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 cocktail bar; you partied hard at some of the best clubs in Miami, and you may have even had a chance to squeeze in a trip to one of the Miami beaches. 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
The Buenos Aires-based brand has brought its experience-focused hotel concept to Miami Beach, complete with its captivating crimson design and incredible Los Fuegos restaurant. Baz Luhrmann was involved in the concept for the hotel, if that doesn’t say everything, so expect lots of glam and glitz with a touch of irreverence. There are murals by Argentine artist Juan Gatti, an extensive Jeff Koons collection and Damien Hirst’s “Gone But Not Forgotten,” a nearly 10-foot-tall gilded skeleton of a woolly mammoth. Nightlife is unlike elsewhere in Miami Beach, subbing the dancing for dancers and performances at the 150-seat Faena Follies theater.
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 concepts from famed chef Michael Mina, StripSteak and Pizza and Burger; and celeb-fave, nightlife spot, LIV.
With four pools, a restaurant, a rooftop bar and a 24-hour fitness center, there's something for everyone at EAST, Miami. Enjoy city views of Brickell from the 40th-level rooftop bar, Sugar, or taste authentic Uruguayan fares at East, Miami's fifth-level restaurant and bar, Quinto La Huella. Once it’s time to rest, guests will retreat to modern accommodations with walk-in rain showers, 50-inch TVs and a spacious balcony for even more views of the city.
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.
Certain members of the bling dynasty—Will Smith and Mary J. Blige, to name but two—apparently count the Mandarin as one of their favorite places to chill. It’s far from low-key, however: $100 million was needed to construct the hotel on a small island adjacent to the city’s financial district. Rich fabrics and modern furnishings decorate the rooms, many of which have balconies. Bathrooms are clad in Spanish marble, and some of the suites have their own kitchens. An expansive spa, state-of-the-art fitness center and beach club contribute to the lavishness. There are two restaurants, La Mar by Gastón Acurio and Azul, plus the lovely Mo Bar + Lounge.
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.
Get all the perks of a luxury South Beach hotel—pool, beach access, lounge chairs and more—without the high price of a waterfront property. Guests have their pick of rooms from a cluster of Art Deco buildings that together make up the Washington Park Hotel. Looking to lounge? Kick back in the "front yard," where hammocks and lawn games make you feel right at home. The boutique hotel offers offsite amenities like free entrance to the Wolfsonian-FIU across the street and complimentary lounge chairs on the sand (the beach is approximately two blocks away). Also on property grounds is none other than New York City bar and restaurant Employees Only. You may want to rethink room service.
EPIC, a Kimpton Hotel, is further proof of the tourist scene blowing up Downtown. Located on the banks of the Miami River, in the midst of the city’s banking district, the hotel is a popular choice for financial wheelers and dealers. Guest rooms—all of which have balconies, some with city views, others waterfront—are big, and keep things uncomplicated with neutral tones and natural wood furnishings. Unsurprisingly, the hotel’s Area 31 restaurant has become the go-to destination for power lunches. And even the most moneyed of travelers appreciate a good freebie: complimentary morning coffee and tea and an evening wine hour are included.
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.