It came as a surprise in April of last year when news broke that The Thompson hotel was sold to Hyatt Hotels Corporation just barely a year after it debuted in Miami Beach. The trendy, design-forward brand, with locations in New York and Chicago, was one of the most highly anticipated hotel openings during Art Basel in December 2014, playing host to splashy, celeb-attended soirees.
There was Seagrape by Michelle Bernstein, The Crown Room cocktail lounge, 1930s House for tapas and cocktails and the expansive oceanfront poolscape lined with kitschy cabanas in pops of pleasing pastels.
The Thompson played host to Pitbull’s New Year’s Eve party broadcast on Fox and it was starting to gain momentum as a popular locals spot hosting the monthly roving Peachfuzz hip-hop party and opening Talde restaurant with late night noodles and brunch parties.
Then the sale happened—and the future of the hotel’s vibe was uncertain. Under Hyatt, the hotel was renamed The Confidante (4041 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-424-1234), as part of their Unbound Collection of independent upscale and boutique properties.
The historic property already underwent an $82 million transformation when it opened as The Thompson and the hotel changed flags rather quietly with little substantial changes to its programming at first.
Today, the metamorphosis into The Confidante is complete with new food and beverage concepts and wellness programming.
First Michelle Bernstein and then Seagrape made their exits from the building as the hotel’s main restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s been replaced by Richard Hales’ Bird & Bone. The chef behind midtown’s Sakaya Kitchen and Blackbird Chinese presents a Southern comfort concept with an emphasis on sourcing ingredients from small farms and organic butchers with stand-out dishes like hot chicken and waffle, shrimp and heirloom grits and bone-in angus ribeye.
Hales also helms the kitchen for The Backyard pool bar with items like Nashville hot chicken tacos, steak tacos, fish tacos and a variety of salads and small bites.
1930s House (which is literally a home from the 1930s plunked onto the property’s backyard) is now going by the name Nina’s House. It’s currently open Thursday through Saturday evenings as a relaxed venue with eclectic decor, a ping-pong table and a menu of craft cocktails and tacos. On a recent Saturday night, it was pretty quiet, but we think it has massive potential to draw a crowd with the right programming.
The Confidante also enlisted Chris and Tracie Vlaun of V Art of Wellness to design a schedule of daily outdoor fitness classes held either on their 10th floor rooftop deck or at the beach including beach cross bootcamp and beach bliss yoga. The Vlaun’s programming compliments the hotel’s 24-hour gym.
What Remains the Same
Part of The Thompson’s charm was its kitschy-cool and colorful interpretation on mid-century Miami design. From the cascading chandelier and breeze blocks in the lobby to the rooms’ antique bar carts and provocative pop art, the alluring design remains intact making The Confidante a picture-perfect retreat.
While we weren’t initially wowed by the hotel’s al fresco rooftop spa in Miami’s blazing heat, it’s been spruced up to include air-conditioned cabanas for more comfort and luxury. A Warren-Tricomi full-service salon compliments the facilities.
Finally, Top Chef star Dale Talde’s popular eponymous pan-Asian eatery is still slinging crave-worthy bowls of noodles, dumplings and kung pao chicken wings at dinnertime and into the wee hours inside a chic, industrial dining room.