When it comes to historic architecture in Miami, Art Deco, which dominated the 1920s-40s, and MiMo, which reigned in the ‘50s, gets all the attention. Inside downtown’s newly opened Langford Hotel (121 SE 1st St., Downtown; 305-420-2200), the historic building’s Beaux-Arts architecture transports guests to another city entirely. One, say, that’s been around longer than Miami’s youthful 120 years, like Boston or New York.
Originally erected in 1926 as the Miami National Bank, the building climbs 12 stories in the heart of downtown with all the signature flourishes on its façade: Corinthian columns in bas relief, an ornate curlicue frieze, stately dentil work and grand arches shading the entrance. Inside, the small ground floor lobby features original crown moulding, marble walls and brass elevator doors.
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The property, designated a historic site by the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, eventually transitioned from a financial institution into office space and then sat dormant for years before Stambul, the Langford’s ownership, stepped into create the boutique 126-room hotel.
“It needed a lot of work,” says Oscar Suarez, General Manager, who’s been a part of the project from the beginning. “I was in on the early decision-making process of small details like design and furnishings, which is unusual. Normally the GM is brought on later in the project when it’s nearly ready to open.”
The restoration took roughly two years and Stambul enlisted Bloom interior design and Elton & Hampton architects to create a modern hotel that honored its Jazz Age history with nods to other historical milestones. For instance, rooms are outfitted with teal upholstered headboards modeled after 1950s Cadillac seat cushions, the rooftop bar’s wallpaper is inspired by 1940s sailor tattoos and the penthouse features imitation Cuban tiles for nostalgia from crisscrossing times and places.
Owing to the building’s historic bones, the first floor is merely reception, while the second floor is home to the more cushy Sky Lobby where guests can relax and mingle in a warm setting with a small library and a bird’s eye view into PB Station restaurant. The newest concept by local Pubbelly Group, it faithfully resembles an Old World train station with black and white subway tiles, mirrored arches and major cities scrawled on the walls alongside clocks with their corresponding time zones. Subtle Miami decorative touches in Sky Lobby include antique jai alai rackets and airplane propellers mounted to the walls, a nod to the city’s historic pastime and former location of PanAm’s headquarters, respectively.
With only 14 rooms per floor and wainscoted wooden doors, the hotel has a Golden Age residential aesthetic. They’ve honored this history with white oak hardwood floors in a herringbone pattern, popular in the 1920s, and bathrooms outfitted in black subway tiles for a design that feels both Old World and sparklingly modern. The rooms blend history and modernity with a vintage chest doubling as a luggage stand and additional storage, a golden brocade accent wall behind the bed and brass lamps alongside top of the line appliances and electronics.
While the Langford is sure to draw business travelers in search of stylish, one-of-a-kind accommodations and frequent Miami leisure travelers interested in discovering the up-and-coming downtown scene, The Langford’s food and beverage program helmed by Pubbelly will no doubt draw locals, as well. In addition to their ground level PB Station, a New American concept with menu items repurposed from its shuttered PB Steak in Sunset Harbour, they’re also operating the rooftop bar Pawnbroker, boasting a unique vantage point on the Miami skyline.
The Langford should absolutely be the site of your next downtown power lunch or happy hour.
Angling as a luxury boutique alternative to the towering new build, big box high rises like JW Marriott Marquis and the EPIC, opening rates at the Langford are competitive for the neighborhood, starting around $172 per night.