L. Murray Dixon was part of a circle of architects who sought to create a district on Miami Beach that would set a fashionable tone for this burgeoning resort area to follow. Dixon helped to sculpt Ocean Drive into 23 marvelous blocks of Art Deco design, turning the strip into an exotic mecca for the rich and famous. The Art Deco architects designed hotels and apartment buildings with symmetry, elegance, and complementary style rather than making them garish, egocentric structures intended to stand apart from their surroundings. After working at New York's Schultze & Weaver architectural firm, which built the Coral Gables Biltmore Hotel and the Freedom Tower in the 1920s, Dixon was ready to strike out on his own and set about the task of making his vision come to life.
Dixon built the Raleigh, the Tides, the Tiffany, the McAlpin, and the Marlin, as well as several Art Deco treasures lost in the era before Miami Beach recognized the significance of historic preservation -- the Senator Hotel, the original Roney Plaza, and the Atlantis Hotel, artistic buildings demolished to make way for parking garages and generic commercial properties. In 1937, Dixon built the Hotel Victor, which today stands as the nearest neighbor of the Casa Casuarina, the Versace mansion. This once-luxurious hotel was run down and ragged, pimped out as eye candy for Miami Vice episodes and lamented by Art Deco admirers. By 1984, the windows were boarded up and the Victor was abandoned. Now the Hyatt Hotel Chain has restored Lawrence Dixon's architectural treasure to its original luster, adding the modern amenities necessary for this 91-room hotel to compete with its flashier rivals along the strip. Art Deco fans rejoice, the Hotel Victor is back, and as beautiful as ever.