You really don’t need a physical address to find Alhambra Towers once you step foot in the heart of Coral Gables, Florida – the strategic center of the Greater Miami area. The impressive Mediterranean-Revival building is considered iconic and gracefully looms above the city’s lively downtown business and shopping district. Cast your gaze heavenward and you’ll instantly identify the towering spires that are reminiscent of the great cathedrals of Spain, yet with a modern take.
City Founder George E. Merrick designed Coral Gables in the 1920’s as a tribute to his beloved Spain. The streets are named for Spanish cities and the architecture is both Mediterranean and decidedly South Floridian with coral rock entrances, fountains and places to gather and enjoy sublime tropical surroundings.
Alhambra Towers is a continuation of Merrick’s “Vision of Towers in the Sky.”
The building is anchored by three towers, the tallest of which stands at 295 feet, making it second only to the historic Coral Gables Biltmore Hotel. The west tower is adorned with a 12-foot tall working weathervane that is an exact replica of the original “Lady of Faith” weathervane atop the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain. The west tower also holds a carillon that plays nearly 2,000 hymns, bells, tolls and classic chimes to mark the hour.
The Art of the Interior in Alhambra Towers
The moment you enter the Alhambra Towers lobby, you are enveloped in color and texture. The floor is imported stone tile from Italy and the Etruscan-styled alabaster chandeliers above are from Spain. There’s a large double fountain in the center of the room and elegant sculptures along the edges. The light shining through original stained glass from a church that once stood on the property, recycled into the design of the room, exudes a warm, somewhat ethereal glow.
In honor of the city’s first post office, which inhabited the site before the church, Allen Morris brought in original restored brass mailboxes and a 1920’s letter drop box from the historic McGraw Hill building in Chicago. There’s also an antique shoeshine stand and old-fashioned telephone.
On display in the lobby are several one-of-a-kind paintings by Carlos and Guillermo Arriola that pay homage of the Spanish cathedrals that ultimately influenced the building’s design and architecture.
There’s no other word for the art and architecture of Alhambra Towers other than extraordinary!