Hot day on the beach? Too much sun? We run for shades. Even in Miami Beach sun worshippers run for shades when the sun is unbearable. But nothing is for free. If you forgot to bring your umbrella to the beach you can rent one for 10 dollars. Just walk up to hotel properties and talk to a cabana boy usually dressed up in white shorts and shirt. They will bring your umbrella and place it where you are sitting. If 10 dollars won’t make it then a 20 will definitely work. If you think there will be a language barrier or your Spanish is rusty don’t worry. After all it is Miami where green does the talking. Just flash your green bills and you will be served.
Last week I went over the chaise lounges I saw on Miami Beach. Most of the same properties have their own umbrellas. These are not the umbrellas for rain. They are what we call them beach umbrellas. What’s so special about them? Let me explain:
Beach umbrellas are usually beach versions of market umbrellas. Market umbrellas are commercially durable versions of patio umbrellas. Since these types of umbrellas are used under extreme conditions they need to be able to handle the heavy use. Most beach umbrellas in Miami Beach are staked umbrellas with pointed ends in the pole. Beach properties don’t like to put heavy bases on the sand. First they are heavy and hard to remove at the end of the day. They can’t be left on the beach because it poses an injury risk. So bases can’t be used on the beach; the second alternative is beach umbrella anchors. These are plastic pipe like drills that can be drilled into the sand which is later used to put the umbrella in the pipe. Lots of locals have these beach anchors. I even have one I bought from cozydays.com. It’s great for individual use because winds will definitely take over your umbrella otherwise. Commercial properties don’t like to use the beach umbrella anchors. I guess that’s because of the injury risk as well. It can be a big liability if they are left over night in the sand. Umbrella manufacturers have solved this with making the pole with a pointed end which enables umbrellas to be staked in the sand. Most of the umbrellas I saw on the beach are wood pole umbrellas and some hybrid umbrellas with metal poles with wood staked ends. The parts that break the most in all umbrellas are the joints, ribs, and hubs. There are three types of ribs I saw in use. Wood ribs which can break on high winds, aluminum ribs which can bend in high winds and fiberglass ribs which are the most preferred ones because they are flexible. There are a few brands that we carry such as Fiberbuilt and Frankford umbrellas that offer fiberglass ribbed beach umbrellas. If your property is beach front you should prefer fiberglass ribs. Then comes the top material. The best material used for commercial umbrellas is Sunbrella marine fabrics. Sunbrella has an awning grade fabric which is tougher but most umbrellas are made with furniture grade fabrics. Other than sunbrella you can see some umbrellas with vinyl tops, and some with cheaper acrylic fabrics. Sunbrella doesn’t fade which makes it the best fabric out there. If you see umbrellas with faded colors than you know it’s not Sunbrella material. Regardless of the top shape beach umbrellas need to be vented which allows the wind to go thru. Vent is an opening on the top of the umbrella just under the finial. They are also offered with valance which is mainly a cosmetic feature. Most of the beach umbrellas I saw on Miami Beach have valance. Pull-up mechanism is also one of the most important parts of an umbrella. Commercial applications don’t prefer cranks which tend to break easily. Cords of the pull mechanism easily jam in the crank making the umbrella unusable. Almost all commercial umbrellas use a push-up mechanism. Some larger umbrellas use pulley and pin mechanism which is much simpler than crank mechanisms.
For commercial properties umbrellas are probably the item that needs to be renewed most frequently together with cushions. While manufacturers build stronger umbrellas every year umbrellas still are one of the annual expenses of hotels and condos.
During my walk from 55th street to South Pointe I saw many colors of umbrellas which were usually matched with the chaise cushions of the same property. Since Sunbrella fabric can be used for both cushions and umbrellas it makes them easy to match colors. You can see pacific blue, green, orange, white yellow, alternating color panels and even pink. Miami Beach is a colorful place and property managers tend to use that color in their beach areas.
