With entire blocks of hotels on Ocean Drive and nearly every other lodging in South Beach within a few blocks walking distance of the water, the question comes down to this: What is it you really need?
For instance, if you're a writer or other creative, and seek inspiration and community, you'd do no better than to book at few nights at the The Betsy Hotel. Known for its commitment to the humanities, you'll find everything from live music and open mic nights to a dedicated writer's room and a rotating art gallery.
But what if what you're really searching for is the ultimate in South Beach night life? Your best bet then would be to check in to the Shore Club South Beach, with a reputation for being all about the high-end party life. Between its multiple indoor-outdoor clubs and bars, and the world-famous Nobu restaurant on-site, it'll be surprising if you ever even make it to your room.
Then, of course, there are those who seek the kind of opulence most only dream of. For the vacationer whose taste in luxury knows no limits, we suggest a place like the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach or the The Setai Miami Beach. You'll find all your needs met, plus more pampering than you ever thought possible, at these grandiose hotels. Figure out what it is you're looking for in a hotel and then consult the full list below before making your reservation.
Edgewater South Beach
This gorgeous hotel will transport you from the excitement of SoBe nightlife to a peaceful Mediterranean villa. Just take the elevator up to the roof and listen to the crash of the ocean waves just a few feet away to see what we mean. You'll instantly forget that Mangoes and the Clevelander are just a few blocks up the street. It's the perfect place for a local to staycation for a honeymoon or anniversary. It's also perfect for the tourist who still wants a good night's sleep and a bit of pampering with their South Beach experience. With superior service and sumptuous accommodations, the Edgewater guarantees an excellent hotel experience at somewhat more affordable prices than some of its more grandiose neighbors. Guests enjoy gourmet breakfasts daily, beach towels and chairs for when they want to take a dip, and complimentary drinks on the rooftop to kick off their evenings.
The Angler's Boutique Resort
Located on bustling Washington Avenue, this hotel is decidedly reserved, and yet manages to stand out completely. Nightclubs and restaurants surround the property, but with only 45 suites, this classically chic hotel is a welcome break from the fluorescent trance of the Art Deco District.
Back in the day, the Angler's was a haunt for Ernest Hemingway, among others. Today it's a favorite for guests who prefer an understated but luxurious suite life, complete with full-size sofa, coffee table, books, 400 thread count Egyptian cotton linens, entertainment center, surround sound system, and and mini-bar.
The signature restaurant, 660 at The Angler, makes wonderful use of fresh, seasonal and local Florida ingredient with a Mediterranean influence. Dinner and weekend brunches tend to be popular with nearby residents. Reserve a table ahead of time.
Crowne Plaza South Beach - Z Ocean Hotel
The Crowne Plaza Z Ocean Hotel may not look like much from the outside, but rest assure that looks can be deceiving. The list of reasons to stay here is practically never ending: modern rooms with great sound systems, spacious showers, stylish kitchen features, marble floors, soundproof sliding glass doors and windows, and, oh yeah, private rooftop jacuzzis with ocean views that you can access from your suite's balcony. Centrally located in South Beach, you can walk to everything from the Z (including the ocean), so forget the car and immerse yourself in the Miami Beach lifestyle. This hotel makes for an unbelievable romantic getaway, but friends and even family will be more than happy to stay and get pampered here as well.
The Raleigh Hotel
This immaculately restored Art Deco hotel opened in 1940, and retains the original terrazzo floors and updated period decor. In keeping with the restoration, rooms and main seating areas are furnished with vintage-style wicker and teak furniture. Many state-of-the-art amenities have been incorporated into the rooms, including bedside remote controls with programming in 6 different languages.
The hotel is rightfully famous for its swimming pool, oft-called the most beautiful in America. Completely enclosed by tropical foliage, the Raleigh Pool is where many of Esther Williams's swim scenes were filmed, and it's so tempting many guests never leave it, despite the fact the hotel is situated right on the beach. An on-site restaurant, opened in the fall of 2012 under the auspices of James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz, accompany a coffee bar and lounge.
This trendy Ian Schrager-managed property has a super-hip pool and bar scene. Skybar, the umbrella for several indoor-outdoor settings that include Redroom, Redroom Garden and Rumbar, is so celebrated, along with signature restaurant Nobu, that it's easy to forget that the Shore Club is actually a boutique hotel as well.
Decor, both inside and out, ranges widely: French Antique Napoleon III slipper chairs covered in silk jostle Italian tables on Mexican tile, complemented by African throw pillows. Meanwhile, tropical landscaping, featuring flowering bougainvilleas, and throbbing beats from world-renowned DJs add an exotic feel.
