All tours on this holiday have now departed. Future departure dates will be confirmed in due course.
Ocean Drive, Miami – for iconic Art Deco architecture
Art Deco Fort Myers
Calatrava’s University building
The world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings at Florida Southern College with a behind the scenes and after dark tour plus a picnic meal with wine
Florida is America’s playground and winter haven, but has an architectural heritage that merits investigation with a wealth of architecture from late Victorian to ultra modern and a particular emphasis on Modernism and Art Deco, two of your guide and host’s specialist subjects. Our tour starts in Miami, heading north west to Tampa with a host of superb buildings to be explored, including the world’s largest collection of buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959), a 2014 masterpiece from Santiago Calatraver and Art Deco galore – in Miami, Fort Myers and elsewhere, Art Deco encapsulated the fun-loving spirit of Florida in its heyday.
Day 1: Fly from London Heathrow to Miami and transfer to the city centre for five-night stay. Dinner at a local restaurant in South Beach.
Day 2: Miami – Ocean Drive and Wolfsonian Foundation.
This morning we head off with Mike on a walking tour of Ocean Drive in the South Beach area of the city to see some of the 800 iconic Art Deco buildings. Florida’s version of the style, which took the world by storm in the 1920s and 1930s, is often called “Tropical Deco” and is colourful, fun and jaunty, with motifs of flamingos and sunbursts. Highlights include the Leslie, Carlyle, Cardozo, Breakwater (both supreme examples of the “Streamline” style, Adrian and Cleveland Hotels. Mike’s natural exuberance will come to the fore here! This afternoon a walking tour of Collins Avenue, a little rougher around the edges than Ocean Drive but with a host of Art Deco buildings, including the Marlin Hotel at no.1200 before a visit to the Wolfsonian Foundation, with a striking Spanish Baroque main entrance. It houses an excellent collection of fine and decorative arts. This evening, a local guide will lead a walking tour of Ocean Drive to enjoy the neon and floodlighting, that is so typical of and critical to many key Art Deco buildings.
Day 3: Miami – Washington Avenue, Espanola Way, Central Miami Beach.
A morning walking tour of Washington Avenue and Espanola Way with Mike will show more of the evolution of the Art Deco style including Miami Beach’s Post Office. Espanola Way is a tiny, pretty collection of Mediterranean Revival buildings dating from the 1920s that were intended as an artists’ colony. It became a notorious Red Light District for many years, but its intended use has now been resurrected with trendy boutiques and galleries. This afternoon we head to Central Miami Beach to see the faded glamour of the 1940s Fontainebleau Hotel, used in the filming of the James Bond film, Goldfinger and the Mayan-influenced, Art Deco Bass Museum of Art, which houses an impressive collection of mainly European Art, much donated by philanthropists, John and Johanna Bass in 1964.
Day 4: Miami – Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and Vizcaya.
We start with an architectural tour of the Coral Gable district, one of the USA’s richest neighbourhoods and is a separate city within Greater Miami – and it shows. Nicknamed “The City Beautiful,” its collection of elegant, eclectic buildings comprise hotels such as the famous Biltmore, galleries, City Hall, private homes, a church, Alhambra Water Tower folly, the Venetian Pool, arguably the most beautiful swimming pool in the world and the “Miracle Mile” shopping street of upmarket stores. Next to Coconut Grove, a famous hippy hangout in the 1960s but now a more salubrious restaurant and shopping district. Our final visit of the day is to Vizcaya, Florida’s grandest residence, built in 1916 as the winter retreat for industrialist, James Deering, whose opulent interiors display a range of styles reflecting Deering’s shopping sprees around Europe.
Day 5: Miami – Downtown Miami.
A morning tour of Downtown Miami’s architectural highlights include the Alfred I Dupont building,Ingraham building, the Neoclassical US Federal Courthouse, Dade County Courthouse, Freedom Tower, loosely based on the Giralda in Seville and Metro-Dade Cultural Centre. Afternoon Biscayne Bay boat trip ‘Estates of the Rich and Famous,’ which takes you past the lavish homes of former and current luminaries, such as Frank Sinatra and Al Capone.
