SLS Hotel South Beach Adds Megawatts to The Strip

With the lights and the cameras and the thousand-strong throng, one might’ve gotten the impression that there was a riot goin’ on in South Beach last night. With the ubiquitous velvet ropes and de rigueur red carpet though, the impression would’ve instead led one to believe it might’ve been more of a star-studded grand opening. Well, there was indeed a bit of a riot goin’ on, and yes, it came occasioned by a star-studded grand opening. Thing is, for many a with-it Miamian, the grand opening was more an opportunity to pay tribute to a hotspot they’d already been hitting for months. Yep, you guessed it, we’re talkin’ about the official unveiling of SLS Hotel South Beach, and the exquisite inn’s attendant bacchanal.

Stunningly transformed by Philippe Starck on the site of the landmark Ritz Plaza, this is the place where top shelf chef José Andrés has brought about The Bazaar, where Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi has teamed for Katsuya by Starck, and where the penthouses have been designed by none other than Lenny Kravitz (pictured, at left). The inn’s also sibling to SBE’s equally shimmering SLS Beverly Hills, and as such it attracted the crème de la crème of the bi-coastal set.

Among the maddening crowds were of course the aforementioned Starck, Kravitz, and Andres, in addition to Sam Nazarian, CEO of the hotel’s parent SBE. Also on hand was Rumer Willis (and her merry “band of hooligans”), who may have come to play but whose pairing of combat boots with a white silky dress was what most impressed The Daily Mail. Not being red carpet types we didn’t catch any sport stars (but in a sporting town such as this we’re sure they were well represented), and we didn’t spot any other bold-faced names either (but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there too). Then again, with a glittering throng such as this one, playing spot the celeb just doesn’t do.

What does do is Hyde Beach, the singlemost swingin’ new joint to open on the Strip in some time — or at least since FDR was unveiled across the street at The Delano last November. To some degree it actually seems to be FDR which Hyde is slowly supplanting. Whether that’s by accident or with intent is anybody’s guess. For months now the smart set has been hopping back and forth between the two, so we’re thinkin’ there’s still room for both. But Hyde also happens to be the joint that teamed with the World Champion Miami Heat with Hyde at American Airlines Arena, just like LIV did with the Dolphins, and that gives the name an even more rarefied air. Come to think of it, rarefied is kinda just the perfect word to sum up the wow of SLS South Beach itself.

[Related: A Spirited Rundown of Dining and Drinking Spots at the New SLS South Beach]

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Miami Opening: FDR Lounge

Following on from the recent opening of the Delano’s new Bianca restaurant, Vegas’ Light Group has opened the doors on FDR Lounge, an intimate new drinking spot in the basement of the hotel, named for our late great Prohibition-beating president (as is the hotel itself).

Justin D’Angelo’s drinks menu continues the homage with cocktails like the Eleanor, the Lucy, and the New Deal, which we guess won’t be ordered by many Republican types. Sam Robin’s Deco-inspired design is all dark velvet banquettes and glittery gold accents.  Mos Def has already performed.