So you’re looking for a Miami hotel? You’ve had a fantastic day: you gorged at one of the best restaurants in Miami and you chased that excellent dinner with a couple of hours at a luxe Miami cocktail bar; you partied hard at some of the city’s best clubs, and you may have even had a chance to squeeze in a trip to the beach. You’re drained from all the good times and looking to lay your weary head... Never fear, traveler: from South Beach mega resorts to boutique inn surprises, we have a slew of Miami hotels perfect for you. Check in, rest up, and get ready to do it all again.
Best Miami hotels
Hotelier Ian Schrager’s latest undertaking, a renovation of the landmark 1955 Seville Hotel by architect Melvin Grossman, embraces the city’s changing cultural landscape with a focus on breakthrough art, multidimensional nightlife and haute cuisine. Luring locals and travelers is the glamorous Matador Room, serving Michelin-star-chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s modern interpretation of traditional Latin fare, and the sexy entertainment hub Basement, an adult playground evocative of Schrager’s Studio 54 where bowling, ice-skating and arcade games and dance parties come together under one (low-slung) roof. The Forum further breaks from the hotel convention, reimagining the traditional meeting space, hosting year-round gallery openings and installations among other offerings, while the lobby’s white marble floors and polished, white pearl Venetian plaster walls serve as a nod to the original property’s mid-century influence and “Miami Modern” architecture.
Built in 1954 by modernist god Morris Lapidus, whose dictum was “less is a bore,” the Fontainebleau’s undulating curves and flashy style stood apart from the crowd. Back in the day, it was the pinnacle of excess: the lobby was a sea of chandeliers; a “staircase to nowhere” was built solely so that women could deposit their coats in the cloakroom at the top and make a grand entrance back down to the lobby; and air-conditioning was cranked up to protect all the mink coats. The Rat Pack, Elvis and Marilyn were regulars. After its fortunes began to fade, a consortium of architects joined forces to recapture its former glory, and gave the most famous hotel in Miami Beach a billion-dollar facelift. Reflecting the Las Vegas-ification of Miami, the “new” resort boasts 1,500 rooms; the first U.S. branch of Hakkasan, London’s glam Chinese restaurant; the Scott Conant-helmed Scarpetta; two steak concepts from famed chef Michael Mina, StripSteak and Michael Mina 74; and celeb-fave, nightlife spot, LIV.
An oasis in a veritable lodging desert, Turnberry Isle Miami offers travelers seeking a luxe resort north of Miami Beach a place to relax away from the bustle—yet it’s still a 20-minutes drive from South Beach if you happen to change your mind. Rooms are comfortable and spacious, like the property itself, which boasts over 300 acres comprising tennis courts, golf courses, top-rated restaurants and one of the city’s few optimal wellness facilities. Offering traditional services and functional medicine treatments, the spa’s menu runs the gamut from ayurvedic massage to hormone therapy to acupuncture to lymphatic drainage. There’s also a full-service salon for a post-spa, pre-dinner blowout before walking over to Corsair by Scott Conant for a seasonally inspired meal paired with views of the resort’s Miller Golf Course.
There’s no escaping the beach when you book a room at this commanding beachfront property, which sits on an entire city block. The nature-inspired interiors bring the sea inside via reclaimed wood structures and a neutral color palette with sandy tones and beachy (off) whites dotted with foliage. The vibe is decidedly Zen, more Martha’s Vineyard than summer in the Hamptons, but at night the sense is that you’re back in South Beach, where a stylish rooftop pool and bar gives way to one of the city’s best rooftop parties, lasting way into the wee hours.
SLS South Beach is home to stylish accommodations, highly acclaimed fine dining venues and nightlife, and impeccable service. The Art Deco, oceanfront hotel features 140 guest rooms and suites whimsically designed by the imaginative Philippe Starck, two large pools where guests may soak up the sun, and direct beach access. The Bazaar by James Beard award-winning chef José Andrés serves sophisticated Spanish cuisine with a lively twist, and Katsuya by Chef Katsuya Uechi brings redefined Japanese flavors with a touch of American culture. Guests can indulge in cocktails and music at the hotel’s playful indoor and outdoor space, Hyde Beach, which is host to the city’s best pool parties and nightlife entertainment. The hotel’s estimated 25,000 square feet of flexible and multifunctional areas accommodates private meetings and special affairs of various sizes.
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, as well as arts and cultural programming for enlightened travelers and locals. You won’t find bathtubs full of mineral water and rose petals here, but you will find charming little touches, such as a bookmark with poems left on your pillow in lieu of chocolates, Malin+Goetz goodies in the bathrooms and a 20- to 30-book library in each of the 61 guestrooms (the hotel also provides a book bag for easy transport to and from the beach). 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 and is home to Miami’s only open-air rooftop spa. The on-site restaurant, BLT Steak, is a New York City transplant that serves up some of the city’s best slabs of beef.
Royal Palm South Beach (formerly the James Royal Palm) aims to distinguish itself among the sea of hotels that lines 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 Byblos, the first U.S. outpost of the Toronto-based Mediterranean restaurant. The Coffee Bar—which uses the hotel’s original green, glass reception desk as its counter—serves up a small menu of organic juices, pastries, coffee and domino sets, should the competitive spirit strike you.
One of the coolest hotels on Miami Beach isn’t on the beach at all. But the Standard, a Florida offshoot of André Balazs’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.
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, and boasts the most scenic views of Biscayne Bay and the Downtown Miami skyline. 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, 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 recently renovated pool deck and Sunset Lounge, which is the place to be Monday through Friday during happy hour, when the sun sets over Miami and drinks are two-for-one. Have your camera ready—you’ll want to snap pics of this.
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 homey 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. 27 Restaurant, the adjacent locavore concept from Bar Lab, serves up dishes inspired by Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.
A majestic monument to the Gables of the Florida boom years, the Biltmore boasts a 300-foot bell tower modeled after the Giralda in Seville, as well as one of the largest pools in the U.S. 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—think flowing Champagne, oysters and more. The only drawback is the lonely location, but isolation bodes well for a peaceful vacation.
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 Story nightclub—popular with international DJs and fans of electronic dance music. 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.