BY LINDA MARX
PHOTOS BY CARLOS HIDALGO
You don’t have to do all the work at home this holiday season. These pros offer up festive holiday decor offerings you can use to entertain your families and friends.
Vanderbilt Room and Overlook Deck
at Smith & Wollensky, Miami Beach
Smith & Wollensky, which has just completed a smashing multimillion-dollar renovation, offers diners a classic and traditional holiday dining experience in its private Vanderbilt Room, which has been recast with new colors, textures, finishes, floors and lighting for a more contemporary, luxurious and casual look.
Guests can start the evening on the adjoining Overlook Deck, an uncovered second-story terrace with beautiful outdoor sofas and accent tables ideal for cocktails and chatting, overlooking the water and South Pointe Park. Indoors and out merge into one for a festive holiday experience with beautiful Christmas trees and holiday wreaths decorated with winter colors of silver, gold and metallics, accented by greenery. Uplighting for the space will be amber, according to Sharesa Jones from Contempo Linen & Event Rentals, who designed the space’s holiday decor. Faux fur throws and a diversity of accent pillows will be used through the space to bring more of the wintry holiday feel to Miami Beach.
All of the holiday decor and accents have been chosen to blend with the water, which surrounds the space, and at the same time, offer a classic holiday atmosphere. “We are so proud to share the redesigned space all decked out for the holidays,” says managing director Henry Delgado. “We are also celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Smith & Wollensky brand with a special menu, cocktails and wine features for our guests.”
Managing director Henry Delgado.
at Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Key Biscayne
The look of Christmas will highlight the Florida-inspired design of the private dining space at Lightkeepers, a casually elegant restaurant with a contemporary, coastal-inspired decor, to reflect its island-esque surroundings and ocean views.
Ornaments will accent the room in various shades of blue, green and tan along with gilded ribbon and themed gift boxes for the holiday season. Green napkins, pine cones, berries and votive candles add to the holiday sparkle. “We always seek to provide the best experience, especially during the holiday season,” says general manager Justin Wilson. “Decor can be based on the guests’ visions; however, we like to create holiday settings incorporating natural blues, greens and the tan of the restaurant that complement the surrounding lush island of Key Biscayne and the Atlantic Ocean.”
There is a casual indoor/outdoor bar with a beverage program offering handcrafted cocktails. The holiday menu, created by Executive Chef Raul A. Del Pozo, offers locally sourced ingredients like a variety of unusual cheese offerings from Winter Park, beef from Ocoee and fresh snapper from Key West.
Lightkeepers got its name from the trusty lighthouse keepers who watched over Key Biscayne’s historic Cape Florida Lighthouse in the 1800s. There are few better ways to celebrate a Florida Christmas holiday than to relish the nautical ambience of such a glorious oceanfront tableau. Whether or not you have a beach house to enjoy this season, a private soiree in such a romantic waterfront setting should make your holiday season enchanting and memorable.
Grateful Palette Catering & Events
The “Home for the Holidays” theme that could have been taken straight from a Hallmark Channel holiday movie set greets diners who come to feast at the Grateful Palette, located on the yacht-filled Intracoastal Waterway. A giant Christmas tree, a newly renovated dock filled with colorful string lights, and the smell of freshly baked gingerbread wafting from the kitchen are sure to get even the Scrooge-iest personalities in the holiday spirit. There’s even a fire pit on the lawn for creating holiday s’mores and offering a nostalgic backdrop for the reading of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
The winter wonderland extends to the table settings and centerpieces, which are designed in shades of white, silver and gold. Dinner plates have artful silver accents highlighted with elegant linens and chargers. The designers mixed and matched holiday textures and used simple votive candles and small vases filled with natural seasonal elements like pine cones and winter flowers to round out the design.
Whether you invite your friends, family or business associates for a holiday meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner), a delightful menu, full drink list, DJ’s located inside and out by the water, an HD projector with 10-foot drop screen, Blue Ray/DVD player and all of the wireless Internet access you need is made available. The holiday interior opens to the venue’s dock, offering guests a breathtaking waterfront Christmas to remember.
at the Pullman Hotel, Miami
Imagine a festive, red-and-gold-themed Christmas table at the stylish and artsy oriented Pullman hotel, which overlooks a romantic blue lagoon. Tony Tibau of Tony Exclusive Design took a modern masterpiece and infused it with tradition to create a simple yet sophisticated, multi-toned environment when decorating the private dining space at the hotel’s restaurant, La Riviera.
The entire room is decorated in holiday crimsons and garnet reds mingled with classic motifs and gold accents. Tibau merged the warmth of gold with vibrant, traditional holiday red to create a traditional combination of Christmas joy. He used clear vases containing red ornaments and elegant gold candelabra as centerpieces for the main table.
A talented florist, Tibau added red roses and hydrangeas for more holiday elegance. Atop the red runner and gold table linens, he placed a tower of macarons to honor the hotel’s French legacy. A faux fireplace sets the winter mood with a high-definition television showing an on-screen projection of a glowing hearth. A smaller side table displays a bountiful Christmas buffet including special holiday cookies. Gold Chiavari chairs and red starter plates complete the look with sparkling napkin rings emulating the holiday trinkets that help make the season so special.
La Riviera marketing manager Diana Ampuero makes all the arrangements for those looking to entertain in style for the holidays.
Jenny Zalkin and Josh Fein
of Fein Zalkin Interiors, Miami
The perfect pair—best friends since age 14, these two joined forces six years ago to launch their own successful interior design firm specializing in elegant custom residences and luxury yachts. Here, they designed a holiday table for our inspiration, and provided tips on how to DIY to boot.
What inspired this holiday décor concept that you created for our shoot?
We were inspired by thinking of a pretty jewel-tone color that would work well for the space we were decorating, as well as mixing metals to give us that holiday allure.
What is the most important thing to remember when entertaining for the holidays when it comes to setting a perfect table?
You always want to add something extra special that stands out from your regular dinner party tables, like adding greenery in your floral arrangement that is relatable to the season. Having it be fragrant so that you really experience the season, such as our table here, where we used eucalyptus leaves, or you can use rosemary or cinnamon sticks as napkin accessories by sticking them through the napkin ring.
What are your recommendations for colors, materials, etc., for this time of year?
Always incorporate greens and metallics. You then want to decide on your main color. We like to include colors that surround the interior space so that your table relates well to the home. This color can be your pop in your floral arrangement or your napkins or napkin rings.
What special touches make a table or party special that one might not think to include?
Place cards! You always want your guests to feel comfortable when attending a dinner party. Knowing that your host took the time to carefully plan a seating arrangement can really make your guests feel more welcome.
What would you advise against with regard to creating a beautiful holiday table?
Never create a tall floral arrangement so that it is in the way of conversation.