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Miami Hotels

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Angler's Boutique Resort
660 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 866 729 8800 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 534 9600
reservations@theanglersresort.com
www.theanglersresort.com

If this 47-room newcomer on the edge of SoFi (south of Fifth Street) is self-conscious about its conspicuous lack of glitz and flash, it doesn't show. The low-key property includes the two original 1930s Angler's Hotel wings plus two brand-new structures. The petite pool area feels like a secret—and with only a handful of plush loungers, this is an unlikely locale for any raucous parties. The slim rooms have all the necessary boutique accessories: a massive flat-screen TV, cheeky minibar offerings (eye mask, condoms, Apple headphones), a contemporary palette of taupe and tan, plus some unexpected perks, like clever inset shelving flanking the beds and a balcony off most suites. The ever-helpful staff take care of everything from providing MapQuest instructions to troubleshooting computer misfires. On the ground floor, Maison d'Azur, already a favorite of homesick Europeans desperate for elegant brasserie fare, is perfect for cozying up over cocktails and steak tartare, while prime outdoor tables are buzzy late into the night.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
The Beacon
720 Ocean Drive
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 877 674 8200 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 674 8200
Fax: 305 674 8976
www.mybeaconhotel.com

This authentic Art Deco hotel is proof positive that peaceful, affordable lodging actually exists along the raucous party stretch that is lower Ocean Drive. You can get a room at the Beacon for under $200, almost unheard of at Miami oceanfront hotels (weekend prices do skyrocket—to $379 and up—in the high-season months of December through March). And you get more than what you pay for. Built in 1937 and renovated in 2006, the 75 rooms are spacious and classic, with white beds, simple Deco artwork, and flat-screen TVs. Cool marble floors and neatly tiled (if small) bathrooms with rain showers make for a refreshing escape from the sticky beach scene. The best views come from the oceanfront rooms on the fifth floor. Interior rooms are about $50 cheaper than oceanfront rooms (and significantly quieter). For such a cheap hotel, it's amazing that there's a small gym and a business center on-site (though unfortunately no pool). And the Beacon has the requisite hang-out terrace and restaurant fronting Ocean Drive, plus a tiny indoor bar for superstrong mojitos. And while it's a nice perk that a basic breakfast is included in room rates, it's a pity that it has to be taken next door in the chain surroundings of Johnny Rocket's instead of on the hotel's infinitely more appealing terrace.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Betsy
1440 Ocean Drive
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 866 792 3879 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 531 6100
info@thebetsyhotel.com
thebetsyhotel.com

Situated on the quieter northern end of South Beach's raucous Ocean Drive, the Betsy Hotel is, in many ways, a fish out of water—picture a Southern belle surrounded by Art Deco divas. Preppy patrons with cardigans slung just so around their shoulders (often with a cigar in hand) conjure the era from which the hotel hails; formerly the Betsy Ross Hotel, the Georgian-style property dates from 1942 and was renovated and reopened as the Betsy in 2009. The hotel's 63 rooms are on the cozy side, but what they lack in space they make up for in style: Dark wood floors, plantation shutters, four-poster beds, and bookshelves lined with interesting tomes hark back to a kinder, gentler era; modern marble bathrooms with TVs built into the mirror are a fun design contrast with the crown molding. Rooms fronting Ocean Drive have iconic Miami Beach views, but the poolside rooms (overlooking a disappointingly small drink of water) are generally quieter. You'll also want to request a room as far from the dinging elevators as possible. The Betsy's demure facade makes it all the more fun to discover the B-Bar, an edgy nightclub in the hotel's basement with reflective ceilings and internationally acclaimed DJs on the turntables. And chef Laurent Tourondel's French-inspired carnivore temple, BLT Steak, is located on the ground floor, in prime people-watching territory. In every way, old meets new in true South Beach form at this pretty hotel—but it's the Betsy's air of the debonair that sets her apart.—Terry Ward

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Casa Tua
1700 James Avenue, South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 305 673 0973
www.casatualifestyle.com

This place is more famous for its beautiful—and overrated—restaurant. The five suites in the Mediterranean villa, on the other hand, are less widely known but altogether a better bet—provided you can snag one. Casa Tua now operates as a private club (Boris Becker and Elle Macpherson are among the founding set), and members get first dibs, so you must reserve as far in advance as possible. It's worth it. The owners, Michele and Leticia Grendene, have lavished extraordinary attention on the rooms, creating deluxe cocoons with overstuffed white sofas, four-poster beds, and lovely, unexpected details—Loro Piana cashmere throws, 200-year-old Chinese chests, '50s Italian chairs. Before you arrive, you fill out a personal amenity list so that your choice of Santa Maria de Novella toiletries is waiting in your glistening, white bathroom (you can buy them and plenty of other things around the house). You also choose grade of sheet, type of flower, scent of candle…it is, after all, "your house."

