The Immensity of InterContinental

The InterContinental remains among the most elegant places to stay in Miami

Now 40 years old, InterContinental Miami remains among the most elegant places to stay for a visit to Downtown Miami or its Brickell financial district

By Kylie Wang

In 1981, sculpture artist Sir Henry Moore created “The Spindle,” an 18-foot, 70-ton sculpture carved out of travertine marble reminiscent of a rock formation you might find in the Grand Canyon. At the same time, Theodore Gould, a developer from Washington D.C., was working to create the hotel now known as InterContinental Miami. Gould loved “The Spindle” and decided to make it the centerpiece of the hotel.

Transferring the piece to the construction site was no small undertaking. In the end, “The Spindle” was dropped in via helicopter onto the ground floor, and then the lobby was built around it. To this day, it is the only lobby in the world to have been built around a work of art. This is the kind of immensity InterContinental Miami still reflects in 2022. At 34 floors, it’s far from the tallest building along Miami’s skyline, but its imposing, thickset structure marked by hundreds of long horizontal windows is hard to miss, almost brutally juxtaposed by the daintier glass-walled skyscrapers that today surround it. This is especially true at night, when a 200-foot “Dancing Lady” silhouette is projected onto the side of the tower. 

The InterCon boasts 653 rooms, including 22 suites and 130,000-square-feet of meeting and exhibition space with 35 meeting rooms and four ballrooms fit for large conferences. The views along the eastern wall are unmatched, with each long window offering guests a vista of the MacArthur Causeway leading to Miami Beach, including Watson Island and PortMiami. On the western side, there’s a slightly tamer view of Downtown Miami.

For those who stay on the 29th floor or above, Club InterContinental is available. There’s a complimentary breakfast (7 to 11am) and happy hour (5 to 7 pm) with all the usual suspects, although the “bar” for happy hour is a DIY situation, with liquors and mixers along with bottled beers. For something more formal, Olé is the lobby breakfast spot, with a buffet and an a la carte menu; there’s also a Starbucks on premises.

InterContinental Miami’s premiere lunch and dinner restaurant, Toro Toro (reservations recommended), is led by Chef Richard Sandoval and features a pan-Latin cuisine, heavy on Peruvian with ceviches and tiradito, although the real highlight is their steaks. The traditional Peruvian lomo saltado ($54) is the best choice for a specialty entrée, beef filet over a bed of jasmine rice with heirloom tomatoes and sweet and sour sauce. For a more Argentine slice of vaca, the 14-ounce skirt steak ($60) is aesthetically gorgeous and intensely flavorful, wrapped into a cone and drizzled with chimichurri sauce. The el habano dessert is a banana cake that comes wrapped in chocolate like a Cuban cigar.

The InterCon gym is fairly standard, with spin bikes, treadmills, a few weightlifting machines, and free weights, but for an on-the-go workout it’ll do the job. On the same floor is their outdoor pool, with a long glassed-in sushi restaurant open Fridays and Saturdays with superb views of the bay, and Bluewater, an adjacent tiki hut that serves cocktails, beers, and bar bites.

Also on the same level is mySpa, an elegant enclave with a ridiculously long list of treatments from trained estheticians, including massages, body wraps, facials, and nail and hair services. With club level, there’s complimentary access to the steam room and sauna. And if you’re looking for a moment of Zen, there are yoga classes on the sprawling rooftop Sky Lawn.

Perhaps the top perk, though, is InterContinental Miami’s location. It’s close enough to Miami Beach to avoid the worst traffic going there, and close to tourist attractions (go see a Miami Heat game at FTX Arena, ride the bayfront Ferris wheel, or visit the open-air mall, Bayside Marketplace). Best of all, it’s walkable to both Downtown Miami and the Brickell financial district – and across the street from the MetroMover, Miami’s aboveground public transport, if you want to spare your feet.

Intercontinental Miami
100 Chopin Plaza
(305) 577-1000

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