South of Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, accessible through grand gates off the Tamiami Trail (8th Street), the stately community of Coral Gables is one of the few Florida resort towns that survives fairly unchanged since the boom years of the 1920s. Coral Gables boasts many grand boulevards, fine fountains, plazas, and lush gardens, but the landmark to look for is the 26-story Biltmore Hotel (1200 Anastasia Ave., 855/311-6903, $389 and up), off Granada Boulevard. This opulent hotel, which opened in 1926 and once boasted the world’s largest swimming pool (Johnny Weismuller was the original lifeguard!), has been restored to its original glory.
The southern edge of Coral Gables is occupied by the drab campus of the University of Miami, which is bounded by US-1, the old Dixie Highway.