Picture a dreamlike setting complete with exquisite, hand painted frescos on barrel vaulted ceilings, brilliant travertine floors, fine marble columns, intricate leaded glass fixtures, carved mahogany furnishings and lavish gardens. Then picture this all in the shadow of a spiraling Moorish Giralda tower. Is it a Spanish castle or a grand Venetian palazzo?
Although The Biltmore in Coral Gables, Florida does resemble the finest in classic Mediterranean architecture, it is neither an Italian palazzo nor Iberian castle. Instead it is the centerpiece of George Merrick’s vision of Coral Gables as an elegant, stately suburb, which he called “The City Beautiful.” Combining his deep affection for lush South Florida landscape with a high regard for Italian, Moorish and Spanish architectural influences, Merrick realized his dream in the construction of his masterpiece. This is The Biltmore Hotel.