The 15 best hotels in Miami

From boutique to blow-out, discover where to kick back and relax in style with Time Out's pick of Miami, Florida hotels for every budget

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The stylish and economically named The Hotel, in South Beach

The stylish and economically named The Hotel, in South Beach © The Hotel

Miami's best hotels come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you're looking for a cheap and cheerful B&B, a concept hotel or a hip boutique, you'll find it in the city.


Given the city's popularity with celebrities, it will come as no surprise that Miami has mastered the art of the luxury hotel—some of the city's most popular accommodation offers the five-star treatment. For those after a bit of pampering—or looking to counteract the effects of one too many cocktails—the luxurious Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa is a true Oasis tucked, ironically, just off busy Collins Ave. Those with a more hedonistic bent flock to the Mondrian South Beach, where beautiful people abound—its Sunset Lounge is a perennial party hotspot, as is the FDR's speakeasy bar at the gorgeous Delano Hotel.


Some of the best hotels in Miami happen to be Art Deco masterpieces—The Tides South Beach, Dream South Beach and The Betsy are well worth a visit—even if you just drive by to gawp at them. Miami's also home to some great affordable accommodation, from simple bed and breakfasts to back-to-basics hostels. Read on for our list of the 15 best Miami hotels—you'll find a bed to suit every bank balance.


Betsy

  • Critics choice

The Betsy stands out among its South Beach neighbors, and not just because its colonial-style building à la Gone With the Wind is an anomaly in a sea of art deco. Situated on the northernmost end of Ocean Drive (read: the quieter part), the hotel boasts one of the best locations on the beach, with a generous helping of Southern hospitality. You won’t find bathtubs full of mineral water and rose petals here, but you will find charming little touches, such as poems left on your pillow, a pitcher of iced water with lemon by the pool and Malin+Goetz goodies in the bathrooms. The 61 rooms and suites are well appointed and comfortable, if occasionally a little on the small side and—in the case of the pool-facing rooms—missing out on that ocean view. If it’s vistas you’re after, head to the decked roof terrace, which is perfect for a day of baking in the sun or a romantic cocktail as the sun sets. The on-site restaurant, BLT Steak, is a New York City transplant that serves up some of the city’s best slabs of beef.

  1. 1440 Ocean Drive, at 14th Street
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The Tides South Beach

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Possibly the loveliest hotel on South Beach, the King & Grove Tides is a thing of beauty inside and out. A masterpiece of art deco by L Murray Dixon, it boasts porthole windows, abundant stainless steel and ocean liner curves. The interior was beautified by designer du jour Kelly Wearstler, who swapped the old minimalist decor for sensuousness and beachy romance. The stark whites have been replaced by coral, peach and creamy beige; the clean lines have been softened by lovely textures: shag rugs, woven rope chairs, hemp wallpaper and petrified woods. Trumpet shell lamps and vintage brass palm trees add to the ocean theme. La Marea, the Italian seafood restaurant, is adorned with faux tortoiseshells; sip martinis in the outdoor lounge and watch the world go by.

  1. 1220 Ocean Drive, at 12th Street
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Hotel

  • Price band: 3/4

The Hotel has all the right style-mag credentials: it was designed in 1939 by architect L Murray Dixon, and redecorated by clothing designer Todd Oldham in 1998. Formerly known as the Tiffany, it was forced to change its name by the litigious jewellery giant. But it's still one of the coolest joints on South Beach - and still au courant. The mosaic-tiled bathrooms and tie-dye robes lend a whimsical feel to the small but avant-garde rooms. The cosy lobby shows off with polished terrazzo floors and couches upholstered in emerald, gold and ruby velvet. The couture touches extend to stellar house restaurant Wish. The octagonal rooftop pool and Spire Bar afford spectacular beach views.

  1. 801 Collins Avenue, at 8th Street
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Sense Beach House

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

With just 18 rooms, the secluded Sense Beach House is the next best thing to having your own South Beach spread. Located in the quiet South of Fifth neighborhood, the hotel is far enough removed from the bustle of South Beach to make it feel like you’re in your own private paradise, but within easy walking distance to some of the city’s hottest restaurants, clubs and boutiques. World-famous Joe’s Stone Crab is just a few doors down, as is the brand-new Story nightclub. The hotel’s interiors aim to relax and rejuvenate, with a palette of pale blues and soft browns. Rooms feature 46-inch flatscreen televisions, free WiFi and Molton Brown toiletries. Treat yourself by opting for an ocean-view room with balcony. Though the beach is just steps away, the hotel has a lush rooftop pool and terrace, with perfect 360-degree views of South Beach.

