“Amenity deck” is a term that has become so ubiquitous that it’s come to the point that prospective condominium buyers are likely to tune out when they hear it. That would be a mistake when it comes to the Elser Hotel & Residences, new 49-story tower set in downtown Miami that isn’t flagged with any national or global luxury brands—no Four Seasons, no Auberge, no Ritz-Carlton, no Rosewood. (The Elser is a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Lifestyle Collection.)
What the Sieger Suarez-designed tower does have, in addition to its 646 rooms, including 306 expansive suites, is a pool floor—the aforementioned amenity deck—where you can happily spend all day. The pool is a showstopper, a bit reminiscent of the National Hotel’s iconic pool, because it’s so long—132-feet, which is catnip for lap swimmers. That elegant aqueous blade features a 16-foot LED screening wall (a fine place to enjoy Lionel Messi’s moves on the soccer field), then makes a right-hand turn and terminates in gentle slope—no stairs—to mimic the sea. That edge draws the visiting families and kids, while hotel’s overall aesthetic seems geared to young professionals.
With kudos to Sieger Suarez and Cotofana Designs, which worked on the interiors, the 19,000-square-foot amenity deck represents the way we live now, and the way we want hotels to function. For anyone who has checked into a hotel and been frustrated by how distant the pool is from the gym, the Elser is for you. When the elevator door opens on the pool floor, guests and residents can merely turn, take a few steps, and (without swiping a card or opening a door) find themselves in the state-of-the-art, chic-meets-industrial gym boasting an array of TechnoGym resistance equipment backed by floor-to ceiling windows.
A wide staircase—part steps, part padded stadium seating—leads to yet another floor of fitness equipment: the cardio area. At this point you realize that the Elser rivals, even surpasses, some of the best workout spaces in Miami. If that weren’t enough, the second floor also contains an open-air whirlpool deck.
Meanwhile, back on the pool floor, a vast lounge area—it looks like a floating lawn, punctuated by towering columns—beckons for work and play. And tucked in there is an all-day alfresco restaurant and bar serving everything from tasty waffles to savory flatbreads to healthy salads. (Additional dining options are in the works, including the Jaguar Sun on the lobby level.)
From the front desk to the restaurant, the staff is so friendly and adept that credit must go to Highgate; though not exactly a household name, it’s a leading hospitality investment and management company with a portfolio that includes more than 160 properties in cities worldwide, including New York, Boston, Miami, San Francisco and Honolulu, with a growing footprint in Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. Highgate has partnered with global brands like Marriott and Hilton, plus favorites of savvy New Yorkers like the Smyth in Tribeca.
Downtown Miami has its own story, its own journey, and when it is eventually redeveloped to the level of Brickell, we’ll be able to point to the Elser as a milestone, when an eminently livable skyscraper opened its stylish doors.