History of Marco Polo
In the 1950’s and 60’s a key feature of Sunny Isles was ‘Motel Row’, a stretch of North Collins Avenue that was home to some 50 motels with exotic names like the Sahara, Mandalay and the Thunderbird. The motels were very popular in the post-war boom years when more and more people could afford cars and could travel to fun destinations like Miami. The area was also very attractive to foreign visitors who loved the sea, surf and sand and great Florida ambience.
In 1967, Bennet Lifter, a real estate entrepreneur, departing from the motel mold, built a stunning 13 floor beachside hotel, the Marco Polo. The building had a beautiful golden sandy beach, great views from many of the rooms and expansive banquet and ballroom facilities.
Marco Polo Resort Previous Owners
In 1968 and 1969, the Lifters leased the property to the Hyatt Corporation and then to the Diplomat Corporation, but resumed control of the Marco Polo in 1972. Famous stars, including Gladys Knight and the Pips, Sister Sledge and the Pointer Sisters performed in the hotel’s Swinger Lounge, and Las Vegas style revues were staged in the grand Persian Room.
In 1994 the Miami Beach Resort Hotel was sold to Crescent Heights Aventura Beach Club and after a $7million renovation, it was converted into a condominium-hotel.
Aventura Beach Associates
Radisson Corporation approved the hotel in June 1995 and in November 1995 Aventura Beach Associates, whose president is Mr. Richard Schechter, purchased the hotel operation, restaurants, ballrooms, meeting spaces and two lounges.
In January 1999 the hotel became the Marco Polo Ramada Plaza Beach Hotel Resort and remains that to this day.
The Marco Polo was built by longtime Miami hotelier and real estate magnate (as well as Miami Beach High graduate) Bennett Lifter in 1967. Still open and still doing well, the Marco was among the last built of the Sunny Isles hostelries. With thirteen floors, Lifter’s Marco Polo Resort Hotel, along with Irving Pollack’s Newport, brought new blood and new life to the strip.