When driving along Bayshore Drive into Coconut Grove, there was no mistaking the Grand Bay Hotel. Resembling a Mayan pyramid with stepping stairs and bougainvillea's hanging from the balconies, every hotel room had a view of Biscayne Bay. The outside of the hotel had a large red sculpture by Alexander Liberman called "Windward."
Built in 1982, the hotel was designed by Nichols & Associates and developed by Sherwood "Woody" Weiser. The Grand Bay Hotel was the place to see and be seen for many years. It was the only hotel South of Palm Beach to receive a Mobil five star rating, which it received in 1987. The hotel represented everything that was glamorous and luxurious in Miami in the 1980's. Michael Jackson stayed at the hotel in 1984 before his Orange Bowl concert and occupied the top two floors. Celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Prince and Sophia Loren have all stayed at the hotel.
The Grand Cafe restaurant was located on the second floor, while the world famous Regine's Nightclub occupied the penthouse level where there were sweeping views of Biscayne Bay. Regine's had a separate elevator from the rest of the hotel to enter the nightclub. Supposedly, the nightclub was decorated in an 1930's Art Deco flair with mirrored ceilings.
However, over time the hotel began to lose its luster after changing the name to Wyndham Grand Bay in 1999, which caused it to drop to a four star rating. It then fell to three stars in 2001 when more luxurious hotels started to open on South Beach.
The developers Merco Group bought the hotel for $25 million in 2005 with plans to spend about $20 million in renovations and restore it to the status it once had in the 1980's. They closed the doors in April 2008 and had completed about six months of work before the recession hit. The Merco Group had a foreclosure suit filed against them and in March 2011 the bank took the property.
Since that time, mold had taken over the place with the hotel being trashed and covered with graffiti. Supposedly homeless people where living in the lobby and starting fires to keep warm.
The Terra Group bought the hotel for $24 million and are currently building the Grove at Grand Bay at the site of the old Grand Bay Hotel. They are building two residential twenty story twisting towers.
Demolition of the Grand Bay Hotel started in December 2012.
Before & After Photos