From Beach Glitz to Urban Ritz, Miami's Hotels Shine

Miami's hotel scene can be described by the same word that describes its climate: hotter than hot. All over the Magic City, you'll find accommodations ranging from the ever-so-shady hourly motel to the world-class, five-star resorts that attract celebrities and business moguls from all over. From Sunny Isles to Coconut Grove, there are hotels for every taste and budget in Miami. While some places may simply offer perks like airport shuttles and fitness centers, you'll quickly discover that in many Miami hotels, it's just as easy to find everything from poolside cabanas and private hot tubs to in-room spa treatments and fine dining experiences.

Art Deco boutique hotels like The Betsy boast proximity to the fast-paced nightlife of South Beach while giving their guests all the comforts of higher-end hotels at a fraction of the cost. Each of these hotels has its own personality and therefore attracts a different type of guest altogether, from life-of-the-party jetsetters to poets and artists looking for inspiration among the neon lights of Ocean Drive.

High rises abound on Miami's Midbeach and North Beach neighborhoods, but there is only one hotel that always stands out above the rest: The Fountainbleau. With its decades of notoriety as a prime spot for celebrities and film shoots, not to mention its above-the-rest accommodations, dining choices, and on-site nightclub, it continues to be the preferred hotel in our metropolis.


East Fort Lauderdale
Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach
Photo courtesy of John Cameron

Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach hotel sits on an ideal spot centrally located along seven miles of Fort Lauderdale's golden coastline, across from the tranquil Hugh Taylor State Park and the beautiful Bonnet House and Gardens. Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach is an AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel features heavy on amenities and accommodations for all group sizes. The Penthouse level, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the beautiful beaches of Fort Lauderdale and the Atlantic Ocean is perfect for all events. For those looking to incorporate the fresh ocean air, they can host their meeting or events in the oceanfront Breeze Terrace on the second floor. Many rooms have floor to ceiling ocean views while corner units offer park views too. All offer top quality bedding and amenities and nightly free snacks,that can be eaten poolside where you'll find a cute bar with excellent small plates and drinks including a welcome cocktail.  

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The perfect beachside location near top restaurants, a beach Trolley and great shopping.

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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.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Great service and even better amenities, including private rooftop jacuzzis, are what make the Z Ocean Hotel completely worth it, especially for couples.

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Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, South Beach
Photo courtesy of Priscilla Blossom

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.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Rooftop brunches, warm and cozy rooms, and its calm Mediterranean persona despite its proximity to SoBe nightlife make the Edgewater worthy of this list.

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Mandarin Oriental, Miami
Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Miami

For the ultimate posh hotel experience, the Mandarin Oriental is out of this world. Your every wish is granted at this five-star stunner, whether you are completing an important business transaction or simply looking for the ultimate experience in relaxation. The full-service spa offers opulent treatments including massage, wraps, facials and pedicures. Or pamper yourself in your private marble bath stocked with only the finest products. Business travelers will appreciate the high-speed Internet access, multiple dual-line phones (including a cordless one to take out on the balcony), separate sitting area and a personal safe. All 327 guest rooms will leave you speechless. Valet parking is just $32 a day.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Whether you're in the Deluxe Skyline View Room or the Oriental Suite, the minute you see your room, you won't want to leave.

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Original art, oceanfront gardens, and rooms with a chic urban vibe combine to make The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour one of the top hotels in Miami. A highly desirable Collins Avenue address puts Miami's finest shopping just moments away; the resort's 10,000 square foot spa is heavenly and the cleverly named Mister Collins Restaurant serves "made from scratch" American cuisine. Book any of their 124 rooms and enjoy private terraces and floor-to-ceiling windows with ocean and Intracoastal views, fully-equipped kitchens, access to their awe-inspiring outdoor heated pool plus luxury cabanas and private jacuzzis. With their Ritz Kids program, your little ones will also be kept happy via kid's book, movie, and video game libraries; kid's mani-pedis at the SPA and even toys and board games. Pets will also receive VIP treatment via the Posh Pet Program. At the Ritz, you and your guests will be treated like royalty.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: From private poolside cabanas to spa-treatments with ocean views to guarantee first-class relaxation, the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour delivers.