With all this going on, and the beach, too, you probably won't want to spend much time in your room, but here's a rundown - all rooms and suites are comfortably austere and equipped with high-speed Internet access, BOSE Wave CD player, mini-bar and Egyptian cotton linens.
The Standard Miami
This hotel, just off the eastern end of the Venetian Causeway, provides a welcome retreat. Guest rooms are equipped with flat-screen TVs, high speed Internet, bathrobes, "Kiss My Face" bath products, a mini-bar filled with organic snack foods and outdoor living room with a soaking tub.
Without doubt, the spa facilities are the highlight of the hotel. Calling itself a "hydrotherapy playground," the Standard takes "the ritual of bathing, which enlives both mind and spirit," seriously. To that end, there are steam rooms, cold rain showers, a Roman waterfall hot tub, a mud lounge, a falling water column, Arctic plunge, a sound shower and an infinity pool.
Integrated wellness is also offered via workshops and retreats, fitness services including yoga, pilates and paddle boarding classes, a gym, acupuncture, juice cleanses and self care clinics. Among other amenities are the Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill, a lounge, and 24-hour room service.
Loews Miami Beach Hotel
With the beach on one side and busy Collins Avenue on the other, you'll never be far from the action when staying at the Loews. An oceanfront pool and private beach are big draws, highlighted by the hotel's SOAK cabana program, which comes with personalized butler service, sunbeds, an air-conditioned suite with more technology than your home, and so many luxuries you might choose to spend the night here instead of your room.
Facilities and services are top-notch, as you'd expect, including the hotel's three restaurants - Sushi Sobe and the Floribbean-style Preston's among them - and luxe cocktail lounges.
The Betsy Hotel
Amidst the Art Deco landmarks of South Beach, this unique landmark hotel immediately stands apart, given its stately British Colonial architecture. The 61 rooms and suites are serenely white, with one or two splashes of color, and are furnished with the appropriate upscale amenities.
Located on the rooftop, The Deck offers expansive ocean views as well as a Wellness Garden and Spa. Private cabanas and giant sails provide shade and privacy for luxurious, paraben-free spa treatments; the concierge can help you arrange mani-pedis, Coconut Hot Towel Facials, even Wood Stone Ritual Treatments.
The Betsy's owners are philanthropists who are heavily involved in the local and national arts scene, and they sponsor poets, writers, artists and musicians 365/24/7. Visit their speakeasy-style B Bar to catch the latest reading or viewing from an artist-in-residence.
Overlooking the oceanfront on South Beach, this stylish hotel, easily one of the most stunning designs on South Beach, is flanked by a 40-foot tower and beautiful Asian-inspired courtyard. Very exclusive, private, serene and sedate, The Setai does not air a constant party atmosphere like much of South Beach; this is a hotel for adults--especially ones who enjoy spa treatments. Awarded a slew of honors from national magazines and outfits, The Spa at the Setai specializes in Pacific Rim-influenced treatments, including Ancient Balinese Massage and Thai foot reflexology.
Luxurious rooms come equipped with flat-screen TVs, espresso machines, bar, and Acqua di Parma bath products. Impressive on-site dining venues, the Restaurant with a showcase kitchen and The Grill at the Setai, boast spectacular global cuisine and an expansive bar. 24-hour room service, a fitness center, oceanfront swimming pools, yoga and tai chi add to guests' comfort and pleasures.
Ritz-Carlton South Beach
The Art Moderne-style Ritz-Carlton is a gorgeous 1950s-era oceanfront property, highlighted by a stunning pool and an innovative full-service spa. The resort offers cheeky amenities such as a tanning butler - a nice-looking young man with a holster of sprays and lotions draped around his Speedo - and there's always something going on here, whether it's a fashion show for Swim Week or a party to celebrate one of the local magazine issues.
Guests can enjoy three upscale restaurants - one of which, the DiLido Beach Club, offers beachside dining - and three lounges, including the Lapidus Lounge, named for famed Art Deco architect Morris Lapidus, who designed the original building. Bistro One LR features fare inspired by the Spanish Riviera. Plus there's 24-hour room service, and the South Beach dining and entertainment scene is just steps away.
About Priscilla Blossom
Pris Blossom is a freelance writer and feminist mama with a love for travel, writing, music, film, craft beer, yoga, museums, cultural anthropology, and her awesome kid.
She spent the bulk of the past decade taking trips on a whim, falling in love with and in such places as New York City, New Orleans, and a large portion of Nicaragua.
In 2011, she took off on her own and traveled around the U.S. via bus, bunking with strangers thanks to the power of CouchSurfing. She is currently writing a novel about this.
Read her words at PrisBlossom.com.
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