Crystal to Transform Miami’s Historic Shrine Building into Ultimate Showcase of the ‘Crystal Experience’
As Crystal Cruises continues the most significant brand expansion in luxury travel history, the “World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line” officially announced its plans to make the historic Shrine Building in downtown Miami its central display location for its luxury portfolio.
The 1930’s Art Deco landmark located on Biscayne Boulevard will become the first land-based member of the Crystal portfolio, as the line plans to exponentially expand its collection of luxury travel offerings over the next three years with the launch of Crystal Yacht Cruises, Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Luxury Air, Crystal AirCruises, Crystal Exclusive Class ocean vessels and Crystal Residences. The reimagined building will serve as the headquarters for travellers to preview Crystal Residences at sea and will also provide an immersive and interactive experience for guests who want a glimpse into the all-inclusive Crystal Experience™.
“The new Crystal showcase building will personify the grand scale of Crystal’s future as it offers the opportunity for travellers to preview the ‘World’s Best’ before they even step foot onto a ship, yacht, plane or residence,” says Crystal President and CEO, Edie Rodriguez. “Not only will visitors be able to see the elegance and luxury of a Crystal holiday but they’ll also experience the personal attention to detail and unmatched service that sets us apart from all the others.”
Overseeing the innovative building project is architect Richard Heisenbottle of South Florida’s R.J. Heisenbottle Architects, P.A., who has a curated vision for bringing the historic building into a new era, much like the Crystal brand.
“The design of this building is particularly noteworthy because its ornamentation, use of coral rock, veneer and inclusion of sculpted Seminole Indians are architectural characteristics specific to South Florida,” says Heisenbottle. “We will preserve the original quality and character of the building and add new features that mirror Crystal’s ultimate luxury brand experience.”
Located on Biscayne Boulevard across from the Adrienne Arsht Centre for the Performing Arts, the Shrine Building was constructed in the then popular Art Deco architectural style of the 1930’s. Once dubbed the “Fifth Avenue of the South”, it was part of a striking ensemble of modern retail buildings that lined the newly created Biscayne Boulevard and defined it as a high end shopping district. What will become the Crystal showcase building stands adjacent to Crystal’s Miami branch office, which opened in June 2015 to serve the growing demand for the company’s expanding portfolio.
Designed to mirror many of the celebrated nuances travellers experience aboard Crystal vessels, the showcase building will captivate guests upon entering the vast ground floor, which will boast expansive high ceilings and rich architectural finishes and, more importantly, showrooms for the luxurious residences planned for the “Exclusive Class” ships. Guests can gather inspiration for their own Crystal Residence while sipping espresso served at the ground floor Bistro Lounge (akin to the favored Bistro Café found aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity), or take their vacation daydreaming to new heights while exploring the Crystal AirCruises exhibit. Consultants will be on hand to provide information and answer questions about the Residences and other Crystal holidays.
Also on the ground floor will be an elegant specialty restaurant, which will offer the same celebrated standard of cuisine and Six-Star service for which Crystal has been known for more than 25 years. The menu will be reminiscent of favourite travel memories for returning Crystal guests, while offering a taste of what’s in store for first-time Crystal travellers.
After taking an elevator up one floor, guests will emerge into an all-encompassing 180-degree cinematic experience of all things Crystal. Grand-scale murals and living walls will be featured, highlighting the global experiences and destinations offered with Crystal. The two large balconies that currently adorn the building will be outfitted to reflect a ship’s private veranda, capitalising on the building’s close proximity to Biscayne Bay. Individual private conference rooms will line the perimeter of the second floor, offering a quiet space for guests to learn more about Crystal Residences.
Throughout the building, signature touches of the various Crystal holiday experiences will be showcased, including a submarine suspended from the vast second floor ceiling that illustrates the adventures offered with Crystal’s yacht, Crystal Esprit, and the upcoming expedition megayacht, Crystal Endeavor, and a waterfall cascading around the outdoor dining courtyard to create the atmosphere at sea.
With the advent of the Residences, guests will have the opportunity to call a Crystal ship “home”. Situated on the top deck of the new “Exclusive Class” ships will be 48 unique homes, boasting their own private restaurant, reception and facilities. Residences will start at 600 square feet to 10,000 square feet with a 270-degree view from atop the ship, which will be the largest of interior living area for a luxury vessel on the high seas.
Open to visitors every day of the week into the evenings, Crystal’s showcase building is set to open in spring of 2017.