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Catalina
1732 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 877 762 3477 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 674 1160
reservations@southbeachgroup.com
www.catalinahotel.com

The Catalina is a rock 'n' roll mod fantasy: There's red shag carpeting everywhere, curvy white furniture, and thumping music in the lobbies and out by the pool. The all-white rooms are large and well equipped, with enveloping beds, stereos, gleaming bathrooms, and a chaise; for a few extra square feet—at a slightly higher price—book a room in the hotel's second building (the onetime Maxine Hotel). Best bonus at this hotel? Private nooks in the common areas, where you can steal away with a cocktail or a book. There are art books to browse in the main lobby's mezzanine, and a semi-private garden with squishy chairs and sofas. The only downside is the service, which is enthusiastic but a bit amateurish.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Delano
1685 Collins Avenue, South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 800 555 5001 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 672 2000
Fax: 305 532 0099
www.delano-hotel.com

This onetime icon of Miami Beach, with its Aztec headdress of a roofline designed by Robert Swartzburg, was redone by Philippe Starck with his standard postmodern wit in 1995. The 194-room Delano got a bit soft when the swanky Shore Club opened nearby six years later, but after a lull—and the 2005 departure of founder Ian Schrager—it's now back and fiercer than ever. The sexy crowd is returning, thanks to an 2006 upgrade of the all-white rooms, which brought in everything from plasma TVs to new bedding. A state-of-the-art fitness center also opened in 2007. One other major improvement: Now that it's strictly Schrager-free, the legendarily beautiful but snooty staffers have retained their model-good looks but lost most of the attitude. Just remember to pack something skimpy but fabulous for the scene at the infinity-edge pool.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Fontainebleau
4441 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach , Florida
33140
Tel: 800 548 8886 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 538 2000
Fax: 305 532 8145
fontainebleau.com

"When you create the stage setting and it is grand, everyone who enters will play their part," wrote Morris Lapidus, the original architect of this iconic Miami Beach resort. And Mr. Lapidus's words ring true more than half a century later. After it opened in 1954, everyone from Lucille Ball to Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley checked in. Since emerging from a three-year, $1 billion (yes, billion) makeover in late 2008, Fontainebleau remains an It spot in a town that absolutely loves to be looked at. Two new towers were added during the renovations (bringing the room count to 1,504), and Lapidus's original Art Deco details were restored, including the bow tie tiles in the lobby floor and the legendary "Staircase to Nowhere." Rooms are outfitted in varying shades of off-white, from the ivory leather headboards to the white marble bathrooms to the cream wingback chairs with arc lamps above. Be sure to stay on the ocean side of the resort, where you'll feel as if you're at sea on a yacht, thanks to sweeping Atlantic views from your curved balcony. During the renovation, the stunning Lapis spa was added, with cool gray marble everywhere, 30 treatment rooms, and a 35-foot-long rain tunnel. You'll find the spa near the expansive pool, seen on the big screen in Goldfinger and Scarface; the pool area is surrounded by countless daybeds and leads down to the beach. Nightlife is copious at Fontainebleau, of course. Start your evening fashionably late with a blueberry mojito in the lobby's Blue Bar, where the floor tiles cast an azure glow, then book a table at Scarpetta or Gotham to break bread with Miami's glitziest. LIV nightclub, off the lobby, goes all night most nights. Need we add that you must dress to impress? —Terry Ward

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Hotel Miami
1435 Brickell Avenue
Miami , Florida
Tel: 305 358 3535
Tel: 800 819 5053
www.fourseasons.com/miami

You have to keep faith while entering the sterile lobby of this 70-story office-and-residential tower, but once you get upstairs to the real hotel entrance, you find an art lover's nirvana, particularly if you like the voluptuous statues of Fernando Botero. This addition to the international chain, which opened in 2003, is positioned near the Brickell Avenue business district for the convenience of its largely expense-account clientele. There are perks for leisure guests, too: The Sports Club/LA is a 40,000-square-foot facility, the sixth-floor outdoor swimming pool is atmospheric (as long as you don't look down at the parking lots below), and the Splash Spa offers everything from a Turkish steam room to mojito massages (a lime-and-sugar scrub followed by a rub down). The 221 rooms and suites are decorated in the group's handsome, if generic, international style. A good choice is the 750-square-foot Executive Bay Suite, with its gorgeous view of Biscayne Bay. Expect to run into local executives at the popular 14 Thirty Five martini bar and the poolside Bahia lounge.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Gansevoort South
2377 Collins Avenue
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 866 932 6694 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 604 1000
contact@gansevoortsouth.com
www.gansevoortsouth.com

