Nine years and $71 million later, this historic Miami Beach hotel is ready to reopen

The 1936 historically designated hotel has undergone a $600 million renovation since CEO of Lennox Hotels Diego Agnelli purchased it in 2010 for $14.7 million. The new hotel will open in July.
The 1936 historically designated hotel has undergone a $600 million renovation since CEO of Lennox Hotels Diego Agnelli purchased it in 2010 for $14.7 million. The new hotel will open in July.

When the historic Peter Miller Hotel on Collins Avenue and 19th Street reopens as the Lennox Hotel Miami Beach in July after nine years of closure, guests will find a bar where the front desk used to be.

The 1936 historically designated hotel has undergone a $71 million renovation since CEO of Lennox Hotels Diego Agnelli purchased it in 2010 for $14.7 million. The original terrazzo floor, lobby archways and facades of three of the four buildings remain, but the moss-covered walls, wooden furniture from Patagonia, and 12-foot-long outdoor pool are brand new. The new name sits just below the original name above the front door.

Miami Beach was the obvious choice for Agnelli, who is from Argentina, when he decided to open the Lennox Hotel chain’s third location in the U.S. The Buenos Aires location opened in 2010, Ushuaia in 2005. Agnelli chose the name Lennox, named after a small island fought over by Argentina and Chile, because it’s easy to pronounce in both Spanish and English.

Miami Beach’s proximity to South America, and its “vibrancy and liveliness” lured Agnelli to purchase the historic hotel made up of four buildings that take up nearly half of the city block. Agnelli tore down the one building that did not have a street-side facade, which meant it did not have to be preserved; he replaced it with a five-story tower with outdoor hallways. The new building and the three smaller ones now frame the interior pool and poolside bar.

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CEO of Lennox Hotels Diego Agnelli tore down the one building that did not have a street-side facade, and therefore did not have to be preserved, and replaced it with a five-story tower with outdoor hallways. The new building and the three smaller ones now frame the interior pool and poolside bar.

There are 119 rooms in total: 54 king bedrooms, 35 doubles, and 30 queens. Thirteen have small balconies. All have vegan bath products by William Roam’s SENSE collection.

A restaurant on the first floor will have outdoor seating looking out over 19th Street.

Agnelli and hotel manager Ziad Elchantiry thought they’d be hosting the hotel’s first guests by Summer 2018. Permit delays pushed that back to Summer 2019, which gave Elchantiry, originally from Lebanon, enough time to learn Agnelli’s native Spanish. The two have been working ‘round the clock, side by side for the past year and a half.

The Peter Miller hotel, named for its owner, was originally designed by the grandson of Miami Beach founder John Collins, Russell Pancoast, as a 62-room, three-story hotel. The U.S. Army used the property as a technical training command for the air forces during World War II. The building was used as an apartment building before Agnelli purchased it in 2010.

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The Peter Miller hotel at the intersection of Collins Avenue and 19th Street, during the 1970s. Lennox Hotel

Miami architect Kobi Karp spearheaded the renovation design. Karp also renovated the 1 Hotel South Beach, formerly the Gansevoort, which recently sold for $610 million. Historic hotel renovations constituted the majority of openings in 2015 and 2016, according to Ernst & Young. That trend has slowed a bit, but there are still several renovation openings in the pipeline, including the 1940s Raleigh Hotel and the 1930s Greystone Hotel.

The Lennox Hotel’s location between the newly renovated Miami Beach Convention Center and the beach could attract both business and leisure travelers, say the hotel’s operators.

“We’re counting on the convention center to bring us business,” Elchantiry said.

For those on the leisure side, the hotel will have golf carts to transport guests to and from the beach, where there will be complimentary beach chairs and towels.

Reservations will open up at the end of April. Elchantiry estimates rooms will start at around $299 a night.