Searching for Gable and Lombard at the Park Central

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The Park Central Hotel was built in 1937 and will be renovated soon. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The Park Central Hotel was built in 1937 and will be renovated soon.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

I long for the sparkling past in South Beach during my stay at the Park Central, an art deco throwback to headier times that is about to be renovated. I am glad I get to stay here shortly before its transformation. Its quiet interior—the bar, the lobby, that piano—remember the glitz of its early years when movie stars stayed here.

South Beach in its prime was the destination of movie stars. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

South Beach in its prime was the destination of movie stars.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Walk into the past at the Park Central Hotel in Miami Beach. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Walk into the past at the Park Central Hotel in Miami Beach.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The bar at the Park Central feels like Old Florida. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The bar at the Park Central feels like Old Florida.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Memories linger at the Park Central. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Memories linger at the Park Central.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Looking for the ghosts of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, who vacationed here. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Looking for the ghosts of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, who vacationed here.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Lobby, Park Central Hotel Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Lobby, Park Central Hotel
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

A fixture at the Park Central for almost 30 years: Lian! Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

A fixture at the Park Central for almost 30 years: Lian!
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

It's all about atmosphere at the Park Central. Feel like you're walking into a film noir. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

It’s all about atmosphere at the Park Central. Feel like you’re walking into a film noir.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

A guest room at the Park Central Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

A guest room at the Park Central
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Bathroom tile our grandmothers would love. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Bathroom tile our grandmothers would love.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The pool at the Park Central Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The pool at the Park Central
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

I hope to return when the renovation is complete, and I hope that the memory of what it was isn’t completely erased. I’d love to have visited South Beach during its heyday. I hope it is preserved even as these grand old hotels try to remain relevant in the future.

—Lori Tripoli

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