Everything at the iconic Delano must go: How to own a piece of Miami Beach history

·4 min read

Spoiler alert: The Delano South Beach as you remember it is now long gone.

Once the painfully hip go-to destination for locals as well as out-of-towners, the beachfront, 191-room property is undergoing a liquidation sale as new owners prepare to take over.

In November 2020, the 75 year old boutique hotel was bought for an undisclosed amount by Connecticut-based Eldridge from hospitality giant SBE Entertainment Group. Cain International, Eldridge’s real estate investment firm, has been appointed to “lead a strategic repositioning” of the hotel.

Miami Beach, Florida, January 27, 2022 - Small refrigerators and chandelier covers as well as many other items are for sale at the liquidation sale going on at the iconic Delano hotel.
Miami Beach, Florida, January 27, 2022 - Small refrigerators and chandelier covers as well as many other items are for sale at the liquidation sale going on at the iconic Delano hotel.

At the time of the sale, the Delano – known for its hip, clean lined, understated decor thanks to a 1995 makeover by Ian Schrager and Philippe Starck – had been shuttered for months since COVID-19 first hit the U.S.

By the back entrance to immense pool area is a sign dated March 20, 2020, right around the time the whole world stopped: “The safety and well-being of our staff and guests is our top priority,” it says. “We very much apologize for these developments and hope to welcome you back to the property soon.”

Now someone else is running the show, temporarily, to clean out the place and make way for new ownership: Dayton, Ohio based International Content Liquidations is holding a public sale until literally everything is gone. Costing $5 admission, the event started last weekend so a lot of amazing things have been snapped up, but ICL spokeswoman Nicole Kabealo says they will stay until the bitter end.

A toilet on display during the liquidation sale going on at the iconic Delano hotel. They are selling everything from the white couches to the sushi tables.
A toilet on display during the liquidation sale going on at the iconic Delano hotel. They are selling everything from the white couches to the sushi tables.

“There’s lot of stuff still here,” she said. “Everyone who walks in walks out with something.”

The Starck-designed lobby is still majestic, with its soaring ceilings and signature white on white decor. But “For Sale” stickers are slapped on literally everything from lamps and couches and nightstands to computer equipment and fancy martini glasses at the iconic, wood paneled Rose Bar.

Prices are not bad, even with our current raging inflation; they run from $1 for an en-suite plastic ice bucket to $20 for a toilet up to $4,500 for the central marble sushi table, once a popular gathering spot. Homeowners with an eye for interior design could easily re-create the Delano glitz in their living rooms with a few purchases.

Victoria Moore folds one of the curtains she just purchased at the liquidation sale going on at the iconic Delano hotel.
Victoria Moore folds one of the curtains she just purchased at the liquidation sale going on at the iconic Delano hotel.

Yes, you may be able to snatch up an awesome piece or two, but seeing the once glorious Delano in such a vulnerable condition may cause you to feel as if someone is slicing onions in your vicinity.

On a Thursday morning visit, a few of the dramatic floor to ceiling curtains were being packed away in boxes as workers trucked packed carts and dollies over the formerly gleaming tile floors.

In the so-called orchard, the site of many a fashion show, selfie session or expensive fruity cocktail, the famed chess set was gone. In its place, a dirt patch that resembles a newly dug grave.

Luckily, the Starck-designed sculpture is staying in the family. Local publicists Tara Solomon and Nick D’Annunzio snapped it up for a bargain $350. On an Instagram post, D’Annunzio posted a pic, calling it a “true piece of Miami Beach history.”

“The Delano holds many special memories for me, from opening night to my first New Year’s Eve with Nick,” said Solomon, of [nightlife queen] Susanne Bartsch’s legendary bash to ring in the year 2000. The couple plans to install the set in their Palm Springs vacation home.

The longer the sale goes on, the more chances you have to haggle, says ICL’s Kabealo, who adds that the hotel’s priceless collection of furniture and objects by Gaudí, Man Ray, Dalí, and Charles and Ray Eames are not included in the liquidation.

Outdoor furniture is for sale at the liquidation sale going on at the iconic Delano hotel.
Outdoor furniture is for sale at the liquidation sale going on at the iconic Delano hotel.

For an extra bit of nostalgia (or morbid curiosity), browse in the kitchen in the back of the lobby. On Thursday it resembled The Overlook Hotel more than a South Beach jewel, with china, plates, pots and tableware strewn everywhere. If you close your eyes, you can almost imagine the chaotic buzz that must have gone on among chefs, servers and cooks back in the Delano’s heyday.

For die-hard, old school SoBe fans, this is your last chance to experience this once flashy ‘90s era pioneer which helped transform the area formerly referred to as “God’s Waiting Room.”

“People seem nostalgic and fond of it, with great memories. They’ll point to an area and say, ‘Oh, this is where I had a drink once,’” said ICL’s Kabealo. “I hear it was very elegant back in the day.”

A spokesperson for Cain International told the Miami Herald that folks need not worry about too many radical changes because the company “deeply respects the rich history and importance” of the Delano.

“While plans for its restoration are being developed,” said the statement, “we are committed to restoring the property to its original grandeur and reestablishing it as one of the country’s most desirable hotel destinations.”

DELANO LIQUIDATION

Where: The Delano. 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach.

Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays 12 p.m.- 5 p.m.

Admission: $5. All credit cards and cash accepted.

More info: www.iclsales.com, 561-525-3075.

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