Miami Beach's fabled Fontainebleau Hotel no ordinary bowl destination for Tigers

Dabo Swinney: 'This is not a normal place to stay - it's unique, to say the least...It's going to be a lot of fun - these guys have earned it'

Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach ( photo)

Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach ( photo)

What does the Clemson football team have in common with James Bond, Frank Sinatra, the Sporanos and Elvis?

They're all part of the illustrious, star-studded history of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, which opened in 1954 and is renowned as one of the nation's most historically and architecturally significant hotels.

The sprawling complex incudes more than 1,500 rooms (which may be booked for $519 per night on Orbitz or Expedia), a dozen restaurants and bars, and a 40,000 square foot spa.

The Tigers will call the Fontainebleau home for next week as they prepare for their Friday night date with Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl.

As the Tigers checked in at the beachfront hotel on Sunday, Dabo Swinney said the venue itself makes this year's bowl experience extra special.

"This is not a normal place to stay - it's unique, to say the least, probably the most unique hotel we'll ever stay in for a bowl game," Swinney said. "It's going to be a lot of fun, and these guys have earned it.

"You don't get to stay at a place like this every year. It's something we've talked about, and now we'll just try to keep 'em focused on the task at hand."

The Fontainebleau is located on Collins Avenue, or A1A, just minutes from South Beach's vibrant nightlife scene.

Swinney said his players know what's expected of them.

"We have a good group of young men and they're in society every day," Swinney said. "You can't shield them, but we have rules in place and curfews and all that, and we hope they'll do what's right and abide by the rules. If they don't, they know there will be consequences. We're consistent with that."

The Fontainebleau is a change of scene and part of a change in routine for the Tigers, who two years ago came to Miami three days earlier, checked into the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure in Weston, and then moved to the Westin Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood for game week. West Virginia, meanwhile, stayed at the Fontainebleau.

Unlike some past years, in which the team has taken a brief Christmas break and then reassembled at the bowl site, this year the Tigers reconvened on campus and had three practices before flying to Miami on Sunday.

"I feel like getting them all back to Clemson and into that comfort zone was what was needed," Swinney said. "We had a good Monday-type practice before we left on Sunday afternoon, and then we shared a video with them at the end, and had some lighthearted fun and laughter as a team and staff.

"We've had good preparation. Now we just need to go play well."

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