The Cavalier and the Art Deco Movement

South Beach is home to the largest concentration of 1920s and 1930s architecture in the world in its Art Deco District. The Art Deco movement was about decorative arts/architecture that began in the 1920s that soon turned into a major style in both Europe and the United States in the 1930s. In the 1930s, the style came to South Beach in Miami, and the Art Deco Historic District soon came to be. Built in 1936, The Cavalier was one of the buildings designed using this unique style of sleek, streamlined shapes and forms.

Art Deco developed from the “Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industrials,” which was an exhibition held in Paris in 1925 that first formally introduced the style. Art Deco’s style is considered bold, refined, modern, simple, and crisp. With Art Deco architecture, buildings were designed to have clean lines and have an uncluttered look to them. After World War I, Art Deco architecture began popping up in major European cities, like Paris. After several American architects attended the exposition and saw the Art Deco Style on the buildings across western Europe, they were eager to bring this style back home and use it.

The South Beach buildings famous for their Art Deco architecture were created later in the Art Deco era, which was during the mid-to-late 1930s; this late type of Art Deco architecture was referred to as “Streamline Moderne.”  This later Art Deco style is known for its curving forms, long horizontal lines, and nautical and tropical elements. Streamline Moderne was at its peak in the late 1930s when South Beach was going through a housing and hotel building boom.

During this boom, the Cavalier was built by Roy F. France. In its 80 years in existence, this boutique hotel still has the original architecture on its outside façade of bright pastel colors. In 2015, the Cavalier went through extensive restorations that give the hotel an updated twist to its original Art Deco beauty.

You can experience the wonder of this masterful architecture up-close-and-personal by staying at the Cavalier, located on Ocean Drive in South Beach’s Art Deco District. To book your stay at the Cavalier, call 305-673-1199 or click here.

Chris Blackwell’s Impact on the Cavalier

Chris Blackwell isn’t just a big name in music business, he was also one of South Beach’s highest-profile hotel owners; Blackwell who owned the Cavalier at one point, described it in the past as one of his favorite Miami Beach Ocean front properties. However, his run with this title came to an end 12 years ago in 2004 when he sold The Marlin hotel to The Palms Resorts Group.


Blackwell was a producer, and the founder Island Records; he signed music legends like Bob Marley, Steve Winwood, and U2. His record label was considered one of the most successful independent labels of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s; artists on the label also include: Nirvana, Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, Melissa Etheridge and The Cranberries (to name a few). He also runs Palm Pictures, an entertainment company, and the Island Outpost resort group, which has property in South Beach.


In the 1980s, Blackwell was one of several investors who bought decrepit buildings in South beach; in fact, he bought 10 Art Deco buildings and had them restored to their original stunning architecture. Six of these 10 buildings were hotels. Blackwell took these small, Art Deco-style hotels, like the Marlin, the Leslie, and the Cavalier, and brought them back to life while turning them into hip and young hotspots for people to stay in South Beach. At this time, the real estate and tourism in the area began to boom, which skyrocketed the property values of the hotels Blackwell had acquired.


By 2004, Blackwell decided he wanted to focus more on his resorts in the Caribbean and Jamaica and sold his last property in South Beach.


In 2015, the Cavalier went through another renovation where it was given a few modern updates and alterations, yet the boutique hotel still possesses its own unique charm and style different from other hotels in the area.


If you’re looking for a place to stay in South Beach, the Cavalier is a gem and is unbeatable in value for its ideal location in the heart of South Beach on Ocean Drive. While staying at the Cavalier, you’ll be in close proximity to the other hotels this music mogul owned, and can have the opportunity to see the magnificent buildings that Blackwell saved. To book your stay at the Cavalier Hotel, call 305-671-1199 or click here.

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