Much like South Beach's penchant for the beautiful people, this Miami outpost of NYC's landmark Meatpacking District hotel feels more focused on style than substance. Even the scant few fish in the massive aquarium in the hotel's chic lobby appear bored and self-absorbed. The service is friendly if not overly knowledgeable—even basic questions flustered the front-desk staff and managers frequently had to be called in. But everyone is very easy on the eyes. The 334 rooms, too, can feel full of vapid space, maybe because they are among Miami's largest at about 600 square feet: If you like to spread out, this is the place for you. The luxury amenities are all there—400-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets covering ridiculously comfortable beds, iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and bathrooms with both soaking tubs and showers. The room decor isn't for everyone: hot-pink headboards and couches, slightly risqué black-and-white photos on the wall. The hotel has 195 rooms in the ocean-view category (the higher the floor, the better). Deluxe rooms have "city views," which means you can check out the valet queue and some blah buildings. Where the Gansevoort South irrefutably shines is at the 18th-floor rooftop pool, which looks like a liquid catwalk and lures a style-savvy crowd (there's also a ground-level main pool if you just want to catch rays). The highly touted David Barton Gym attached to the hotel is a Moroccan-themed workout world, which unfortunately even guests have to pay extra to use.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hilton Bentley South Beach Hotel
101 Ocean Drive
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 866 236 8539 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 938 4600
info@thebentleyhotels.com
www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/MIABMHF-Hilton-Bentley-Miami-South-Beach-Florida/index.do

This high-rise condo/hotel (in the Hilton stable since September 2007) is in the slightly quieter SoFi (South of Fifth) district at the tip of South Beach, opposite Prime One Twelve. The 109 kitchenette-equipped suites are huge and chintzy, with heavy drapes, quilted headboards, and brocaded bolsters. Some have equally spacious balconies—you'll pay more for ocean views—and generously sized bathrooms. Order breakfast on the outdoor terrace between the two towers; there's a hot tub there, too, if you'd like an early morning soak. An Asian-accented spa opened in 2008 on the fourth floor terrace, where you can have treatments outdoors. And at Gaia Ristorante (opened in February 2009), diners can either order specialties such as rigatoni arrabbiata and veal scaloppine off the Italian menu, or have chef Gaetano Ascione prepare a customized dish.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Beaux Arts Miami
255 Biscayne Boulevard Way
Miami , Florida
33131
Tel: 888 717 8858 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 421 8700
Fax: 305 421 8601
www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/miabx-hotel-beaux-arts-miami

"What time would you like your ice delivered?" That's the question you might find yourself pondering upon check-in here, where seemingly minute decisions take on a heightened sense of gravity. That's because all your other concerns have been worked out in advance via e-mail by the diligent staff. Ensconced on the top three floors of the JW Marriott Marquis in downtown Miami, this 44-room hotel-within-a-hotel couldn't differ more from its larger, business-minded sibling. For starters, there's a private check-in desk on the 39th floor and an intimate guests-only lounge. Swathed in dark brown and white hues, rooms have impressive city vistas from floor-to-ceiling windows, and are smartly equipped with Bang & Olufsen electronics, Illy espresso makers, and iPads. Huge marble tubs and sinks have touch-controlled faucets that illuminate based on water temperature. Venturing to the bustling JW Marriott will provide plenty of other diversions, including a Jim McLean Golf School, a basketball court, and a virtual bowling alley, as well as chef Daniel Boulud's excellent seafood-centric DB Bistro Moderne.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Victor
1144 Ocean Drive, South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 305 428 1234
www.hotelvictorsouthbeach.com

