fashion and casual wear, menus, outdoor murals, music, videos and a signature cabana suite re-decorated by Renoma,” Mohamad explains.
“Combining world-renowned art, iconic fashion, French bistro cuisine and a popup mixologist program powered by Punch & Pie New York takes this Art Basel from an ordinary exhibition to an extraordinary experience that will touch all the senses with lots of class and trendiness.”
Another event that is a staple for The National is annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF). A national, star-studded, five-day destination event, SOBEWFF showcases the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities.
At the next SOBEWFF in February 2017, The National is the proud host hotel for the highly acclaimed Late Night Dessert Party. At the event, dozens of Pastry Masters will delight guests with wonderful desserts covered by the spectacular moonlight of Miami Beach. The event is taking place at the Infinity Pool complex at the hotel.
“Also, the hotel has been selected as a guest for the exclusive, VIP experience of Paella and Tapas hosted by Jose Andres, where The National Hotel’s culinary Team will execute a memorable but yet traditional tapas dish from the world of Mediterranean cuisine, which is familiar and shared among countries like France and Spain,” Mohamad says.
In the years ahead, The National Hotel will continue developing and reinventing itself with a series of programs and events. This includes a new Bar Program powered by AlambiQ, a bar and cocktail consulting, brand marketing, cocktail and spirits education, and cocktail event catering and management organization created by Philip Khandehrish and Freddy Diaz that is taking the mixologist and bar scene to the next level.
Additionally, Tamara French Bistro will continue evolving its programs. These will include holiday extravaganzas, Signature Degustation Menus and participation in programs such as the Late Night Dessert Party with SOBEWFF, Tapas Event with Jose Andres, Backyard Nights at The Aqua Pool Club of The National, Miami Spice, French Week and much more.
The National Hotel has also scheduled a renovation to the outdoor pool facilities where a new food and beverage experience will offer a different format. It will be launched in fall 2017.
Beyond the physical is the virtual. The National has added a dedicated social media staff as well as graphic designers to its team in order to be able to maintain its presence and branding in all platforms, and to stay active in front of all consumers exposed to the power of social media.
“The biggest challenge in this industry is to maintain consistency while also re-inventing ourselves and evolving with the market and new trends,” Mohamad says. “We represent the unforgettable style and the legendary grace of a timeless era. The brand and power of our Art Deco gem will continue to be the epicenter of all our efforts, bringing classic hospitality to today’s travelers while we meet their demands and comfort expectations.”