Crystal Cruises announced today, April 7, that the major luxury travel conglomerate made plans to turn the historic 1930s Art Deco Shrine Building in downtown Miami into a show stopping headquarters for its luxury portfolio. The building, which is located on Biscayne Boulevard, will become the first land-based member of the Crystal portfolio for the expanding Los Angeles, California-based company. Crystal has been making waves for more than a year after being acquired by Genting Hong Kong with plans to add travel option such as yacht and river cruises, a jet plane and even ocean-going residences. The Shrine, which is being overseen by the South Beach architectural firm of Richard Heisenbottle, will be opened to the public. “The new Crystal showcase building will personify the grand scale of Crystal’s future as it offers the opportunity for travelers to preview the ‘World’s Best’ before they even step foot onto a ship, yacht, plane or residence,” says Crystal president and CEO, Edie Rodriguez. “Not only will visitors be able to see the elegance and luxury of a Crystal vacation but they’ll also experience the personal attention to detail and unmatched service that sets us apart from all the others.”
“The design of this building is particularly noteworthy because its ornamentation, use of coral rock, veneer and inclusion of sculpted Seminole Indians are architectural characteristics specific to South Florida,” says Heisenbottle. “We will preserve the original quality and character of the building and add new features that mirror Crystal’s ultimate luxury brand experience.”
Shrine Building was constructed in the then popular Art Deco architectural style of the 1930’s. Once dubbed the “Fifth Avenue of the South”, it was part of a striking ensemble of modern retail buildings that lined the newly created Biscayne Boulevard and defined it as a high end shopping district. What will become the Crystal showcase building stands adjacent to Crystal’s Miami branch office, which opened in June 2015 to serve the growing demand for the company’s expanding portfolio. The building will be re-imagined to echo experiences of Crystal Cruises. It will feature high ceilings and rich architectural finishes and showrooms the residences planned for the “Exclusive Class” ships. There will be an espresso served at a ground floor Bistro Lounge (akin to the favored Bistro Café found aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity), or take their vacation daydreaming to new heights while exploring the Crystal AirCruises exhibit. Consultants will be on hand to provide information and answer questions about the Residences and other Crystal vacations. They are also opening an elegant specialty restaurant, which will offer cuisine similar to that served on Crystal’s Serenity and Symphony.
More design details include a 180-degree cinematic experience of all things Crystal, grand-scale murals and living walls highlighting the global experiences and destinations offered with Crystal, and two large balconies that outfitted to reflect a ship’s private veranda. Other signature touches will include a submarine suspended from the vast second floor ceiling that illustrates the adventures offered with Crystal’s yacht, Crystal Esprit, and the upcoming expedition megayacht, Crystal Endeavor, and a waterfall cascading around the outdoor dining courtyard to create the atmosphere at sea.
The extravagant showcase building is slated to open in spring of 2017.