The Richmond was founded in 1941 prior to the outbreak of World War II by Peres Seltzer, an entrepreneur who could see the war coming. A world traveler whose prime business activity was the importation of zippers from Japan, he built The Richmond in anticipation of the cessation of trade with Japan.
As someone who traveled across the Atlantic many times on the French liner Normandie, he envisioned a small Art Deco hotel reminiscent of that great ocean liner. He could also see the need for beachfront hotels, and The Richmond was one of the first to be built directly on the ocean. It was also the first to be air-conditioned after the end of the war.
In keeping with the idea of a "carriage trade" hotel, The Richmond also had its own "woody" station wagon which was used to pick up guests at the FEC Railway station in Miami. Guests were looked after by a "Superintendent of Service", the forerunner of today's concierge.