Every Room Is Unique At This Wildly Stylish Miami Beach Hotel

The Pelican Hotel gets a retro-inspired refresh from Diesel Living creative director Andrea Rosso.

(Pelican Hotel/Go Bananas)

Miami’s Ocean Drive is littered with historic Art Deco hotels, but only one features guest rooms whimsically decorated with vintage furnishings curated by an Italian denim scion. 

The 32-room Pelican Hotel was designed by renowned Miami Modern architect Henry Hohauser before opening in 1948, and sits on the same iconic strip overlooking the Atlantic Ocean that houses Hohauser’s Cardozo, Colony, Century, Edison and Crescent hotels.

Billionaire Diesel jeans mogul Renzo Rosso bought the Pelican in 1990 and spent several years restoring the three-story building with his company’s creative team. The refurbished hotel soon became a fashionable retreat frequented by the likes of Naomi Campbell and Helena Christensen, and its stairwell remains plastered with classic Diesel ads.

(Pelican Hotel/Lust in Space)

Last November, the Pelican took flight once again after an ambitious two-year renovation overseen by Rosso’s son, Andrea, Diesel’s Sustainability Ambassador and Creative Director for Diesel Living. 

The Pelican’s themed guest rooms—including seven suites, six ocean-views and a $3,500-per-night penthouse adorned with Warhol paintings of the Beatles and a private terrace—were spearheaded by the younger Rosso, who scoured South Florida vintage shops with his girlfriend for eclectic furnishings to match the hotel’s playful, upcycled aesthetic.

(Pelican Hotel/Executive Zebra)

There’s a wildly-striped Zebra Executive oceanfront suite, a mirrored Ego Centric room, and a palm-print Go Bananas getaway, just to highlight a few. Rosso says the boutique property’s unique motifs are designed to accommodate guests according to their mood. 

(Pelican Hotel/Penthouse One)

“Every room is different,” Rosso says. “There’s a vintage area, one hour north of Miami, where you can find a lot of stuff from Europe, from Scandinavian to Italian. We found so many good pieces, and it’s all locally sourced. There’s both irony and an upcycled angle, because everything is vintage.”

(Pelican Hotel/Cubarean Islands)

Rosso’s design choices spanning the 1930s to the 1980s were meant to serve as a cheeky counterpoint to the Pelican’s Art Deco exterior. “I respect Art Deco and the beauty of the architecture, but to not have Deco design inside is a good surprise,” he adds.

(Pelican Hotel/Executive Fifties)

While the Pelican doesn’t have a fitness center, it’s directly across from the Muscle Beach outdoor gym and a CitiBike station, in case you’re seeking more exercise than merely crossing Ocean Drive to lounge on the beach. Book an ocean view room to gaze upon a steady stream of tourists, cyclists, rollerbladers, and the occasional yellow Lamborghini rumbling down South Beach’s signature thoroughfare. 

(Pelican Hotel/Green Boo)

An outdoor table on the Pelican Cafe’s airy nook of a front porch—complete with Deco-style Terrazzo flooring—is likewise an ideal perch to take in the Ocean Drive action, whether you’re sipping an espresso or sampling dishes from chef Wendy Cacciatori’s Italian-focused menu.

(Pelican Cafe)

Try the honey-tinged steamed local grouper, shellfish salad with lobster, shrimp and langoustines, and seared scallops that theatrically arrive inside a smoke-filled glass box, nestled with salmon eggs and seaweed. Or indulge in hearty pastas, pizzas and shareable apps—from veal meatballs to ricotta-stuffed eggplant polpette—that are perfect for pairing with the cafe’s impressive Italian wine list.

Visit www.pelicanhotel.com to book a stay or learn more.