The Hyatt Corporation made a big gamble when it opened the Victor in 2004 as an outpost of hip on sightseer- and weekend cruiser–besieged Ocean Drive, South Beach's original main street. The company manages the property but decided to remain anonymous, so as not to pierce the aura of cool designed by Parisian style icon Jacques Garcia, the man behind the Hôtel Costes in Paris. Garcia has certainly lived up to his end of the bargain: The 89 rooms are plush and lush with red satin headboards; lacquered ebony furniture; and light fixtures that look like crystal jellyfish (continuing a theme from the lobby, where a tank is filled with them). The pool area, with its views right over the beach, is compact but energetic. And while Ocean Drive is becoming slightly more tolerable—the reopening of the Tides up the block helped—as soon as you open your window or step outside, the perpetual spring-break scene interrupts the hotel's contrived cool. Speaking of contrived, the concierge goes by the title of Vibe Manager. But if you want to stay on Ocean—and be just steps from the busiest slice of the beach—this is a good place to do it.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
JW Marriott Marquis Miami
255 Biscayne Boulevard Way
Miami , Florida
33131
Tel: 305 421 8600
email@nws.edu
www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/miamj-jw-marriott-marquis-miami/

It's hard to list the merits of the JW Marriott Marquis Miami without sounding a bit Vegas-esque. There's no casino in this 41-floor downtown property, but the over-the-top amenities include a 10,000-square-foot NBA-approved basketball court (where visiting opponents of the Miami Heat often practice); a golf school with simulators, personal training, and indoor putting greens; a virtual bowling alley; and DB Bistro Moderne, the first Miami outpost of celebrity chef Daniel Boulud. The 313 guest rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views of downtown, Biscayne Bay, Fisher Island, and yachts bobbing in the Miami River. The interiors feature lacquered walnut closets and headboards and original works by Miami and Latin American artists. Flat-screen plasma TVs, Illy espresso makers, and separate tubs and showers in the Italian marble bathrooms round out the comfort quotient. Public areas include a rooftop pool and hot tub, media room with cozy leather chairs for movie-watching, and a full-service Rik Rak salon and spa. You'll be spoiled for choice here, and possibly a bit overwhelmed, too.—Terry Ward

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mandarin Oriental, Miami
500 Brickell Key Drive
Miami , Florida
33131
Tel: 305-913-8383
Tel: 866 888 6780
momia-reservations@mohg.com
http://www.mandarinoriental.com/miami/&kw=general&htl=momia&eng=concierge&src=cpm

Worlds (well, 20 minutes) away from the mania of South Beach, this serene, stylish property on a private island near the Brickell business district has stunning views over Biscayne Bay and Miami's glittering skyline, a man-made beach with Balinese daybeds, a 15,000-square-foot spa, and prime restaurants and bars. The hotel's tenth anniversary in 2010 coincided with an overhaul of the 295 guest rooms, and the updated look stays subtly sophisticated and Asian, with headboards covered in sage green linen, bamboo wall coverings, and a mix of light and dark woods to complement the earthy green-and-white color scheme. Tech touches have been updated, too, complete with flat-screen TVs, Bose sound systems with iPod docks, and DVD players. Happily, the luxurious bathrooms with pale-yellow Spanish tile remain. The most indulgent suites come with balconies overlooking the bay, and the Oriental and the Mandarin suites boast, respectively, a private media room and a spa suite. Service—from the hotel's celebrated Azul restaurant to the spa—is consistently top-notch.—Updated by Terry Ward

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mondrian South Beach
1100 West Avenue
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 800 697 1791 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 514 1500
Fax: 305 514 1800
www.mondrian-miami.com

With a fairy tale–inspired design by Dutch superstar Marcel Wanders, the Mondrian is a sexy outpost of manufactured South Beach hipness. But scratching beneath the still-shiny surface (the hotel opened in December 2008) reveals some serious flaws. Guest rooms—there are 335, total—are large and comfortable, with even the smallest taking up over 500 square feet. All have kitchenettes and whimsical Wanders touches, such as Delft-style tiles painted with modern Miami scenes, boldly patterned rugs and wallpaper, and a chandelier that doubles as a showerhead in the mosaic shower. Unfortunately, that wallpaper was installed with a sloppy hand; doors bang into each other; the room's only full-length mirror is located in the shower; and spartan furnishings (a sofa but no coffee table, for example) limit the suites' entertaining potential. Public spaces fare a bit better. There is much to admire in the lobby, including gleaming white columns shaped like chess pieces and a floating staircase of filigreed black steel. Beyond lie a large bar and lounge, an Asia de Cuba restaurant, and the pool area—by far the most successful design element. The deck's subtle arc faces west, guaranteeing good sight lines and plenty of afternoon sun (on the beach, high-rise buildings often block the rays); its curtained-off seating areas, set up like outdoor living rooms with large floor pillows and red rococo chairs, are terrific for socializing. The scene at night, particularly on Fridays, is enjoyably boisterous…despite the abysmal service. Even by South Beach's diminished standards, the staff is slow, clueless, and minimally helpful (friendly, yes, and good-looking, of course—but that gorgeous smile isn't going to help you get a drink any faster). So, should you stay here? It is a great-looking hotel, and the bayside location (unlike its oceanfront brethren the Shore Club and the Delano) makes it a good place to avoid the madness of Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive. Anyone sensitive to lapses in service and design or concerned about value should look elsewhere (rates start at $495 in high season, and extra charges, like $37 a day for parking, are brazen). —Peter J. Frank

