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.


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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This secluded 205-acre private island, the former winter estate of the Vanderbilts, is accessible only by air or water, so helicopters, seaplanes, and yachts are common sights. Once on the island, you may never want to leave, and you wouldn't have to. There are seven restaurants and bars, tennis courts, a nine-hole golf course, a full-service spa and health club, plus an array of shops and services. Accommodations are available in a variety of configurations from rooms to suites to private cottages and villas. All are thoughtfully furnished, and all guests receive complimentary golf cart use for the length of their stay.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Nothing says you're vacationing right quite like spending time on a luxurious private island you can only reach be air or sea.

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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 Marriott Vacation Club Pulse (formerly 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 this hotel worthy of this list.

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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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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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The Standard Spa Miami Beach
Photo courtesy of The Standard Miami

Emphasizing beauty and simple pleasures, this hotel, set just off the eastern end of the Venetian Causeway in Biscayne Bay, provides a soothing place of retreat. White walls and linens and blond wood accents characterize the guest rooms, which are equipped with flat-screen TVs, high-speed Internet, bathrobes, "Kiss My Face" bath products, robes, a mini-bar filled with organic snack foods and outdoor living room with a soaking tub. Without a doubt, the spa facilities are the highlight of the hotel. Calling itself a "hydrotherapy playground," the Standard takes "the ritual of bathing, which enlivens 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 Infiniti pool, among other dripping devices. 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 a waterside restaurant, the Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill, where executive chef Mark Zeitouni's organic, unprocessed and wholesome fare wholly impresses, and lounge and 24-hour room service. Meeting space available. Parking valet: $22/day.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This adults-only haven has been a favorite staycation spot for locals for ages, but continues to attract tourists with its dedication to holistic wellness.

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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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1 Hotel South Beach is the one place none of us can stop talking about. This opulent, LEED-certified hotel is walking distance from Collins Park as well as the beautiful Atlantic. Here, you can enjoy eco-friendly rooms complete with reclaimed driftwood walls and Keetsa mattresses covered by organic cotton sheets, HEPA filters, and soft cotton robes and slippers. Grab cold-pressed juice or coffee from the lobby, top-notch dining in several on-site restaurants, or high-end cocktails from the rooftop bar. Work out in the Anatomy Gym or SoulCycle studio, or simply enjoy being pampered at the Bamford Haybarn Spa. Soak in the rays by one of the four oceanfront pools or the private beach. And if you bring your littles along, there's even an on-site facility for them to enjoy their stay while you relax in style.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: With 600 feet of beachfront, four pools, an exclusive private membership program, and stellar spa, 1 Hotel is the place for prestige and quality r-n-r.

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Meet Priscilla Blossom

Pris Blossom is a freelance writer and feminist mama with a love for travel, writing, music, film, yoga, museums, cultural anthropology, and her awesome kid.

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