(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

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MIAMI BEACH, FL-The Betsy Ross Hotel, which has been closedsince May 2007 for a major renovation, is set to reopen in January2009, according to management company Desires Hotels. The landmarkhotel was opened in 1942 with classic colonial architecturedesigned by L. Murray Dixon and a $35 million gut rehab has nowpositioned the hotel as a 63-room boutique structure designed toevoke tropical colonial luxury. The New York-based owner of thebuilding could not be disclosed, according to Desires.

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All renovations, including exterior upgrades, will be completedby mid February, says Raul Leal, president of Miami-based Desires.The hotel, now known as the Betsy, located at 1440 Ocean Drive,will feature amenities including an ultra luxury lounge on therooftop, a spa, zen garden, outdoor swimming pool and solarium. ABLT Steak restaurant with seating on the hotel's terrace will beintegrated into the lobby. Room rates range from $400 to$3,000.

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"Our expectation for the Betsy is it will be positioned as oneof the upper tier hotels on South Beach," Leal tells GlobeSt.com.He says the effects of the economic downturn have not yet reachedthe luxury hospitality market in the region. "This segment has notbeen impacted so far. Desires Hotels properties on South Beach aretracking fairly well through 2008 and we expect the Betsy, giventhe size, location and amenities, will perform well in 2009."

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Desires Hotels is the boutique division of Tecton Hospitalitythat manages independently owned hotels. The company also managesfive more hotels on Miami Beach including the Sagamore, HotelAstor, the Strand Ocean Drive, Hotel St. Augustine and theWave.

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