Sunday, March 16, 2008

Standard Vibes

I spent a lot of time at the Standard yesterday. It's one of those beautiful and mysterious places that manages to be both of the moment and steeped in nostalgia. Andre Balazs is the uber-hip hotel guru behind it. He dated Uma Thurman so maybe he's got a handle on the duality of hipness vs. authenticity.

A couple details about the place:

It features an indoor hamam (like a Turkish bath) except this is one co-ed and you must wear a bathing suit. This means you're bathing while still clothed. Contradiction? Perhaps.

Another curious feature - the building is an oldie from the 50's and the designer has left all these remnants of the building's former life (old bathroom tiles, metal-encased swinging doors, old-timey signs, etc.) while incorporating super-stylish furniture from the like of Roche Bobois and Hamptons-esque white painted benches. So you're sitting in the neo-hippie lobby on a Indian-style square cushion staring at restored Terazzo flooring. It all might be too precious to handle.

The pool is filled with salt water. It borders Biscayne Bay which is filled with salt water. It is a salt-water body of water within another. This begs the question, why bother going in the pool? Is the pool enhanced by its proximity to the orginal salt-water source? It's a beautiful pool nonetheless.

Locals have embraced the place such that it's more like a yogi-filled clubhouse rather than a high-end hotel.

An image from yesterday that I can't seem to erase from my mind: A guy with an expensive mullet-type haircut sits on a lounge chair by the crowded pool. On his lap is an open magazine with a two-page spread on actress Ellen Page. Meanwhile he taps at his iPhone. Is he a DJ? A global citizen of the world? How can he afford the $500 + room rate at the Standard and an iPhone? Does it even matter?


Blind Mind said...

I like the Standard but have you ever eaten there? I did a few years ago and back then the menu was really boring. Steak frites were pretty good though. You dont happen to know the spa director there, do you?

sara said...

We ordered food by the pool and it was quite delicious - a Greek salad and a chicken panini. I don't know the spa director.

L2M said...

Have you been for Sunday night bingo? Have heard something about it, but not much. Glad to hear the food was good.

sara said...

Never been for Sunday night bingo but my friends love it. I appreciate how the hotel opens itself up to the community. It's become a neighborhood institution.

Shawn said...

Hey Sara!! I too love the Standard. I have gone a few times on the weekend and you definitely do not have to stay in the hotel to enjoy all it has to offer. I think most people just walk in off the street and lounge out (meaning they spend nothing). And I bet most of them sneak into the Hamam even though you are supposed to pay to get in.

I have used the Hamam twice - once I paid for a massage and it was included, second time I paid for a do it yourself spa thing and I was allowed to use everything. I paid a little extra and I got a full body do-it-yourself mud treatment outdoors not far from the pool. Totally recommend the mud - a lot of fun and you get to soak in a huge outdoor tub overlooking the bay to wash it all off.

I am also a fan of the Sunday night Bingo. I went for a friend's birthday and there were free drinks and tons of winners that night. One friend won a free night stay, another won 10 yoga lessons.

And agreed, the food at the pool is yum. Perfect for a relaxing day where you don't mind spending too much to pretend that you are on vacation.

sara said...

Hey Shawn! Where ya been? Long time no blog. Your bingo endorsement sold me. I must get there on a Sunday. I agree that the pool gets you to "pretend" you're on vacay. Very cool.