Day 6: Miami to Tampa via Fort Myers Art Deco district.
A long but rewarding day in prospect today as we head the 280 miles to Tampa on the west coast of the state. En-route, we will stop at Fort Myers, a city that still has the air of old-time Florida . The approach across the Caloosahatchee River is stunning and the city well worth exploring with an old downtown area. It was the retreat of the inventor Thomas Edison, too, and the winter home of his close friend, Henry Ford, both of whose houses we will visit before continuing on our way to Tampa for a four-night stay.
Day 7: St Petersburg.
The day will be spent undertaking an architectural walk of the downtown area of nearby St Petersburg, visiting key buildings, including the Don Cesar Resort hotel, The Post Office, Princess Martha and the eye-catching Pier, Museum of Fine Arts with its extensive collection of paintings and photographs. The city is also renowned for its Salvador Dali Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of the artist’s work, spanning the years 1914-1970.
Day 8: Tampa.
Tampa is one of Florida’s fastest growing cities with modern skyscrapers replacing many original buildings, but much of the colourful history remains, particularly in the old Cuban quarter Ybor City, where the famous cigar industry took root in the 1880s. Sights on our architectural walk will include the Henry B Plant Museum, housed in the city’s landmark, the Moorish Tampa Bay hotel, built by the railroad pioneer Henry B Plant to house travellers on his newly built railroad. Elsewhere we will see the Museum of Art, Tampa Theatre, an elaborate movie theatre datig from the 1920s, the Florida Aquarium, The Museum of Science and Industry and Ybor City district. Dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 9: Tampa. - Florida Polytechnic and Florida Southern College.
We head inland today, first of all to Florida Polytechnic to see Santiago Calatrava’s spectacular University building, which opened in 2014. We then head to nearby Florida Southern College, which has the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world, in which Wright aimed to blend the buildings into their natural surroundings with extensive use of glass to bring the outdoor light in to the interiors. The college president at the time, amazingly, persuaded Wright to undertake the project to design the campus with the promise of the freedom to express his ideas and payment when the finance could be raised. Our visit includes a behind the scenes and after dark tour plus a picnic lunch with hors d’oeuvres and wine.
Day 10: Sarasota.
The final visit of this superb tour is to Sarasota to see the historic downtown area, Ringling College of Art & Design Campus and Museum, and Ca d’Zan house. The Ringling Museum of Art houses the collection of John Ringling, an Iowa-born circus owner, whose show was so successful it made him a multi-millionaire. The Ca d’Zan was his lavish winter residence and modelled on a Venetian palace. From here we return to Tampa Airport for the overnight flight to London Gatwick.
Day 11: Arrive at London Gatwick.
NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 25 passengers.
Hotel Victor, Miami – five nights
Art Deco four-star hotel located on Ocean Drive in the heart of South Beach. Enjoying the perfect location for this architecture-led tour, this excellent hotel offers three bars/restaurants, pool, gym, free bike hire and very comfortable bedrooms with all modern amenities.
JW Marriott Water Street, Tampa – four nights
Four-star waterfront hotel, located in the heart of downtown Tampa, ideally located for exploring the city and beyond. Facilities include several bars and restaurants, outdoor pool , gym and very comfortable, spacious bedrooms with all modern amenities.
Mike Hope author, lecturer, curator and designer, has spent more than twenty-five years at four universities (Staffordshire, Portsmouth, Nottingham Trent and Plymouth) and nearly thirty years delivering Summer School Programmes. He has lectured around the world and was a founder board member of The European Academy of Design. Alongside an extensive publication list, he has researched, designed and curated many exhibitions, and advised on stained glass to the Diocese of Exeter. He specialises in Art and Design History, early 20th Century architecture, Stained Glass; Churches and Cathedrals; the English Country House and Garden. He has recently published “Art Deco Architecture – the Interwar period” and his knowledge and enthusiasm of this distinctive architectural style is extensive.
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