Walking into the Delano Hotel is like being in another world. As you walk in you are not hit with a burst of ice cold air conditioning as is the norm in South Beach, but it feels like a tropical paradise. The lobby is two or three stories tall with long white muslin sheets draped and flowing in the breeze. The furniture is very eclectic with chairs that had painted faces and images that evoked Alice in Wonderland. As you walked out of the lobby towards the ocean there was a large chess set on the lawn that would give one both a mental and a physical challenge to play the game. There were guards to prevent the beach walkers from entering the grounds of the hotel unless they were guests. The pool just off of the ocean had enclosed cabanas that were two stories tall, and the pool had speakers underwater to entertain you during your swim. As this was “the place” at the time to see and be seen there were many females that were not modest about making sure that they acquired the perfect sun tan, which I am sure that they appreciated the guards keeping strollers off the premises.
I remember that the door handles looked more like pewter deer antlers than door knobs, which added to the eclectic ambience of the décor. Also I had to avail myself of the facilities off the lobby once and I am glad that I was the only one there, as it seemed to take forever for me to figure out how to use the sink. The sink was a long narrow structure that sat in the center of the chamber and had a copper pipe at each end of the sink that curved up and over the basin, if one could call the trough like catch a basin. There were no handles or controls for the water, so I tried just placing my hands out, thinking that it had an electronic eye, to no avail. I must have spent ages, or at least it seemed that way until I finally detected a round stone set in the midst of the elaborate floor that was the control for the water, which then came out like a soft rain. It was very unique and I felt like a bumpkin after I discovered how to make it work.
That evening we had dinner at the Blue Door which was in the hotel and had both an inside and an outside dining area. We chose the indoor dining area as we were dressed to the nines and really did not want to be watched by the guests that were either going or coming from the pool area. The restaurant was owned or fronted by the singer Madonna; at least that is what I had heard from others. The restaurant was very elegant and just as eclectic as the Delano itself. The best way I could describe the restaurant is sexy and romantic, and I believe this is where my Bride first discovered a Dirty Martini that she still enjoys to this day.
We enjoyed an appetizer of crab cakes with avocado that was divine. My Bride enjoyed a lobster dish that was prepared with bananas, while I tried a Wagyu Kobe beef steak. Naturally we sampled each other’s choices and the lobster was so tender and had a very unique flavor to it, and the steak was just a touch of heaven, you felt that it could be carved with your fork it was so perfectly prepared.
As for the wine that evening we enjoyed a Robert Sinskey Vineyards Pinot Noir 1999 from the Carneros district of Napa Valley. A very lush wine that evoked a fine Burgundy wine, I felt more than a California Pinot Noir. I was afraid that it might have been overpowering for the lobster, but with its preparation it paired better than I had hoped for and it was a real winner with the steak. Sometimes there is some hesitation and second thoughts when picking out a wine, especially with diverse choices in the entrée, but when it all works out better than anticipated the memory is all the more enhanced.