Crystal Cruises has announced plans to make the historic Shrine Building in downtown Miami the 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.
According to Crystal, the reimagined building will serve as the headquarters for travelers to preview Crystal Residences at sea and will also provide an immersive and interactive experience for guests who want a glimpse into what it calls 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 travelers to preview the ‘World’s Best’ before they even step foot onto a ship, yacht, plane or residence,” commented President and CEO Edie Rodriguez.
“Not only will visitors be able to see the elegance and luxury of a Crystal vacation but they’ll also experience the personal attention to detail and unmatched service that sets us apart from all the others,” she added.
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 of its ornamentation, use of coral rock, veneer and inclusion of sculpted Seminole Indians are architectural characteristics specific to South Florida,” said 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 Center 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 the company’s Miami branch office, which opened in June 2015.
Designed to mirror many of the celebrated nuances travelers experience aboard Crystal vessels, the building will host showrooms for the 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 vacations.
Also on the ground floor will be a specialty restaurant, which will offer the same standard of cuisine and service for which Crystal is known. The menu promises to be reminiscent of favorite travel memories for returning guests, while offering a taste of what’s in store for first-time Crystal travelers.
After taking an elevator up one floor, visitors 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. The two large balconies that currently adorn the building will be outfitted to reflect a ship’s private veranda, capitalizing on the building’s close proximity to Biscayne Bay.
Throughout the building, signature touches of the various Crystal vacation 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 mega-yacht, 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 more than 4,000 square feet of interior living area, which will be the largest 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.