The New Oldham
Todd Oldham does double duty in South Beach with his restoration of the Fairfax hotel and the design of the new Enoteca Spiaggia restaurant.
Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 7/17/2007 12:00:00 AM
By the time the former Fairfax Hotel closed its doors a few years back, the vintage building at 18th Street and Fort Collins Avenue in Miami's South Beach district had become a dodgy budget hotel where, if online travel site reviews are any indication, you got what you paid for. "Bad, really bad!" chimed one amateur critic. "In look as well as odor. . . strongly resembled a nursing home."
Well, that was then. There's a new breeze blowing through the dowager property, and we don't mean Fabreze. Chicago developer Larry Levy has claimed the hotel as his own, and enlisted the aid of designer Todd Oldham to completely transform the space into The Fairfax, a 49-suite boutique hotel that also offers fractional ownership opportunities to those seeking a home away from home.
Oldham's hosting duties on Bravo's Top Design last season obviously didn';t put a crimp in his own design pursuits. Not only did he conceive the renovation of The Fairfax, but he also designed Enoteca Spiaggia, Chicago Chef Tony Mantuano's new restaurant that will be located within The Fairfax. Both the hotel and the restaurant are due for completion by early next year.
One standout of the new design is the courtyard patio, accented with a three-tiered waterfall that runs from the roof of the hotel to the ground level. Concrete tiles custom-designed by Oldham embellish the courtyard's reflecting pools and fountains. Stone mosaics provide the unifying visual motif of Enoteca Spiaggia, which also incorporates honey-colored woods and other neutral tones. Pieces of melted-down wine bottles create a patterned effect against several backlit architectural elements.
There are four sizes of accommodations, from 450 to 575 square feet, with each suite offering two plasma-screen televisions, iPod docking stations, recessed lighting, Philippe Starck-designed Jacuzzi tubs and Oldham-designed bath linens. In addition to custom-designed furniture, the suites will, of course, feature armless sectional sofas from Oldham's signature collection for La-Z-Boy. Famously vegetarian, Oldham used no animal-based products in the design of the hotel or the restaurant.
The Fairfax is Oldham's second project in South Beach, the first being his 1999 restoration of the Tiffany Hotel, which transformed the property into the four-diamond The Hotel.