BACKSTORY: When the Cuban Missile Crisis cropped up in the ’60s, the hotel’s architects altered their blueprints to introduce reinforced concrete four times the required strength. The Mondrian has since undergone a number of multimillion-dollar renovations, which have tended to focus more on luxury than impenetrability.
DESIGN NOTES: Dreamed up by superstar Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, the lobby here is like the interior of a futuristic fairy-tale castle. The dramatic “floating stair-case” hovers amid custom black and gold furnishings, while floor-to-ceiling windows provide an eye-popping view
of Biscayne Bay.
BEST PLACE TO HANG OUT: Named partly in homage to Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard (the location of the first Mondrian hotel), the Sunset Lounge is ideal for a romantic interlude. Offering views of the bay and the city skyline, the lounge has private cabanas shielded by foliage, and a labyrinthine garden with discreet “kissing corners.”
HOT DISH: Though you can’t go wrong with any of the signature dishes at the hotel restaurant—including salmon with Asian pear, and branzino with Tuscan kale—particularly good are the tacos, which come with a choice of chili-braised brisket, chipotle-lime chicken, 48-hour pork belly carnitas or market-fresh fish.