January 19, 2011

DGU for the new year and the Setai Hotel

I took a lot of time thinking about Design Guy University and this blog and where it was going and what it's purpose was. And I realized that it's design inspiration with history and a lot of design factoids that they don't teach you in design school, but that you learn through experience by doing or living.

So starting this year I wanted to take you on a tour of Miami's beautiful art deco area South Beach where I stayed during the holiday and through New Years. In fact this post is a bit delayed because I'm still sorta long to be in vacation mode... but now I'm back I can share my design inspirations with you.
The Setai, situated on Collins Drive, was a complete Oasis Christmas day when I visited this past December. I had just had a beautiful walk on the boardwalk listening to the Ocean when I felt compelled to go in and enjoy. I later went back a few days later, I'll share that in a bit.

The Setai hotel is comprised of two buildings: the restored old art deco building that was once the Dempsey Vanderbilt Hotel opening in 1936 and the glass tower which contains larger rooms, suites and conference areas. It's all connected as a complex which is completely hidden by both the boardwalk and Collins avenue. Inside is where the newer, Asian hotel is a visual treat for the eyes.

The entry is large and has a short entry hall divided into four. One side is reception and concierge, the other is restaurant/bar area and entry into the courtyard reflecting pool.

Couldn't you imagine this lovely floral arrangement (yes, it was real) at your home. The roses were perfect. The hurricane held an orange. They were several of these along the perimeter of the reflecting pond. Oranges represent not only good health & long life but is a symbol of wealth. (what an economic, but classy look.) The floors throughout were made of grey, antique brick that was shipped from Shanghai where at one time, coincidentally, had the largest collection of art deco buildings in the world.

The courtyard outside was one large relecting pond. This was not a pool for swimming or wading, but for meditation and relaxation. Four statues were placed in each of the four corners, each an interpretaion of a calligraphy stamp that a scholar would sign a scroll or document.

Because I was there at the holidays, they had a lovely tree, which was kinda weird being that we were in an Asian hotel. But as you can see it was tasteful. Now why did I go back later on in the week? Look under the tree....

Flanking the entrance were two boutiques. One, the uncompromising store of Asprey (the purple packages under the tree) and also Graff Diamonds. So I picked up a few things at the Asprey store saving myself a trip to New York or London. Then I went across the hall to talk to the manager of Graff diamonds where he showed me some great cufflinks and we discussed Graff's craftsmanship and he was great to talk about his collection of colored gems and diamonds on display.... one being an eight carat peridot ring from Africa the other.......some pink sapphire butterfly jewelry that would have looked good on my niece.

So when you travel, go into hotels and spaces even at places you're not staying. Have coffee, a drink, or just walk through. and learn, enjoy, absorb.

Enjoy the rest of the photos. the last three photos at the end are from the hotel's website where you can see the luxurious accomodations.