Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On June - 12 - 2009

Underwater Wonderment

rande-gerber-with-cindy-crawford-at-w-hotel-forth-lauderdale-grand-openingWe knew to expect some special surprises when we received our invitation to the grand opening of the W Hotel, Fort Lauderdale.  Inside the foot-long, shimmering, purple, alligator-skinned envelope was a dark blue cardboard alligator.  Baffled, we stared at the thing for a few seconds before it occurred to us to look at the bottom of the cut out.  The instructions simply stated:  “Hold under warm water.” Hmmmmm, O.K.  Once under water, the alligator turned white, revealing the details of the grand opening extravaganza, leading us to think that this event just might warrant a trip across the Dade/Broward county line. Sure enough, the folks behind the W Hotel Fort Lauderdale, designed to resemble a sailboat (ergo the theme),  The DYL Development Group, interior designer, Clodagh Design, Whiskey Blue’s famed nightlife entrepreneurs Rande and Scott Gerber, 954 Steak’s Stephen Starr, CEO, John Yanopoulos and Eva Ziegler, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide, did not disappoint. Upon arrival at the party on Thursday night, VIPs walked on a purple carpet, sprinkled with glitter. The whimsy continued inside as beautiful girls resembling mermaids in long blue-green chiffon dresses entertained guests who were overwhelmed by the expansive hotel.  After exploring the Living Room level as the sun set, partygoers ascended the main staircase up to Wet, the rooftop pool lounge, via a clear glass staircase which was actually built in the middle of the pool, in which beautiful, models in colorful swimsuits designed by local swimwear designer AMAYA, danced underwater with the help of SCUBA gear throughout the entire party. Talk about getting pruny in places you didn’t even know you had!  Once upstairs, Ziegler addressed the crowd, explaining that the opening of the W Fort Lauderdale is the 30th W Hotel to open worldwide.  This is quite the accomplishment for a company that has only been around for ten years.  Afterwards, the party escalated as bonfires were lit and dance music played throughout the evening.  The alligator, which we previously mentioned made subtle appearances in a sand sculpture and in the signature white chocolate favors.  “Why?” You ask.  It turns out the albino alligator is a mascot of the hotel, which features a stuffed albino alligator in each room. 

Celebrity guests at the W opening included Gossip Girl‘s Blake Lively and beau, Penn Badgley, who spent the evening with the “Damsome,” short for “damn handsome,” (you heard it here first) Rande Gerber and his wife, supermodel, Cindy Crawford; Kin Shriner, who plays Scotty Baldwin on General Hospital, and, as expected, two members of the Kardashian clan: Khloe and Kourtney.  Other notable attendees of the W grand opening included Rene Ruiz, Gigi Ganatra, Ina Lee, Rita and Rick Case, William Palmer, Mario Iglesias, Carlos Becil, Dave Marr, Scott Brooks, Michael Yormark, Angel Medina, Steven Perricone, Patsy Mennuti, Elizabeth Wentworth, Mark and Robin Levinson, and Nikki Grossman.  On Sunday, the W Pool Party attracted many a gorgeous sun worshipper.  Presented by 944 Magazine and sponsored by Grey Goose, Red Bull and Bacardi, the event showcased the sexy styles of Betty Bangs swimwear with a rock n’ roll inspired fashion show.  DJ Marc Vane kept the party going throughout the afternoon.  

Billion Dollar Bucket

The W’s “underwater wonderment” seems like foreshadowing for what’s become known as “The Storm of 2009” which hit South Beach on Friday, flooding, well, just about everything, and turning the streets into a Venice of sorts, minus the historic bridges, buildings, plazas, cafes, places to walk, sit, stand, park, eat or drive and wrecking over 200 cars which could be seen stalled out all over the place.  For those of us who couldn’t build an ark in time, seeking refuge in a fancy storm shelter such as the Fontainebleau seemed like a pretty good idea.  That is until we checked into the hotel to find that it was raining inside, yes, inside the lobby- kind of like an unplanned indoor waterfall, the result of the caved-in roof right above the steps that lead up towards LIV and down towards Blade.  Makes us think they really should have paid those angry contractors.  Hotel employees curtained off the entire lobby which was completely flooded and scurried to escort guests to and from their shelters, (we mean) rooms and explain that all restaurants, clubs and shops were closed due to flooding.  To their credit, the Fontainebleau staff worked diligently around the clock to accommodate their guests and clean up the mess.  They even hosted a complimentary gourmet buffet dinner in a ballroom on Friday night, complete with open bar and live entertainment- we felt like Captain Stubing would be inviting us up to the Lido Deck at any moment.  By Saturday evening, there was nary a trace of any storm disaster, with the exception of the 10X10 hole in the ceiling.  It was business as usual, and the restaurants and nightclubs took extra special care of their guests.  LIV hosted a couple of cool birthday parties, which were attended by locals and celebs that refused to let a little rain dampen, their spirits. 

