Art Deco Walking Tour

Photo by Ollie Neglerio

Photo by Ollie Neglerio

Last Sunday, I took a guided tour of the Art Deco hotels along Ocean Drive which was led by a volunteer from the Miami Design Preservation League.

Here are some of interesting facts I learned:


  • A number of the hotel structures very much resemble Ocean Liners since they were designed to look like boats that were docked in the Port of Miami in the early 30’s. These Art Deco era hotels have rounded port windows, sleek railings and curves along the building sides.
  • Known as “eyebrows”  many of the building had sun shades above the windows to block the sun from streaming in since the hotels were built before air conditioning. The Marlin shown above has these rounded eyebrows.
  • Most of the hotels were white with a minimum of color. The idea to colorize the hotels came from Leonard Horowitz, the founder of the Miami Design Preservation League in the 1980’s. The Park Central is a good example of this updated colorized look. It was built in 1937 and renovated in 1987.Park Central hotel
  • When you look at these hotels straight on it, you see that many of them have a three-part vertical symmetry to them. Again another widely adopted Art Deco design approach.

If you’d like to take your own tour, here’s the link to a walking tour guide published by National Geographic.


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