Take an exclusive tour through the design elements of the iconic Delano Hotel

By Josie Gulliksen for Miami.com

The oversized furniture and blue door between the hedges at the entrance to the Delano Hotel are all reminiscent of the “Alice in Wonderland” fairy tale and the theme continues outside around their famous pool. That’s where you’ll find a chess set and dwarf-like trees that are perfectly clipped to keep a certain shape. But did you know there are plenty of other noteworthy furnishings between that entrance and the pool?

There are so many that the hotel has created the Ethos Tour specifically to highlight them. There are group tours for a flat rate and can be arranged through the Delano’s restaurant, Bianca Reservation Services. Here are some highlights:


No outright signage, done subliminally

There are no apparent signs telling guests where to pick up an elevator or find the gift shop. Instead, the designers decided to discreetly work that signage in artistically. Directly across from the elevators is a simple upholstered gray wall featuring a pattern of small vertical arrows with one pointing up and the other down. And in that same area are two large doors covered in gold upholstery with a small gift box pattern, indicating the entrance to the gift shop.

Philippe Starck Couch

By far one of the most recognizable pieces is the oversized couch nearest to the entrance. Philipe Starck’s vision was to create a lobby that felt like home, so he designed an oversized pastel-pink couch, which has become the most photographed piece of furniture at the Delano. In 2009, Matt Damon and Sarah Silverman famously jumped up and down during their video “I’m F*cking Matt Damon.” The giant couch is reupholstered twice a year (approximately 40 times in total).

Leda Throne gold chair by Salvador Dali

One of only three in the world, the opaque, all-gold chair is dressed like a woman. The legs end in high heels, the long flowing hair drapes to create the chairback and a limp hand works as the arm.

Victorian Pool Table 

Touted during the tour as the most used piece in the lobby is the vintage Victorian pool table. Purchased in 1995 and set in the exact same spot since the hotel’s opening, it sits in front of the Rose Bar and is the most popular piece with guests. It features intricately carved thick wooden legs and is meant to symbolize gathering and where many competitive pool games have taken place.

Moor Chairs by Fornasetti

Designed in 1954 by Piero Fornasetti, five black lacquer Moor Chairs sit around a half-moon table against the lobby wall. Their Moroccan, hand-painted and each features a woman’s face on the chair back. They are signed and number and each seat valued at $5,000. Nearby is a screen hand-painted with guitars that’s valued at 17,000 Euros.

Delano Pool  

As you descend the stairs and head toward the pool, the “Alice in Wonderland” theme resurfaces. Take note of the perfectly manicured small trees, trimmed to have a perfect round shape and stay a specific height. There’s also an oversized chessboard and pieces that adorn the patio. The whimsical theme continues with the set of table and chairs that swim in Delano’s iconic pool that are aptly named “Proviseur” meaning Principle. The set is originally from the Le Jardin St. Payl in Paris, and on any given day, you’ll find the chairs occupied by guests sipping on cocktails, models posing for fashion shoots or even the site of marriage proposals.

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