What’s new at these historic Miami Beach hotels? Enough to lure locals

Shulman & Associates gravity-defying architectural marvel, The Betsy Orb, is wedged in the alley between the hotel's two wings.

Miami Beach hotels aren’t merely hotels anymore. And this is a good thing.

Two historic spots – the Betsy South Beach and the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort – are catching our eye with all kinds of new offerings. Among them are public art, Panther Coffee, a tasty pizzeria and exclusive beach club memberships.

Here’s what’s new at these Miami Beach hotels:

The Betsy South Beach

If you haven’t been to The Betsy (1440 Ocean Dr., South Beach; 305-531-6100) lately, now’s a good time to go. At the end of 2016, the iconic Ocean Drive property expanded by annexing the historic Carlton Hotel on Collins Avenue. The result? The Betsy doubled its inventory with 130 rooms divided between a Colonial and Art Deco wing.

The hotel also activated the alley that runs between the two properties. Now you can check out The Alley, a pizzeria and gelateria that opened for Art Basel last year. The hotel’s executive chef Danny Ganem, is at the helm. He also runs the kitchen of LT Steak & Seafood (formerly BLT Steak; both by French chef Laurent Tourondel).

The Alley is a hip, casual corner serving straightforward, delicious Italian staples including sumptuous pizzas, a bright zucchini salad in lemon-garlic olive oil and a perfectly acidic snapper crudo swimming in olive oil and lemon. For dessert, in addition to homemade gelato, the tiramisu and frozen orange are not to be missed.

Pizza at The Alley is a real delight.

A metal wall crowns the restaurant, etched in poetry by Langston Hugues, Donald Justice, Campbell McGrath, Hyam Plutzik and others dubbed The Poetry Rail. Overhead, a landmark public art installation called The Betsy Orb is wedged between two buildings. Designed by Shulman + Associates architects, who also led the hotel’s expansion, the orb camouflages a catwalk connecting the hotel’s wings in a playful study of unexpected scale.

The Betsy opened a Panther Coffee on Collins Avenue inside the Carlton Room.

An outpost of Panther Coffee now anchors The Carlton’s lobby, which has been transformed into The Betsy’s Carlton Room. It functions as an events space and public lounge.

Carillon Miami Wellness Resort

The Carillon recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation.

Last year, Carillon Miami Wellness Resort (6801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-514-7000) unveiled a multi-million dollar renovation led by designer Peter Silling. The lavish 150-room, all-suite property set on 700 feet of oceanfront boasts a 70,000 square-foot spa. The extensive wellness, nutrition and fitness facilities boast more than 300 group classes per week including yoga, Pilates, bootcamp, TRX, ballet, barre and meditation.

The hotel debuted a new signature restaurant helmed by Chef Stephen Ullrich. The Strand Bar & Grill serves seasonal, ingredient-driven dishes like salmon with artichoke puree, coconut farro, arugula pesto and pickled vegetables. The dining room is breezy, with an expansive outdoor terrace overlooking the ocean.

All this can be yours with the new Carillon Spa & Beach Club membership.

For Miami locals who want a resort experience, the hotel just launched its exclusive Carillon Spa & Beach Club membership limited to 200 people. You’ll enjoy privileged access to the two-story state-of-the-art gym, four pools, beach service and thermal experiences, as well as discounts on dining, spa treatments and personalized services from the on-site Board-certified functional medicine physician Dr. Adonis Maiquez and his team of acupuncturists, nutritionists and energy healers.

With three membership tiers, prices start at $7,500 for a 12-month commitment. For more information and to join the Carillon Spa & Beach Club, click here.