This is not your grandfather's Ritz. The former deco landmark is a deluxe addition to South Beach and for a chain hotel it feels young, heck, even vibrant. A whopping $200 million was thrown into the restoration of this MiMo classic, designed in 1953 by Morris Lapidus and Melvin Grossman. The revamped version is a beauty, featuring custom-designed contemporary Venetian glass and stainless-steel light fixtures, a curved wall of polished cherry wood, original black terrazzo floors. All the big pluses that you expect from The Ritz are here: exceptional service, comfortable yet elegant rooms and amenities galore, with the bonus of the beach on your doorstep.
If South Beach is too manic for your tastes and you prefer a more Caribbean-style escape, the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne (455 Grand Bay Drive, 305 365 4500) is a beachfront haven for the likes of Brad Pitt, John Travolta and other stars who want to escape the South Beach paparazzi. Even if you don't stay there, its open-air beachfront restaurants - including the breezy Mexican eaterie Cantina Beach - offer an idyllic setting for a meal.
With only 88 rooms, the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove (3300 SW 27th Avenue, 305 644 4680) is the most intimate of the three properties. The beach is a bit of a hike from here, but the bayfront setting, with two acres of tropical gardens, makes up for it, and it's handy for doing business Downtown and chilling out in trendy Coconut Grove.