Hotel Week: Miami & Looking Beyond The Glamour

Virginia's post about the hotel industry’s perpetual promises to “bring glamour back” reminded me of my recent trip to Miami—a city that was originally built, and then renovated, with glamour in mind.

Atmosphere at LIV

To my eye, though, the city is full of reminders that glamour is often only skin-deep. At first glance, Miami is gorgeous. The people are fabulous, wearing dramatic (and tiny) clothes that would never fly in most American cities, and the architecture harkens back to a long-ago era when cocktail hour started promptly at 5 p.m. and jeans weren’t considered acceptable dinner attire.

Look closer, though, and the glamour fades away. As I walked around the city, I kept thinking of that line from Clueless, “She’s a full-on Monet. From far away, it’s OK, but up close, it's a big old mess.” “Big old mess” might be an exaggeration, but looking closely at glamorous people and places often reveals the flaws and strain under the façade.

The photo above was taken by my friend (and future sister-in-law), Marcail, during our trip—it’s one of the banquettes at LIV, the nightclub at the Fontainebleu hotel. Marcail took the shot to remember the club's “atmosphere,” but I think it tells a bigger story about Miami and about a lot of what we perceive as “glamorous.” Glamour is often shiny on the surface, but marred with rips and tears that expose the rough underneath.

On a banquette, the tears are literal and in a building, they might be dingy paint or scuffed floors—all easily fixed. But when it’s a glamorous persona that comes under scrutiny, the discrepancy between the surface and what’s beneath is sometimes more serious—think Marilyn Monroe or Britney Spears a few years ago. In those cases, maintaining the glamorous image adds strain that widens the gap between façade and reality even more.

[Photo credit: Marcail Moran, who says that she and her stilettos are at least partially responsible for one of those rips.]