Coming Up

This Friday night, uber promoters, Erica Freshman and Jose Ortiz are kicking off Club 50 at the Viceroy, a weekly party hosted by Miami’s most famous (and infamous) social butterflies, movers and shakers. Club 50, named after the lounge itself, will feature live performances by Brandon O’ Hara and the Big Bounce with Troy Kurtz and Ruen on the turn tables, we mean laptops. The rooftop pool and lounge, 50 flights in the sky, provides breath-taking cityscapes as a backdrop for shaking it all night long under the stars. For RSVP and table reservations contact 305.503.4400 ext 7138.   

On Tuesday, June 16th, Ivette Arango, Carolina Argiz, Celia De Sola, Kristin Pearce, and Jennifer Sazant will host the kick-off party for Sagamore’s Girls Night Out Getaway Package (more information below) while celebrating the release of Tatiana Boncompagni’s critically acclaimed new book, Hedge Fund Wives. The socialite-turned-author will be on- hand to sign copies of her book during the event and designer Red Carter will preview his 2010 summer collection, which he will officially debut during Mercedes Benz Swim Week on July 15. For more information on Tuesday’s event, please contact:  305 534 0081 ext 14.

Summer Steal

The Sagamore’s Girls Night Out Getaway Package is based on a minimum of four women booking together two or more nights and includes hotel accommodations, a manicure from the Rik Rak Beauty Bungalow, a bottle of Martini and Rossi Sparkling Rose wine upon check in, a book from the Sagamore Girls Night Getaway library, VIP entrance and a complimentary cocktail at Aero Bar, a round of Bloody Marys or Bellinis poolside and breakfast daily.  All this girl fun can be had for $69 per person per night during the week and $99 per person per night during the weekend.  The promotion goes from June 1, 2009 through October 15, 2009, but must be booked by June 30th.


Happy Birthday, Fellow Geminis


Happy birthday to those who put the “gem” in Gemini:  Destiny Spang, Buster Cox, Nicolas Coeur De Roy, Stacey Rene Benedetti, Gerry Kelly, Gigi Ganatra, Janet Jorgulesco, and Jerry Powers.


Celebrity Sightings:

Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian– have been spotted just about everywhere.  Most recently, the girls famous for being famous, were at the Setai promoting clothing lines from their boutique, DASH, (as in Kar-DASH-ian– clever!). On Tuesday, they partied with an entourage, while filming their reality show at Florida Room, over the weekend, Khloe was spotted with Grammy nominee Omarian, (who also attended at B.E.D.’s “Secret Society Monday” party) and on Thursday, the Kardashian sisters were all over the W Hotel’s grand opening. Seriously, who can “keep up?”  Dwyane Wade was at the Delano on Tuesday, talking to some lovely ladies and sporting a customized Polo shirt with his basketball number, 3, embroidered on the sleeve. Sexy actress, Vivica Fox visited the Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek last week to promote her new reality hit, The Cougar. Wilmer Valderrama attended the Aston Martin preview of the new DBS Volante at the Moore Building, alongside Global Director of Design at Aston Martin, Marek Reichman, who spoke about the open-top luxury sports car and demonstrated the limited-edition Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX2 Transponder watch, which opens and closes the car-very James Bond, indeed.  Other notable guests included Julian Jenkins, Vice President of Aston Martin North America and accessories designer, Lisa Pliner. Valderrama also partied at LIV all weekend. On Saturday, he celebrated Frankie Delgado’s birthday and on Sunday, he was spotted there again, along with Lil Scrappy, Mario, and Kevin Hart. Chris Brown hung by the Blade pool at Fontainebleau all afternoon on Saturday, and posed with hotel guests.  Al Rojo Vivo host and guest co-host of the Today Show, María Celeste Arrarás, celebrated her new book, Make Your Life Prime Time, at the Eden Roc Hotel on Wednesday, June 10.th