  1. 400 Ocean Drive, at 4th Street
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James Royal Palm

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The newly opened James Royal Palm aims to distinguish itself among the sea of hotels that line Collins Avenue by offering unparalleled service. Public spaces and guest rooms are elegant without being ostentatious; taking a cue from its oceanfront setting, the color palette leans toward pale greens, creamy whites and warm wooden furnishings. Rooms—which range in size from 275 to 560 square feet—include 42-inch plasma televisions, complimentary WiFi for all, small work/dining alcoves, bathrobes and slippers, and a nightly turndown service. Some rooms even feature floor-to-ceiling windows or balconies overlooking the ocean. In-house dining options include two of the city’s most popular new eateries: the regional Florida Cookery and global seafood house CATCH, from Top Chef winner Hung Huynh. South Shore—an intimate, guests-only rum bar—serves up a menu of small plates and has table football, should the competitive spirit strike you.

  1. 1545 Collins Avenue, at 16th Street
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Standard

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

One of the coolest hotels on Miami Beach isn’t on the beach at all. But the Standard, a Florida offshoot of André Balasz’s fashionable LA and NYC lodgings, is on the waterfront: it boasts dreamy views of Biscayne Bay from its ethereal saltwater infinity pool. In some ways, the location beats the beach: you still get the sea breeze but without the crowds, and at night the twinkling lights of Miami’s skyline add romance. Nirvana is reached via the outdoor mud bath, massage table or waterfall jacuzzi (there’s a hammam inside the hotel). A Zen-like calm also permeates the meditation garden, complete with fire pit, swings and daybeds. The rooms are chilled too. Combining blond wood walls and white linens, the cabin-like spaces are simple and classy, some with outdoor clawfoot tubs. The lobby, by contrast, is a funky bohemian showpiece, with retro wall hangings, beanbag coffee tables, a driftwood check-in desk and 1960s orange sofas. On the first Sunday of each month, scenesters gather for bingo night. Hip but not haughty.

  1. 40 Island Avenue, at the Venetian Causeway
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Mondrian South Beach

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Sister property to the Delano and Shore Club, the Mondrian distinguishes itself from its siblings most notably by its location, which is bayfront, not beachside. Located in a mostly residential neighborhood (with plenty of restaurants nearby and Lincoln Road Mall within walking distance), this supremely stylish hotel is a great choice for travelers who want first-class amenities without the first-class craziness of South Beach’s main tourist drag. Marcel Wanders designed the hotel to look like Sleeping Beauty’s castle, which in this case means over-the-top and whimsical. There’s lush foliage throughout the hotel, giving it an indoor/outdoor living feel—some of it resembles topiary straight out of Edward Scissorhands. But Mondrian’s most impressive feature just may be its rooftop pool and Sunset Lounge, which is the place to be when the sun sets over Miami. Have your camera ready—you’ll want to snap pics of this.

  1. 1100 West Avenue, at 11th Street
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Freehand

  • Critics choice

Small, intimate and quirky, the Freehand has more character than many of its South Beach competitors. The interior is a whimsical pueblo-deco blend, dotted with vintage pieces from flea markets. Pleasant rooms—choose from shared rooms for four or eight or private rooms for two—offer tasteful touches such as writing desks; indeed, the whole place has a homely feel. Not so retro is the Broken Shaker, the hotel’s bar—which is as popular with locals as it is with guests—where handcrafted cocktails are the drinks du jour. The House, a new restaurant, bar and common area, was about to open at the time of writing—keep your eyes peeled.

  1. 2727 Indian Creek Drive, at 28th Street
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Deauville Beach Resort

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This icon is famous for two reasons: it’s a prime example of Jetsonian-esque MiMo architecture (it was built in 1957 by Melvin Grossman, a protégé of Morris Lapidus); it was also the site of Beatlemania in 1964. Today, it oozes faded grandeur and retro cool (there’s more character in its flamboyant lobby than in many a whole boutique hotel). True, parts of it look distinctly dowdy (chipped paint, dull corridors) and the bedrooms are a bit chainy. But it still bustles and the rooms cost a fraction of designer hotels. And it retains an old Miami feel: the silver-haired Jewish grannies, long banished from South Beach, are still in evidence. The rooms become marginally more stylish the higher you go (the 15th and 16th floors are best; below ten and things are more budget). The seafront balcony rooms offer stellar views: the hotel is near the water and the sands are silky smooth. The Deauville Lounge features live music, a nod to the hotel’s swinging heyday.

