Al Capone’s business card reportedly described him as a used furniture dealer. A lucrative business no doubt.
Far be it from me to shy away from any opportunity to explore something related to the loveliness of old school organized crime. So, as I enjoyed a private tour through Mr. Capone’s suite at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables today, after some sweet talking to the Cubano at the Concierge’s desk, it became evident that being a used furniture dealer clearly had its perks back in the day. I began to wonder if maybe I was in the wrong business.
The Capone Suite, formally referred to as the Everglades Suite, smells of rich leather. The hand-painted ceilings are stunning. There was something about the smoothness of the arches overhead that were comforting. I think they reminded me of the arches in the house where my Dad grew up.
Although many people have spent time here over the years as guests in the suite, I’d be lying if I said a certain vibe didn’t emit from the walls. I imagine they hold many secrets. I would have killed to have been a fly on the wall (or a guest of Al’s) when he kicked it here. I am certain we would have gotten along very well, as he was also very passionate about life.
The Biltmore, which opened its doors in 1926, is understandably only one of two operating hotels in Florida to receive the coveted National Landmark designation. The Spanish-style estate has a certain undeniable charm from it’s intricately-eteched wood details in the lobby, to a cascading waterfall over the bar. The winding pool lures you outside with just a glimpse. Tempting cabanas are clearly designed for private luxury.
It is romantic. It is a treat for the eyes. It triggers images of black and white photographs, as though once you step inside you are reverted back to the 1920s. There is a lingering essence of old books in the lobby…that’s what I thought at least. I just love old books.
It is not to be missed…and quite frankly anywhere that serves their mojitos with a slice of pure sugarcane as the stirrer, has forever earned a place in my heart. I fell head over heels in love today…and I’m thrilled that Al Capone could be a part of that!