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Miami Beach Fontainebleau and Tiki

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When Miami Beach shared the live entertainment spotlight with Las Vegas from the late 1950's through the late 1960's, the Fontainebleau Hotel was the focal point. During that time, the hotel actually had a lounge done in the minimalist Poly Pop style...

Here's what the Miami New Times says about those days:

"The Fontainebleau was ten years old in 1964, when the James Bond film Goldfinger opened with a glorious view of the high-rise curving toward the sea and its guests drinking martinis by the huge swimming pool and its waterfall. That was when the Fontainebleau was a celebrity hotel that attracted the stars of the day: Steve Allen hosted the Tonight Show there, and its La Ronde Room booked the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., and even Elvis Presley. Other movie scenes have since been set at Morris Lapidus's sublime temple of whimsy, loved and loathed by critics for its colorful and hyper-glamorous design and furnishings."

More facts about the Fontainebleau's storied past:

The nightclub "La Ronde" played host to performers like Sammy Davis, Jr., Jack Benny, Patti Page, Tony Bennett, and Ann Miller.

Jerry Lewis's The Bellboy, Sinatra's Tony Roma, and Sean Connery's Goldfinger were filmed at least in part at the Fontainebleau.

In 1960, when Elvis Presley was discharged from the army, Sinatra and his Rat Pack threw a party for the King at La Ronde. The event, memorialized on film, was a high-spirited affair in which Sinatra sang the Presley hit "Love Me Tender" and Presley (in uniform) did Sinatra's "Witchcraft" to the accompaniment of female screams.


Great picture! When I was in Miami Beach last winter I bought the autobiography of Morris Lapidus. Fascinating reading and some amazing pictures of his early store designs and later his larger buildings, many of which were in Miami Beach. The outsides of the Fountainbleau and Eden Rock hotels are still pretty much the same but the insides have been drastically altered. They even put walls inside the grand lobby of the Fountainbleu to create a separate area. Morris Lapidus was often criticized in his day for such bold designs, so it is good to see him getting some recognition at last. He died at 98 years old in January 2001. Here's a good article on the man:

I love the movie "The Bellboy" with Jerry Lewis that is almost entirely set in the Fountainbleu. Another of my favorite Miami movies is "A Hole in the Head" starring Frank Sinatra (1959). The beginning scene that shows late 50s Miami Beach from the air is priceless! Plus the co-star is Carolyn Jones, who is one of the swinginest beatnik-type chicks of the 50s and later played Morticia on the Adam's Family.

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