- South Beach – Miami
I was walking on the beach today, that is South Beach, Miami. If you have ever been to South Beach you will know that it’s the biggest beach carnival in the world. You have tourists from all over the world, locals who enjoy a beach lifestyle and working people like me who is grateful to be able to make a living in this beach paradise. Working for CozyDays for so many years has altered my perception on outdoor environments. Unlike most people in Miami Beach instead of looking at people of all sorts from head to toe the first thing I look at is furniture. That’s a little bit strange, isn’t it? It’s like I have the biggest fetish on furniture and new unusual outdoor products that is paraded all over South Florida. Often I walk to chairs or chaise lounges and turn them over to see who makes it. Lots of times I get confronted with hotel workers or condo officials. I hear” Sir you can’t do that”. “It’s private property”. Depending on my mood sometimes I explain myself and say “I sell furniture and was just wondering who makes them”. And sometimes I just say “I’m sorry” and walk
away. Believe me; despite the sunshine and the beautiful weather, working people in Miami can get very nasty. It’s better to minimize the interaction with people who work in Miami. May be they think it’s a curse to work while everyone is enjoying themselves. I think otherwise. For me it’s a blessing to work in Miami like I have said before.
Anyways while walking on the beach I was looking at the different trends that the beach hotels and condos have adapted. Since they are all side by side all of them have adopted a different color scheme for their umbrellas, chaise lounges and their chaise cushions. Let me start with the chaise lounges. Beach is an unforgiving place for chaise lounges. You have the sun, salt water, sand, suntan oils and constant use by people. On top of that, chaise lounges are removed every night and replaced every morning back on the sand. So, the lifetime of any chaise lounge in a commercial setting like Miami Beach is about one to two years max. I know this as a professional because most of the hotels and condos in Miami Beach are our customers. The four main kinds of outdoor chaise lounges preferred on the beach are:
Strap Chaise Lounges in Condos
- Sling chaise lounges which divide in to two groups as resin frames and aluminum frames.
- Strap chaise lounges which have aluminum frames.
- Aluminum chaise lounges with thick cushions.
- Resin or recycled plastic chaise lounges with cushions.
Before I start explaining these four main kinds of chaise on the beach, I need to point out the two categories of chaise lounges that you can’t see much.
- Woven outdoor wicker chaise lounges over aluminum frames.
- Teak or any other wood chaise lounges. When woven furniture was massively marketed some hotels adopted these woven outdoor wicker chaise lounges which ended in disaster. Synthetic wicker straps started disintegrating or collapsing and the woven material started unraveling which left very beat up and ugly looking beach furniture. After a few years of experience most hotels stopped using outdoor wicker furniture on beach sand. They still use them heavily in other areas such as poolside, lawn, garden and less traffic areas. On the other hand teak wood chaise lounges are a similar story. Teak is heavy which makes them hard to stack and remove all chaises at night and replace them in the morning. Also all woods need maintenance. Teak needs to be oiled every 3 to 6 months. That’s why most hotels and condos don’t use teak furniture on the beach.
Now it’s time for the commercial choices of Miami Beach Front properties.
- Sling Chaise Lounges with resin frames: These can be spotted almost on every other property on the beach. Resin frames are basically polypropylene plastic frames. Most people would just call them plastic furniture. The advantage of having plastic furniture on the beach is enormous. They are light which makes them easy to carry. They are stackable. Resin plastic has heavy resistance against sun, sand, suntan oils, chlorine or salt water. Slings are usually made with synthetic materials similar to porotex which have the same characteristics as plastic. As I’m walking I started spotting different manufacturers. Grosfillex which is a leading French brand is widely available. I think the sling model is called Nautica. They are in white frames with Pacific Blue slings. Then comes Evolutif which is also a French brand that we carry. We have sold more Evolutif in South Florida than any other brand of chaise lounges. The model is called Odyssee adjustable sling chaise lounge. It’s available in sunflower yellow, pacific blue, forest green and beige slings with white frames. We have sold more blue but during my walk I saw other colors being used as well since properties don’t want to mix their beach furniture. I saw some Resol brand chaises in a couple properties which are very similar to Odysee chaises but with a lighter less bulky body. Resol is a Spanish brand. The new comer to the market which really caught on is the Italian brand Nardi. Nardi has two sling chaise models which are very clean looking, with a very strong frame and a softer but tighter sling. These are Alpha and Omega. Both chaise lounges are offered in multiple frame and sling colors but white frame with pacific blue sling is the most popular ones. Alpha has raised arms and Omega is flat.
