As humans, we are constantly drawn to the almost magnetic pull of activity and glamour; whether it comes in the form of entertainment, sports, the culinary industry, shopping or luxurious self-care routines. The best place to find all of this in Miami is anywhere in South Beach which is lined with first-class service establishments, avant-garde art, the latest developments in architecture and design, and most importantly, direct access to a dazzling blue sea. However, outside the US, each region of the world has its own vision of a south beach paradise: in Mexico it is Playa Tortugas, for the Italian island of Sardinia it is Cala di Volpe, Cyprus has the beautiful beaches of Famagusta, and in Indonesia its inhabitants refer to it as selatan pantai– south beach. Fortunately, the innovative general manager, Alex S. Furrer and architect-designer, Jean Michel Gathy, have recreated the experience provided in the Indonesian Selatan pantai through their own interpretation of comfort, peace and splendor. This is what one can come across when visiting The Setai South Beach, named after the natural and mysterious beaches of Indonesia.
In addition to the rich and varied Asian elements incorporated into the overall design and atmosphere of the Setai, its concept is ultimately a fusion between art-deco, modern luxury and enchanting serenity. This private five-star hotel has left its mark not only in the heart of Miami but also in the international scene as a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, winner of the Forbes Travel Guide Five Star since 2014 and named Travel+Leisure World’s Best #1 Hotel Resort in Greater Miami Beach. Among its accomplishments is the particular dining service offered by Executive Chef Vijayudu Veena incorporating one of a kind cuisine from a variety of Asian countries, European grilled dishes, and American classic staples. Additionally, it also offers clients a relaxing experience at the Valmont Spa using traditional and natural Swiss medicinal products that look after the long-term wellbeing of their users. The luxury is further extended to the rest of the amenities such as the three temperature managed pools, city and ocean views, 0ceanside services and personalized event-planning services. Most impressive of all was the transformation of its architectural design based on the renovation of the building from 1936 in the Art Deco District to retain part of the original façade in combination with an Eastern touch.
The Setai has its beginnings with one of the leading hoteliers, Adrian Zecha, who is known as the co-founder of Aman resorts and as the chairman of the acclaimed hotel management company, GMH. While his idea set in motion the development of the luxury hotel, it was later transformed into the mesmerizing building we know today thanks to the work of Jean-Michel Gathy of Denniston International from Kuala Lumpur and interior designer, Jaya Pratamo Ibrahim, of Jaya & Associates in Jakarta. Together they created a hybrid building with a traditional Art Deco façade that represents one of the faces of this hotel. The other side is composed of a 40 story glass apartment block that introduces a modern and stylish aspect to the design. In total, the building houses an extensive reception area, bars, restaurants, 87 Art Deco rooms, 50 Ocean suites and one penthouse. The lobby itself was decorated to create a Zen atmosphere with the help of Spin Studio from Japan. The result is an elegant display of straight vertical forms, dark grey and black surfaces that contrast beautifully with the bronze ornaments, and unexpected flashes of color emanating from the vibrant flower displays and delicate mother of pearl tabletops.
The allure from the serene lifestyle of the Asian philosophy is also present in the spa treatment room which is lined with wooden finishes and embellished by small details such as ornamental carvings, soft textures, delicate flowers and soft lighting. This ambience is recreated in all parts of the hotel, including the restaurant and bars as well as the hotel rooms. The difference is that while the suites and rooms feature a bright and minimalistic décor, each shared space has its own character laced with a unique extravagance. The bar, for example, is a mysterious sea of dark brown and copper tones that fit perfectly with the warm light and hanging lamps. The restaurant, meanwhile, takes inspiration from the tropical vibes of the surrounding nature and makes use of the turquoise sea as the background for the minimalist wooden furnishings.
Each furniture piece conveys its individual charm and adds to the development of the design based on the Zen way of life. The dark walls lining the bar, lobby and common rooms contrast perfectly with the lustrous earthy tones of the spacious sophas and lounge chairs. This synthesis is highlighted further with the inclusion of elegant patterned rugs that bring out a unique character to the interiors. The overall composition is completed with the careful positioning of geometrical statues and decorations resembling natural rock formations or remnants of the first artistic representations on Earth.
This is how The Setai South Beach combines modern architecture and contemporary design with the roots of our organic past and the serene ambience of Indonesia’s serene beaches.