The Ultimate Guide to Elegant Living on Fisher Island

The Ultimate Guide to Elegant Living on Fisher Island

Fisher Island is well known as one of Miami’s most elegant and exclusive neighborhoods for luxury residences. The island has long been a hotbed of exclusivity and luxury, with some of the biggest names in 20th century American industry shaping the landscape. Situated in the middle of the Biscayne Bay with close proximity to both Downtown Miami and Miami Beach, Fisher Island offers the needed proximity to all of the best Miami has to offer, including breathtaking views of both the city and the surrounding tropical landscape.

History of Fisher Island

In 1918, the original island owner, Herman B. Walker, sold the island to the Alton Beach Realty Company, owned by Carl Fisher. Fisher quadrupled the landmass of the island, envisioning it as a place for prime real estate and home to Miami’s elite luxury residence clientele. Fisher ultimately made a legendary trade with William Kissam Vanderbilt II, heir to the Vanderbilt railroad fortune, for 7 acres of land in exchange for his 250-foot yacht, which at the time was one of the most luxurious and sizable luxury boats in the world. 

William increased his holdings on the island and ultimately constructed a $1.5 million private island retreat he called “Alva Base,” named after his mother. Following Vanderbilt’s death in 1944, Rosamund Vanderbilt sold the estate to Edward S. Moore of U.S. Steel.

Moore’s portion of the island was eventually sold to Garfield Wood (aka Gar Wood) the “Speed Boat King.” Gar would spend the next 25 years living on the island and designing electric cars and military boats. Mr. Wood even developed the famous World War II PT boat at home on Fisher Island. The Garwood Lounge, still present on Fisher Island today, was founded by Mr. Wood.

From 1960 to 1968 the City of Miami used a portion of the island as a quarantine station, and the University of Miami used a portion of the island to house its Marine Biology Lab, taking full advantage of the area’s rich ecosystem. In 1971, Gar Wood sold his 13.2 acre estate to an investment group headed up by Charles B. Reobozo. Other tracts were sold to Island Developers Ltd, who ultimately left the island vacant for about 15 years following the sale.

Finally, in 1987, the Fisher Island Club opened, bringing new life, money, and investment interest into the real estate. As Miami boomed during the 1980’s, Fisher Island soon gained a reputation as a tranquil and luxurious sanctuary from fast-developing South Florida neighborhoods. Ultimately, the Fisher Island Club assumed control of the island and placed 60 million dollars worth of development into the original site of the Vanderbilt mansion. The island is now home to some of Miami’s most luxurious properties and is one of the wealthiest ZIP codes in the country.


Fisher Island Today

As of 2019, the island is home to 197 households, 383 people, and 807 total housing units. Much development and redevelopment has occurred since, but it is safe to say Fisher Island is exclusive and will likely always be exclusive, given its land area and tradition of providing elite luxury properties in South Florida. The island has a mix of families and single residents all with a median income of over $2.5 million per year. The Island also has the Fisher Island Day School, an elite pre-K to 5th grade institution for both on-island and off-island residents.

The exclusive Fisher Island offers access by ferry for both passengers and luxury vehicles. The island is home to a robust security detail, which prescreens visitor names and offers guarded and gated access to most private property on the island. Perfectly situated as a boater’s paradise, Fisher Island has long been regarded as one of the best places in South Florida to dock your mega yacht or large vessel. Some residents of the island even reside on their boat year-round, but still must pay exorbitant docking fees to some of the area’s most exclusive yacht clubs. 

Living on the island today requires a premium, and not just in property tax and amenities. Permanent residents and property owners must pay around $30,000 per year to help cover the costs for operating and maintaining the ferry system, as well as the lush landscaped grounds. Despite the exclusivity and expense of owning property on Fisher Island, it is increasingly becoming more available to new residents as development continues and property styles diversify. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the nation’s wealthiest ZIP code and look over Miami from the vantage point of the elite!


