South Beach's 10Best hotels boast comfort, charm, and plenty of class

While Miami is one of our nation's largest cities, when most outsiders think of it, what they're truly picturing is the opulence of South Beach. This glimmering little sliver on the Atlantic coast has been the prime lure for tourists for decades, and it's no wonder. There are sandy beaches and beautiful people, award-winning restaurants and bars on every corner, and there's always something going on no matter what time of day it is. That's why any visitor looking for the perfect SoBe getaway would be wise to book a few nights in one of the many Art Deco-inspired hotels in the area.

Folks wanting to experience the rich nightlife of the area may want to spend some time at a hotel like the Shore Club, which frequently hosts world-renowned DJs and excellent parties that draw in the cream of the crop (including plenty of celebs). The W is another locale that accommodates those who love a good time, and also want proximity to the beach.

If you don't necessarily want to find yourself directly on Ocean Drive (maybe you've been there, done that), there are certainly other options as well. Try the Z Ocean Hotel for a romantic getaway for two, or even the Mondrian, which allows for more privacy on a quieter part of SoBe. The Mondrian faces west, offering gorgeous views of the city's skyline, proximity to the MacArthur (in case you want to go mainland), and breathtaking sunsets.


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 South Beach because: For those who desire a dose of wellness with their stay, the Standard is unbeatable. Fitness classes, acupuncture, organic meals; you name it, they've got it.

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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 South Beach because: This luxurious, eco-friendly hotel includes personalized beach services, a rooftop terrace, a glass-bottom pool, phenomenal in-room spa services, and proximity to sunny South Beach.

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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. Next door check into the Exhale Spa for all your mind and body refresher needs. Facilities and services are top-notch, as you'd expect, including the hotel's three restaurants - the ever popular Lure Fishbar, Bar Collins and the Floribbean-style Preston's. Local products carried here include favorites such as Panther Coffee, Bee My Honey, Azucar Ice Cream, Miami Rum Club and Zak the Baker to name a few.

Recommended for South Beach because: Loews is yet another iconic South Beach fixture whose recent renovations have made it even better, including cabanas, a spa, an award-winning restaurant. Need we say more?

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Opened just over half a decade ago, the SLS has built a reputation for being one of the premier hotels and destinations on Collins Avenue. Ritzy without being stuffy, the SLS is home to 140 luxurious rooms and villas, as well as a slew of restaurants and amenities that will make you wonder why you'd ever want to go back home. There's The Bazaar by famed activist chef José Andrés, Katsuya run by Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi (along with the highly acclaimed Dragon Lounge), the indoor/outdoor Hyde Beach Lounge, and, well, you get the picture. Freshen up in Heaven (that's their salon), or soak up some sun or de-stress in the poolside cabanas, and then ask if you can stay just one more night.

Recommended for South Beach because: While the posh SLS has not been around as long as many others on this list, it's worked hard to prove itself worthy.

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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 showerheads, 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 South Beach because: For those who want to stay on SoBe without dealing with the usual Ocean Drive crowds, the opulent Mondrian hotel offers all the perks.

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The Delano has been a fixture on South Beach for decades, and all the while, it has enjoyed a reputation for being among the best luxury hotels on Collins Avenue. This chic boutique designed by Phillipe Starck boasts a fun and flirty atmosphere, complete with drinking and dining options (Umi Sushi and Sake Bar, Leynia, and the Rose Bar) so you can eat and mingle every night of the week during your stay. Of course, you're free to go off-site as well. There's plenty to see and do all over South Beach after all, but we think this vibrant beachside property offers plenty even without straying. In fact, sometimes all you have to do is go up as there's a picturesque rooftop spa that'll have you feeling lighter than air in no time at all.

Recommended for South Beach because: From high-caliber dining to unparalleled cocktails, beautiful guest rooms and impeccable service all around, the Delano continues to be among South Beach's finest hotels.

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Shore Club
Photo courtesy of Morgans Hotel Group

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, 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.

Recommended for South Beach because: Between their immaculate accommodations; superb rooftop spa; elevated infinity pools; and highly coveted nightlife scene (hello Skybar); you'll wonder why you ever considered anyone else.

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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, and serene, The Setai does not air a constant party atmosphere like much of South Beach; this is a hotel for adults. Awarded a slew of honors from national magazines and outfits, The Spa at the Setai specializes in Pacific Rim-influenced treatments, such as 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 and The Grill at the Setai, boast spectacular global (French, Mediterranean, Asian) cuisine and an expansive bar, while the beach bar provides cocktails by pool and beach. 24-hour room service, a fitness center, swimming pools, yoga and tai chi add to guests' comfort and pleasures.

Recommended for South Beach because: The Setai is a luxe hotel for grown-ups who know what they want and how to get. Its the type of place that'll make everyone jealous.

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The Betsy - South Beach
Photo courtesy of Moris Moreno

Amidst the Art Deco landmarks of South Beach, this unique boutique hotel stands apart, given its stately colonial architecture. The 61 rooms and suites are serenely white, with one or two splashes of color, and are furnished with modern upscale amenities. The rooftop deck offers expansive ocean views as well as a Wellness Garden and Spa with a Zen-like setting. Private cabanas and giant sails provide shade and privacy for luxurious, paraben-free spa treatments, including Coconut Hot Towel Facials and Wood Stone Ritual Treatments. The Betsy's owners are philanthropists who are heavily involved in the local and national arts scene. One of the highlights here is heading downstairs to the speakeasy-style B Bar to catch the latest reading or viewing from an artist-in-residence. Following such a double blast of art with a steak and a popover at Laurent Tourondel's BLT Steak, located in the lobby, is simply divine.

Recommended for South Beach because: The Betsy provides a truly unique SoBe experience, blending arts and cultural programming with high-end relaxation that is unmatched by anyone else.

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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 South Beach because: Top-notch dining, proximity to nightlife and culture, and a commitment to sustainability have led the way for SoBe's 1 Hotel to become our top choice.

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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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