When George Merrick founded Coral Gables in 1925, he was inspired by “The City Beautiful,” an architectural style that celebrated elegance and grandeur. The result: gorgeous, tree-lined streets and Mediterranean-style buildings, including The Biltmore Hotel, which opened in 1926 after Merrick joined Biltmore hotel magnate John McEntee Bowman on the project. Architects Leonard Schultze and S. Fullerton Weaver brought to life the dream of an elegant hotel that served as a social hub, complete with 400 rooms, a country club, a championship golf course, polo fields, tennis courts and a swimming pool. The Biltmore resembles Mediterranean architecture, but was also influenced by Italian, Moorish and Spanish architectural styles. It boasts hand-painted frescos on barrel vaulted ceilings, brilliant travertine floors, fine marble columns, intricate leaded glass fixtures, carved mahogany furnishings and lavish gardens. It is easily recognized for its spiraling Moorish Giralda tower.
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