Best Display of Wealth (2006)

The Biltmore Hotel

The architectural and sartorial tastes of wealthy Miamians sometimes make you think that maybe this socialism thing wasn't such a bad idea. Armani, BMW, Hummer. What about the Gap, VW, and Ford? But there are instances where rich people do good things. The greatest hit of George Merrick -- the Europhile developer of Coral Gables -- is the 276-room pink monster, the Biltmore. Built in 1924, the Romanesque hotel is almost shockingly grand -- it's crowned by a 315-foot replica of Seville's Cathedral Giralda Tower. The lobby is lined with Herculean pillars, and then, of course, there's the largest swimming pool you've ever seen at a hotel. In sum, if you have a jones for a moment of decadence and a taste of the late Roman Empire, try this beacon of opulence. Rooms start at $150 during the low season. But even if you can't stay here or pay for a round of golf, you can still have a drink in the Biltmore Bar or hit a bucket of balls at the driving range.


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