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Acqualina Resort & Spa is based in what some consider Florida's Riviera, a stretch of pristine beaches along Sunny Isles. This high-end destination features 188 residences and 98 rooms and suites along 4.5 acres of Miami beachfront property. Within, you'll not only find luxury accommodations, but also, one of the premier spas of the world, ESPA. The restorative treatments, Finnish saunas, crystal steam rooms, ice fountains, and spa cuisine found within Acqualina's Spa are reason enough to visit this amazing resort. Add to that their luxe rooms with breath-taking ocean views, oceanfront fitness room, Yogiiza yoga sessions and three oceanfront restaurants, and you'll know why this is considered one of the best hotels in South Florida.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Ocean-front swimming pools, luxury amenities, a children's Marine Biology program, and their world-class ESPA are among the reasons you need to stay at Acqualina.

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The Mondrian South Beach is situated in Miami Beach's West Avenue. This hotel, designed by Marcel Wanders, offers sweeping views of the Biscayne Bay, Atlantic Ocean and downtown Miami. The Lincoln Road Mall and the Miami Beach Convention Center, as well as several museums, restaurants and shops are also close by. Accommodations at the Mondrian South Beach come in suites and sky terrace apartments. These spacious units are furnished with wireless Internet connections, iPod docks, safe-deposit boxes, desks, clock radios, ergonomic chairs and kitchenettes. Private bathrooms have rainfall shower heads, hair dryers and designer toiletries. The Mondrian South Beach is an upscale boutique-hotel that features a lobby with a black 'floating staircase'. This property provides an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness gym, a full-service spa, a 24-hour business center, meeting/banquet facilities, a concierge desk and tour/ticket assistance. A restaurant, a sunset lounge, a poolside bar and a marina can also be found on site.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: With unbelievable views of Downtown Miami, VIP boat access to Biscayne Bay, plus a world-renowned spa and their Sunset Lounge, the Mondrian wins us over.

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The legendary Fountainbleau first opened its doors in 1954, in a Miami Beach that would be unrecognizable today. What started as an 11-story building with 554 guest rooms is now an epic resort housing 1504 rooms and suites; a 40,000 square-foot spa; 12 restaurants and nightclubs and 20 acres of oceanfront property. Those who book the Fountainbleau know they'll be getting A-list star treatment. Celebrities have visited and stayed at the Fountainbleau since its inception, including Lucille Ball, Judy Garland and Jackie Gleason, and the resort has been used in films such as Goldfinger and even an episode of the Sopranos. Maybe it's the plentiful pools throughout the property, the 30 treatment rooms at the Lapis Spa, or the first-rate dining experiences at places like Hakkasan and Scarpetta that keep people coming back. Maybe it's the chance at meeting music icons inside ultra-exclusive LIV Nightclub. Does anyone need a reason?

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This is the most well-known, widely-recognized hotel resort in all of Miami. No need for additional reasons.

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The Betsy - South Beach
Photo courtesy of Moris Moreno

A lot of bang for the buck, The Betsy offers a SoBe home base that's right on the beach, but also within walking distance of bars, restaurants and entertainment. Although just a short walk from busy Lincoln Road, the Betsy's tranquil, cool environment helps guests forget work stresses and the clutter of everyday home life. Get grounded during one of their complimentary sunrise yoga classes, relax with a rooftop spa treatment, take in some sun on the private pool deck or jump into the Atlantic, found right in the Betsy's front yard. You won't want to leave the Betsy when you find out about their arts and culture programming, including rotating art exhibitions, the best live jazz on all of South Beach, and continuous literary events, including the only writing studio on South Beach, the Betsy's Writer's Room.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Betsy's wholly relaxing environment and strong dedication to the arts makes it a truly unique space in which to stay.

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Built in the mid 1930's, the Setai's handsome, modern look is consistent throughout this gorgeous hotel. A pared-down Asian design sensibility gives guests room to breathe. The landmark Art Deco building is a touch of the classic in comparison to the Ocean Suites at the Setai. This modern, residential, glass building towers over the north end of Miami Beach and is near the convention center, Lincoln Road, shopping, lounges and restaurants. You might have a hard time forcing yourself to leave the property, where your every whim can be indulged, from world-class amenities and private verandas in your suite to blissful pampering at the hotel's spa and the divine nourishment at the Setai's restaurant and grill.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Setai's outer beauty found in its architecture and inner harmony experienced in its rooms and spa will leave you speechless.

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Meet 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...  More About Priscilla