The hospitality rolodex in Miami can be as grounded as the boy who chooses to access internet porn on the parent’s computer. But drive over the Venetian Causeway and a-change will-be-a coming, usually in quick fashion. New Year’s Eve dinner event at one establishment can turn into closure and rebranding for the next day. But, like a radio show, the hotel will stay on air. Sometimes, they will even sing the same song on the air for 16 hours. And then there is the weird, ongoing hotel story of the Boulan South Beach and the Villa Bagatelle.
The Boulan South Beach and the Villa Bagatelle are not only both in South Beach, but they are both in the same building. Just don’t ask the reservation agent on the other line to clarify or they might be as surprised as the traveler. As the story goes, the Villa Bagatelle is on a eighteen month journey, starting in November 2014, to fully brand the hotel after it’s restaurant beginnings in Europe. During that time, the parent hotel Boulan also acts like a fully functioning hotel. They do have their differences, starting with the street address (2000 Collins Avenue and 220 21st Street). Keep in mind it is the same building.
When researching online, you will notice there is clearly one website that appears ready to call it a day and one that, although it uses the Boulan South Beach name, ready to forge ahead and capture it’s South Beach customer. As much as there is a distinction between the two online, the offline story is as muddy as an Everglades tour guide provoking a crocodile.
If you review the rooms available at either hotel (?) you will find a similarity to the point they appear the same, which they are……sort of. However, when you speak to an Boulan South Beach agent, they will not act as a provocateur. “Charlie” from the Boulan South Beach will tell you that their hotel has the 2nd floor rooms with terraces as well as some of the rooms with balconies”. However, “Ed” from the Villa Bagatelle will say both entities share the same rooms. Check (please?)!
There are restaurants that serve the clientele of both entities. Unlike the hotel itself, “They’ve done quite the job at classifying themselves….”. One is the celebrated Villa Bagatelle, celebrated throughout Europe and known by foodies all over the world (and reviewed here and here). The other is the Orange Blossom, which is the restaurant that serves the Boulan South Beach side of the house as well as the South Beach Hotel (for continental breakfast with their hotel room rate).
The room pricing is quite the kicker. If you book at the Boulan South Beach, expect your rate to be inclusive with breakfast and a price break off dinner (to the Orange Blossom) and have access to the 21st street health club (per “Daniel”) and pay a substantially higher rate per night stay (with tax and resort fee). For the Villa Bagatelle, you are paying room, tax, and resort fee.
Amazingly enough, the differences don’t seem to break the third wall of the guests. Both tenants are both equally received by the respondents of Trip Advisor. If the hotels in the area were looking to hire guest satisfaction agents, this would be the first place to look. To handle this confusion without little fanfare or fuss is truly astounding.
Because, inside the walls of the Boulan South Beach and the Villa Bagatelle, there is no confusion. Once you live and breath a hospitality situation like this, it becomes normal and second nature to field any challenge and react with no fanfare or surprise. It is only from outside this world that the viewer becomes baffled by the circumstances.