It’s time for a good old fashioned pat on the shoulder. (A gentle one please - we’re aging.) This year, the Raleigh turns 70. In 1940, when The Raleigh hotel was contracted to be built, Frank Delano Roosevelt was fireside chatting, Winston Churchill was delivering some of modern history’s best speeches and John Lennon was being born. It was a pre-war boom time in Miami Beach, a period in which nearly 3,000 hotel rooms were built in two years (41 hotels in total). Americans were discovering, as they continue to discover today, that the pleasures of the islands could be had with less money and less travel in Miami Beach.
When L. Murray Dixon, noted architect of the era and creator of many of Miami’s trophy buildings, set forth to design this hotel, he most likely didn’t realize that his imprint on the Miami Beach landscape would be deeper felt by this project than any of his others. And yet, The Raleigh has endured unlike nearly any other hotel from the era. It remains a favorite amongst locals, amongst celebrities looking for anonymity and amongst guests with an appreciation for impeccable design and the sort of friendly hospitality that makes them feel as if they’re home.
And while we’d like to think that things have evolved greatly from the ‘40s, we’ll let you be the judge of that. One thing we can promise you: while decades have come and gone, while trends have ebbed and flowed, and even as The Raleigh has seen a few facelifts (this is South Beach, after all), The Raleigh’s commitment to uphold an unprecedented level of hospitality and to provide its guests with the unspoiled charms of Miami Beach remain unchanged.
- * The hotel was contracted for $250,000 in 1940 by the Shore Corp.
- * After construction, the war administration took over and housed many troops at The Raleigh.
- * 41 Hotels (2789 rooms) were built between 1940 and 1942, a period called “Boom over Miami.”
- * L. Murray Dixon, its architect, also created The Grossinger (The Ritz Plaza), The Atlantis, The Tides and The Victor.
- * The Raleigh was situated in what was called “North Beach” at the time.
- * The Oasis was originally called “The Aqua Cabana Club.”
- * The Raleigh was a kosher Hotel and the ball room was a synagogue after the war.
- * Amenities at The Raleigh included dance classes and a card room.