  1. 6701 Collins Avenue, at 67th Street
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Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Long considered one of America’s top spa hotels, Canyon Ranch’s Miami location is worlds away from South Beach, both in terms of pace and location (it’s about a 15-minute drive by car). The North Beach location makes sense when you consider the hotel’s goal: a vacation for body, mind and soul. This holistic holiday is achieved with a variety of amenities, including all-suite accommodation, 750 ft of pristine beachfront, a top-rated wellness spa, on-site dining that makes health food taste good (even the cocktails are organic), and a shuttle service to and from the nearby Bal Harbour Shops. For guests more inclined to keep active, there are yoga and Beach Boot Camp classes, plus golf, tennis and surfing all nearby.

  1. 6801 Collins Avenue, at 68th Street
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Dream South Beach

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Art deco glamor meets French Moroccan style, courtesy of designer Michael Czysz, with a result that somehow looks a bit space age. Opened in 2011, Dream lives up to its name by creating the kind of guest room that makes you reluctant to get out of bed. Quarters boast flatscreen TVs, free WiFi and generously stocked minibars. Upstairs is Highbar, a 1970s-inspired rooftop pool and lounge, with comfy white seating and a couple of private cabanas (for those who require yet another flat-screen TV to go with their lounge chairs). On weekends, DJs spin throughout the day and after dark, when the pool turns into a popular nightspot. Downstairs, an outpost of popular New York City Italian restaurant Serafina occupies much of the ground floor (try the white pizza). And all this just one block from the beach.

  1. 1111 Collins Avenue, at 11th Street
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Biltmore Hotel

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

A majestic monument to the Gables of the Florida boom years, the Biltmore boasts a 300ft bell tower modeled after the Giralda in Seville, as well as the largest pool in the US. It’s worth checking in for the history alone. The lobby has a hand-painted vaulted ceiling, and French and Spanish furniture, along with large wooden aviaries containing songbirds. Marble floors, oriental rugs and soaring columns add to the grandeur. Upstairs, Egyptian cotton duvets and plump feather beds add comfort to the period drama. To top it off, there’s a world-class golf course, spa, wine club and sumptuous Sunday brunches. The only drawback is the lonely location.

  1. 1200 Anastasia Avenue, at Granada Boulevard
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Gale South Beach

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

This 1941 L. Murray Dixon-designed tropical deco stalwart received a $35 million top-to-bottom makeover courtesy of Menin Hotels (the folks behind Sanctuary), before its grand reopening in late 2012. Guest rooms recall the 1940s, with streamlined dark wood furniture, silver silk curtains and simple white and blue color schemes; gadgets include iPod docking stations and 55-inch flatscreen TVs. Dining and drinking options keep an old-school flavor; the Regent Cocktail Club mixes up classic concoctions, while the Rec Room evokes a hint of 1970s-style basement playroom. On the roof, there’s a 5,000-square-foot sun deck complete with infinity pool, loungers and 360-degree views.

  1. 1690 Collins Avenue, at 17th Street
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Delano

  • Price band: 4/4

A few newer hotels may have stolen some of its cutting-edge cachet, but the Delano—the designer hotel that put Miami back on the A-list in 1995—is still a South Beach icon. The trendy lobby remains foolishly appealing, even if it does feel dated: think textbook Starck minimalism, complete with billowing white curtains, Venetian chandeliers, and surreal art and furniture. The stark white bedrooms have been spruced up with splashes of texture and color, floating flatscreen TVs and lush white Carrera marble bathrooms. The swimming pool—sorry "water salon"—is ethereal, with its waterfall, palms and celestial bodies, but the posing can be a bit much. The substance matches the style, however, at the fabulous Bianca restaurant on the patio. The tiny Rose Bar also packs in the beautiful people, as does the hip FDR at Delano, a subterranean lounge that mixes old-school glamor with sexy, modern twists. If you’ve come to Miami for South Beach glitz, the Delano still ticks all the right boxes.

  1. 1685 Collins Avenue, at 17th Street
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Palms Hotel & Spa

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Combining old-school Havana, Deep South sultriness and a touch of glam, this boutique hotel is a romantic alternative to the South Beach brigade. The airy lobby feels colonial, with its Bombay-style ceiling fans, wood floors, rattan furniture and lush greenery. On the veranda, you half expect to see a Southern belle sipping a mint julep or a colonial officer with a G&T. Dotted with palms, parrots and hammocks, the gardens are a luscious setting for the pool. The recently renovated guest rooms feature custom wood furnishings and spa-inspired rainshower heads in the bathroom. A spa, stocked with Aveda products, puts you in an unwinding kind of mood. South Beach is a bit of a trek (on foot, at least), but the boardwalk is a lovely way to get there.

  1. 3025 Collins Avenue, at 30th Street
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