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(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real Estate Florida.)

MIAMI BEACH, FL-The Betsy Ross Hotel, which has been closed since May 2007 for a major renovation, is set to reopen in January 2009, according to management company Desires Hotels. The landmark hotel was opened in 1942 with classic colonial architecture designed by L. Murray Dixon and a $35 million gut rehab has now positioned the hotel as a 63-room boutique structure designed to evoke tropical colonial luxury. The New York-based owner of the building could not be disclosed, according to Desires.

All renovations, including exterior upgrades, will be completed by 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 the rooftop, a spa, zen garden, outdoor swimming pool and solarium. A BLT Steak restaurant with seating on the hotel’s terrace will be integrated into the lobby. Room rates range from $400 to $3,000.

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

Desires Hotels is the boutique division of Tecton Hospitality that manages independently owned hotels. The company also manages five more hotels on Miami Beach including the Sagamore, Hotel Astor, the Strand Ocean Drive, Hotel St. Augustine and the Wave.

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