The Fisher Island Club

Unique to the island is the Fisher Island Club, Miami’s most exclusive and elegant private club. The club is home to a five-star hotel as well as select permanent residence opportunities for pre-qualified members. The Fisher Island Club has set the standard for beach clubs, spas, and luxury living across South Florida by offering a boater’s and sportsman’s paradise, world-class spa and fitness facilities, a seaside, PGA certified golf course, and a lavish Racquet club featuring 18 courts on three different playing surfaces. Additionally, the entire grounds are landscaped with lush green hedging to ensure privacy and shade from the afternoon sun.

Even more fascinating is how the site of the former Vanderbilt mansion on Fisher Island has been converted into a luxury hotel and is often regarded as one of the best small hotels by magazines such as Conde’ Nast and other style and hospitality publications. The Club’s beautiful private villas, cottages, and suites provide its guests with beauty, comfort, and extraordinary style.

The clubhouse at the Fisher Island Club boasts a plethora of dining options, ranging from casual to five-star fine dining. The Club can be used to host elegant parties, weddings, or events both inside the club and outside on the lush, landscaped grounds. The service at the Fisher Island Club is unparalleled, with 24-hour concierge, room service, valet parking, and any request you may have.

The marina at the Fisher Island Club has long been regarded as the best docking place for some of South Florida’s, and the world’s, largest and most luxurious yachts. Ever since the Vanderbilt yacht was parked on Fisher Island, it has long been known as a premiere deep-water marina, boasting depths of up to 15 feet, built to accommodate the largest and heaviest super yachts in the world. With over 100 boat slips capable of accommodating yachts up to 250 feet, the Fisher Island Club is often a popular meeting place for boat builder rendezvous and boating events.


Fisher Island Real Estate and Condos for Sale

Despite being the wealthiest ZIP code in the United States and boasting a long history of elegance and mega-luxury properties, Fisher Island still has a number of living opportunities available for those seeking luxury residences. While the island is home to less than 1,000 residences, there are still a number of opportunities available for buyers looking for all ranges of luxury properties.

Fisher Island is home to multi-level condominiums, private residences, townhomes, and villas. The island also is home to the condominium communities Purolite, Pallazza Del Sol, and the Seaside Villas.

Available properties on Fisher Island range from one-bedroom, 517 square foot dwellings, priced at $499,000 to $20 million six and seven bedroom luxury mansions. Because the community and available real estate is smaller, there are limited options for each desired luxury residence, but Fisher Island still has something for everyone.

Within any of the luxury condominium communities on Fisher Island, it is safe to expect the very best in elegance, design, and amenities. All of the luxury residence communities on Fisher Island represent the very best in high-end living, even for Miami standards. One and two bedroom condominiums on Fisher Island come with full dock and club privileges of the corresponding community and come standard with the best in luxury living. Marble floors, Viking appliances, high ceilings, the best in room furnishings and designs, usually curated by one of the world’s premier interior designers.

Most smaller residences available on Fisher Island are part of a luxury condominium or townhome community. These residences offer all full-time residents with the amenities of a high-end country club. Golf courses, state-of-the-art fitness centers, spas, and 24-hour concierge, are just some of the amenities that are available to full-time residents of the island. Many visitors come from Miami and Miami Beach to enjoy the amenities available in these communities. Additionally, if you own a private residence, the Island is home to a number of concierge services that have been catering to high-end clientele on the island for over 20 years. Even private residences on Fisher Island may take advantage of the country-club style living offered through luxury residence communities, as well as join the Fisher Island Club, one of the most exclusive golf clubs in all of South Florida.

Steven Seigel
Steven Seigel has been selling luxury real estate in South Florida since 2006 and has established himself as one of South Florida’s top luxury real estate agents over the past decade. His expertise in the new construction condo market gives him a competitive edge among other luxury realtors. His markets of expertise include Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. Steven started out working on acquisitions and dispositions of commercial real estate at Marcus & Millichap. It was here that he honed his skills evaluating and analyzing investment grade properties.
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