January 2, 2018
Looking for a new venue for your next event? Here are the most anticipated Miami/South Florida restaurants, corporate event venues, hotels, conference centers, and party rooms slated to open in 2018. These new and renovated Miami/South Florida venues will accommodate groups large or small for private and corporate events, conferences, meetings, weddings, business dinners, teambuilding activities, cocktail parties, and more.

1. Miami Beach Convention Center is finishing a $515 million renovation and expansion, which is slated to debut in September 2018. The venue will grow to 1.4 million square feet and include a 60,000-square-foot ballroom. A new public park across the street will have lawn space available for events. The project will seek a silver LEED certification and includes design provisions to address sea-level rise.

2. In October, Royal Caribbean plans to unveil a new terminal at PortMiami as home to two cruise ships, Allure of the Seas and its newest ship, the 5,494-passenger Symphony of the Seas, which sets sail from Barcelona in the spring and is expected to sail from Miami beginning in the fall. Terminal A is intended to be LEED certified and will house check-in, security, and a light-filled Grand Hall. The terminal is expected to see 1.8 million travelers a year, more than double the current total of 750,000 passengers a year.

3. Lauded chef Thomas Keller is planning to open his first restaurant in South Florida at the Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club in early 2018. The chef behind French Laundry in Northern California and Per Se in New York has yet to announce the name of the concept or when it will open in 2018, although the resort said it will be designed by Martin Brudnizki. It joins the Italian restaurant Le Sirenuse at the property, which opened in 2017.

4. With flashy amenities such as a glass-bottom rooftop pool, the Celino South Beach hotel is planning an opening in the summer. The 132-room boutique hotel, located on Ocean Drive, will have 6,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space; overall it can hold reception-style events of as many as 105 guests or banquets of as many as 70. Other spaces include two restaurants: one focusing on Mediterranean cuisine and the other Spanish tapas. The property describes its style as Floridita: “a fusion of 1940s Miami Beach glamour with undertones of simple, classic Floridian accents.”

5. The 10,000-square-foot Auberge Spa is scheduled to open this spring within the Auberge Spa at Auberge Beach Residences & Spa Fort Lauderdale. The spa will offer two outdoor treatment cabanas, a full-service salon, four massage rooms, two skincare rooms, and a specialty massage room with a sand bath table.

6. Coming to Fort Lauderdale Beach in early January is Lona, an upscale Mexican restaurant from chef Pablo Salas. Lona—which translates to “canvas,” an apt name for a chef who loves tattoos—is located at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. With beach views and an indoor/outdoor bar, the space is suited for entertaining and will have multiple private dining rooms as well as a tequila tasting room and private tequila lockers for devotees of the spirit. The menu will offer small plates such as crab-infused guacamole, larger dishes such as 48-hour wagyu brisket, and an extensive cocktail menu with margaritas, sangrias, Micheladas, and more. Its sister restaurant, the 100-seat Tinta, will serve breakfast and is available for private events for 100 seated guests. Other private dining rooms seat 12 and 25 guests, respectively. Overall, Lona will seat 107 inside and 127 on the patio.

7. Restaurateur Stephen Starr announced plans to open El Vez, a Mexican concept that originally debuted in Philadelphia, at the W Fort Lauderdale hotel, which is already home to Starr’s Steak 954. Meyer Davis, which oversaw the hotel’s recent redesign, is also designing the restaurant. It’s slated to open in February.

8. Drive Shack, a golf entertainment complex, plans to open a 60,000-square-foot location in West Palm Beach in late 2018. The three-level space plans to offer 2,500 square feet of meeting and event space, along with its golf and entertainment options: 96 climate-controlled hitting bays that each holds six players; a sports bar and restaurant; a lounge with table and arcade games; and a rooftop terrace.

9. A second location of contemporary Japanese Robatayaki concept Etaru will open in early 2018 at the Related Group’s luxury residential tower Icon Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale. The first U.S. location of Etaru—which comes from the creator of Zuma and Roka London restaurants—debuted in August in in Hallandale Beach.

10. The 111-room Circ Hotel has planned an early 2018 opening in downtown Hollywood. The property will have 3,000 square feet of meeting space as well as a 12th floor rooftop with a pool and bar. Olivia, the hotel’s Italian restaurant from restaurateur Piero Filpi, will have a private dining room called the Cellar with a wine wall comprising more than 800 bottles.