Monday, March 24, 2014


  The Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach has a starry history as the place where Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack liked to party, where the Black Tuna drug cartel ran their operations from a luxury suite in the 1970s and where scenes from Scarface, Goldfinger, The Bellboy and A Hole in the Head, among other movies, were filmed.
   But now? After a one billion dollar renovation, the addition of two new towers and four swimming pools, the 1,500 room hotel, which opened in 1954, leaves a lot to be desired.
sardines on the beach
   Sinatra and has clan probably weren't asked to pay $44 for a chair and umbrella on the hotel's private beach or join literally hundreds of bodies crammed in like sardines around the pools where music blasts out over loudspeakers all day. Or be told after waiting half an hour for a seat to order a burger in one of the hotel's 12 restaurants that it could take up to an hour to arrive!

  My two nights there coincided with spring break which brought hundreds of wealthy teens and twenties to the hotel for sun and fun. 
samba party
   A concert on the hotel's lawn, at which some of the voice stars of the animated movie Rio 2, Jamie Foxx, Sergio Mendes, Janelle Monae and Kristin Chenoweth performed, was also packed to capacity, the numbers boosted by 257 samba dancers who broke the world record for the number of dancers samba-in in unison.
  All good publicity for the movie, good business for the hotel and a lot of fun for the spring breakers.
  But I won't be checking back in for a while, unless I have to.

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