The “Old Florida” charm
and grace of the Riverside Hotel has been enhanced by the recent
completion of a $2 million update of its “Classic” rooms. Built in 1936,
the Riverside is the city’s oldest and most uniquely located hotel in the
heart of downtown on Las Olas Boulevard. The latest project, which follows the addition of the three-year-old, 12-
story Executive Tower, includes two new hospitality suites with verandas
overlooking the world-class Las Olas shopping and dining district. The $25
million tower expanded the hotel to 217 rooms and suites and 11,000 square
feet of meeting and event space.
“The update brings our ‘Classic’ rooms, built decades ago, up to today’s
standards and those of the Executive Tower, but also keeps them true to
the feel of a time past,” said A.J. Jabbour, Riverside’s General Manager.
“It was a difficult job, but we feel it has been successfully accomplished.
“The Riverside Hotel represents both the past and the future of the city’s
downtown and it is important that, as a cornerstone of the famous Las Olas
Boulevard, we properly fulfill that role.”
To accomplish this task, the Riverside turned to Linda Blackwell of
Interior Consultants in Birmingham, Alabama. Interior Consultants
specializes in hospitality design, and has overseen projects throughout
the South including the restoration of the historic Redmont Hotel in
“The hotel’s 81 ‘Classic’ rooms are a perfect blend of ‘Old Florida’ charm
with modern conveniences and comforts,” Ms. Blackwell said.
“Casual, romantic and alluring, the very qualities of paradise are the
inspiration behind the design of the Tommy Bahamas furniture used
throughout,” she said.
“The furniture is crafted in solid maple and the lush antique finish of
the furniture adds a touch of spice and flavor to the tropical draperies
Ms. Blackwell said the luxurious Posture Comfort bedding has a deep
European pillow top. The sides are foam-encased with never-turn
construction and both box springs and mattresses are covered in gold
The original rich, Mexican terra cotta tiles have been cleaned and
preserved and add warmth to the sunny corridors and their golden trim. The
large handmade tiles have random insets of hand-painted ceramics. Rooms
are decorated in tropical highlights, some including art work by Mary
Wells, a member of the hotel’s founding family.
In addition, bathrooms have all new high-end fixtures and tiles. The
“Classic” rooms all feature high-speed Internet access, mini-bars and new
Guests get to their rooms on newly renovated elevators, decorated in rich
wood paneling and brass fixtures.
The renovations include the casual elegance of two new hospitality suites
above the Las Olas Boulevard shopping and nightlife scene. The suites
include multiple flat-screen televisions, full wet bars for entertaining
and a full bedroom and bath.
“The suites are a great place for an intimate gathering with friends or a
small corporate gathering,” Ms. Blackwell said.
The Riverside also features a Ceremonial Ring patio for special outside
events and a tropical swimming pool area, both set along the scenic New
River and its gleaming white yachts.