- Sling Chaise Lounges with aluminum frames: Aluminum frame is a must if the furniture has to be metal. Aluminum is easy to manufacture, strong, rust free and the end product is highly resistant for beach environments. Slings are usually made with porotex like synthetic fabrics. Aluminum chaises are light and easy to move around. During my walk I saw many properties with aluminum chaise lounges and it’s really hard to tell what manufacturer makes them. Almost every outdoor manufacturer in the world has some kind of aluminum chaise lounge with slings or without. The only problem with these chaises is if the salt and corrosion sets in the frames can get unstable and start breaking and the outer shell can start peeling off which looks awful. Slings also tend to sag if the frame-sling connections are not well made. Most aluminum sling chaises that are less in price will have a very limited lifetime on a commercial property because the slings will start to sag.
- Strap chaise lounges: I really don’t have to explain much about this style because I’m sure you have seen many of them. Strap chaise lounges are widely available for beach and pool use throughout South Florida. Vinyl straps with an aluminum frames make this kind of chaise light, comfortable, problem free. Most hotels and condos don’t use cushions and prefer terry cloth towels to cover these chaise lounges since the strap bottoms are pretty comfortable. If you lay on them long enough you will get the strap imprint on your skin which will go away during a cool swim in the ocean. Vinyl straps are resistant to suntan oils, salt water, and sun and sand. Occasionally straps might break which can easily be fixed. Actually that’s one of the main reasons of their popularity. If they break, they can be fixed. Most strap furniture is manufactured in the US.
- Aluminum chaise lounges without slings: These are basic aluminum framed chaise structures which require a thick cushion for comfort. They can’t be used without a cushion which makes it less preferable. I saw some very luxurious hotels that have this type of chaises on their beach areas. Cushions are about 6-7 inches in thickness and you really can’t see much of the furniture. All you see is an aluminum frame which is half submerged in white sand. I know a few local manufacturers that make the frames of this type of beach furniture. They are not widely available since most of them are custom made.
- Resin or recycled plastic chaise lounges: As I was walking and checking out all the beach furniture I was flattering myself with the sales I have closed with the resin chaises from Siesta, Nardi and Evolutif brand. We carry three models from Siesta which are Sundance, Sunlight and Sunrise. Commercial properties prefer Sunlight and Sunrise models because they stack. Nardi has an awesome chaise called Eden which also can be seen in Miami Beach. Evolutif has two models which one is not available anymore. They are Classic and Cormoran. I have sold the Classic chaise lounge a lot until a few years back. Cormoran chaise is not stackable which makes it hard to handle for commercial properties. Other brands I saw in use are Grossfillex and Resol. So; why resin? I have explained the valuable properties of resin plastic. Property managers that prefer cushions on their chaises and want resin for its durability chooses this type. They can be left alone at night, they stack, they are durable, and they don’t break easily. You can colorize your chaise cushions and make a difference from your next door neighbor. Resin chaise lounges are usually offered in white, dark green and sometimes in light brown plastic colors. However Miami Beach is home to only white chaises as far as I can see. The latest arrival to the beach furniture market is the famous recycled plastic furniture. You might have seen this type of furniture and really didn’t know what it is. Milk jugs are recycled, turned into wood like lumber, colorized, cut in slats and they are used for furniture making. Polywood is one of the most available brands. Only a few properties on the beach have this type of furniture because it has some disadvantages. Recycled plastic is heavy. When I say heavy I mean real heavy. Most of the chaises are not stackable. On the other hand they are ultra-durable. If your property doesn’t need to remove them from the beach every night this type of chaises are ideal because they are as durable as a rock. All you need is some thick and comfortable cushions to go with them. The best part of recycled plastic furniture is they are offered in very vibrant colors like bright yellow, red, green, blue as well as white, beige, black, brown.
I walked from 55th street to South Pointe on Miami Beach with my feet in the water and my eyes busy spotting beach furniture. Today’s topic was chaise lounges, and tomorrow it will be umbrellas on Miami Beach. I love working for CozyDays and I love Miami Beach.