Miami hotel rates, occupancy jump in what's now Art Basel season
By Ashley D. Torres
Miami-Dade County's hotels have seen a hike in occupancy and rate for December bookings with the return of Art Basel Miami Beach, signaling a positive start to the new year.
Upon its arrival in 2002, the contemporary art fair gave the local hospitality industry an instant boost during the historically slow period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Early December has now become a Miami tourism peak season, with art enthusiasts filling local hotels and resorts.
Art Basel Miami Beach returns for a ninth year to the Miami Beach Convention Center Dec. 2-5.
The Loews Miami Beach hotel, roughly five blocks from the Convention Center, is booked solid Art Basel weekend. The hotel sold out a week or two earlier than in the past, said Shawn Hauver, the Loews hotel's managing director, with the weekend's average rates back to 2006 and 2007 levels, which was the hotel's best year.
A Loews spokesperson said the company does not release specific rates.
The high demand for rooms at the Loews, Mr. Hauver said, makes him optimistic for the first quarter of the year because the Art Basel visitor is similar to the hotel's January clientele.
Miami Beach's Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa is another hotel seeing positive gains from the Art Basel fair. Although about five miles from the Convention Center, the hotel has seen an increase in bookings, said Matthias Kammerer, Canyon Ranch's general manager, for the Art Basel weekend. The starting rate for the December season is $400 for a room facing west.
Art Basel's official travel agency Turon Travel is offering less-expensive rates on hotels, including Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa and the Loews Miami Beach, when visitors purchase a three-night stay.
A Turon Travel spokesperson said the company does not release information on event hotel bookings and rates.
Art Basel remains tremendous for the hospitality industry, continuing to garner area hotels rises in occupancy and rates for what Stuart Blumberg, former president and CEO of the Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association, said is "the Super Bowl of the art world."