Four Seasons has opened its fourth hotel in Florida, a revamp of The Surf Club, a historic property that originally opened in 1930.
When tire tycoon Harvey Firestone first had the idea of a new type of social club, on board his yacht the Marybelle, he could never have imagined how enduring the appeal would be of what he would soon create.
Archive photos show poolside fashion shows directed by Elizabeth Arden, Shah Mohamed Reza of Iran on the tennis court, his wife on water skis and Winston Churchill painting in his cabana. There was booze on the beach during prohibition, kayaks in the swimming pool, black tie boxing dinners and lavish themed galas, one time with elephants, another with 300 tables made of ice. The names that rolled up were pioneers of the good life: Noel Coward, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Elizabeth Taylor, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Frank Sinatra, Tennessee Williams, Joan Crawford, Liberace.
Firestone’s mission was to embrace the possibilities of a new era and provide a new crowd that was emerging with a new type of offer that supported who they were, how they lived and how they behaved. It was a social club with sophistication in its bones, matched by a singular understanding of who its members were and what brought them together. It respected privacy but allowed freedom.
The Surf Club Today
The new Surf Club is an extended embodiment of its original values at a greater scale. Located in Surfside, Florida, the completely re-envisioned hotel features 77 guest rooms, residences, Le Sirenuse Restaurant and Champagne Bar, three pools, a pristine beach, and Spa and Wellness Center.
Some of today’s greatest creative minds were commissioned to write the next chapter of The Surf Club’s story. Pritzker-prize winning architect Richard Meier has designed three buildings that frame and flank the original clubhouse. They are an exercise in discrete classical modernism, simultaneously reflecting and disappearing into the changing sky, the beach and the sea.
Parisian interior architect Joseph Dirand has been tasked with designing the interiors of the public areas and bedrooms of the Hotel, together with the cabanas. Renowned for his ability to bring atmosphere, rich narrative and quiet drama to life through space, materials, furniture and details, Dirand has created a series of rooms that evoke a sense of the past with a feeling of the present and a hint of the future. Five Cabana Studios are Dirand’s homage to The Surf Club’s unique cabana culture, situated on the original Cabana Row.
Le Sirenuse will open its first restaurant and champagne bar away from its famed Positano home on Italy’s Southern coast. The restaurant presents a menu that includes both classic dishes from the Positano resort’s Michelin-starred restaurant made with ingredients flown direct from Italy, as well as new dishes debuting at this location.
The Spa features eight treatment rooms and two spa cabanas as well as steam, sauna and showers, as well as the mixed traditional hammam, while a tea lounge and relaxation room with private alcoves overlook the ocean and gardens.
Also within The Surf Club’s historic building, artist Michele Oka Doner has created a large, site-specific installation that tells the story of The Surf Club’s legacy inspired by a wealth of source material from its past.
Outside, pool experiences include quiet and family options; and a future cabana pool to accompany 40 day-use cabanas featuring fully-air conditioned indoor furnished spaces with full bathrooms. On the pristine beach, guests can take part in an array of non-motorized water sports. Younger guests are also welcomed at the fully-supervised Kids for All Seasons studio.
The resort is now open for guests.