CORAL GABLES BILTMORE HOTEL

1200 Anastasia Avenue, miami, fl

(305) 445-1926

Status: Active 4 Star Hotel and Resort

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By Averette at English WikipediaCC BY 3.0Link


History

Construction began in 1925 on this magnificent hotel in a partnership between the Biltmore chain and George Merrick a land developer who controlled all construction in the suburbs of Coral Gables. The doors opened 10 months later in January of 1926 with a huge party.

Before World War II the hotel became the party playhouse for the Hollywood and the world's royalty including Bing Crosy, Judy Garland, Al Capone and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

When the war began the War department took over the hotel and turned it into a hospital. The lower windows were bricked up and the gorgeous flooring was replaced with linoleum. After the war the University of Miami took over the building and turned it into a school of medicine. The building remained a VA hospital until 1968.

In 1973 ownership passed over to the City of Coral Gables who were unsure what to do with it. So, it remained completely abandoned for 10 years, and began to deteriorate, until 1983.

In 83 a 4 year long restoration project was began at a cost of $55 million and it was reopened as a world class hotel and resort destination.

In 1992 the Seaway Hotels Corporation took over ownership - the present owners - and committed more money to yet another restoration. Seaway built a brand new state of the art spa which is still considered one of the best in the world. They also completely revamped all of the hotel's infrastructure.

 

Legends and Paranormal Activity

The ghost of Thomas "Fatty" Walsh is said to haunt the hotel. He was murdered on the hotel's 13th floor in 1929 over a gambling debt. The elevators bring people to the 13th floor when other floors are pressed. Lights turn on and off on their own on that floor. Doors open and close and people have complained of a powerful sense of being watched and not being alone.

The apparition of a "woman in white" is also seen. She is rumored to have either fallen out of a window or jumped in an attempt to save her child.

Throughout the hotel other apparitions are seen including that of soldiers. Disembodied voices and whispers as well as other unexplained noises are heard. Scenes from the building's history as a hospital have played out before people's eyes.