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
One Bal Harbour Resort & Spa
10295 Collins Avenue
Bal Harbour , Florida
33154
Tel: 305 455 5400
www.oneluxuryhotels.com

The One Bal Harbour (formerly the Regent) feels a universe away from the over-the-top nightclub-in-the-lobby atmosphere of its competitors in Miami Beach—and that's exactly how the well-heeled patrons want it. The lobby is hushed and refined, and staff are impeccably professional. Guest rooms are discreet and elegant, with dark polished wood floors, ample workstations, stand alone egg-shaped tubs, and floor-to-ceiling windows (all rooms have a view of either the ocean or the channel leading into the bay). The food stands out throughout the property, from the poolside restaurant (try the chili-crusted fish sandwich with avocado and mango salsa for lunch) to One Bleu, where the lobster with saffron linguini and the crab-crusted grouper are among the highlights. The on-site Guerlain spa is a soothing centerpiece. Beach lovers may prefer the wider expanse of other parts of Miami Beach, and the pool area is rather cramped. Joggers will like the well-lit, clearly marked running path, and shoppers the easy access to one of the best malls in the United States.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Pelican Hotel
826 Ocean Drive
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 800 773 5422 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 673 3373
Fax: 305 673 3255
www.pelicanhotel.com

Finding a room in Miami under $150 a night can be quite a feat even in the off-season, especially if you want to be anywhere near the water. But you can find one—at least off-season—at the Pelican, a stylish 1940s Ocean Drive hideaway that was revamped by Italian clothing company Diesel in the '90s. (Rooms in high season start at $300, still a great deal.) Each of the hotel's 30 rooms is done with a different theme, using garage sale trash-turned-treasure and recycled bits like shower-curtain rods made from the building's original pipe work. Just be aware that each room is vastly different, and you could find yourself ensconced in a bastion of Southwest kitsch as easily as a calming Scandinavian oasis. The Best Whorehouse glows predictably rouge, and psychedelic '60s throwback Love, Peace, and Leafforest has tree-patterned wallpaper for a bed backboard, fuzzy chairs, and plastic butterflies on the walls. While the vintage furnishings never change, there have been upgrades to the amenities (plasma TVs, Geneva Lab sound systems, iPod docks). The original designer, Magnus Ehrland, is also called in to modernize the themes and keep them from looking stale. The hotel attracts European families, fashion types, and even Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia, who is said to be partial to Penthouse One. Called the James Bond suite, it has three bedrooms, an oceanfront terrace with a hot tub for eight, and a master bedroom with views of the ocean filtered through a giant aquarium. The hotel has a very good Mediterranean restaurant in the absinthe-green lobby, and outside the staff will set up complimentary beach chairs and umbrellas, which might make up for the lack of a pool.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Prime Hotel
100 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach , Florida
United States 33139
Tel: 305 532 0553
info@primehotelmiami.com
www.primehotelmiami.com

Few perches are better for Miami celebrity-spotting than one of the Prime Hotel's balconies overlooking Prime One Twelve and Prime Italian, South Beach's of-the-moment restaurants. A block from the beach, the SoFi hotel is the first foray into lodging by Myles Chefetz, Miami's James Beard–lauded restaurateur (Nemo, Big Pink). Open since August 2010, the hotel mixes a subtle rocker aesthetic with cool Miami minimalism. The 14 guest rooms have white-leather headboards, plush king-size beds, glass end tables, white cube lamps that sit directly on the dark wood floors, and a table and chairs on the balcony for alfresco dining. In the bathrooms, there's an integrated sound system that pipes in music, wall-mounted flat-screen TVs, and a fun Floridian reference: dark tiling that resembles alligator skin. The rooftop lounge's diminutive pool, surrounded by yacht-style wooden floorboards and daybed cabanas, is closer to a hot tub but is prime for a plunge nonetheless.—Terry Ward

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Raleigh
1775 Collins Avenue
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 305 534 6300
info@raleighhotel.com
www.raleighhotel.com

One of the most significant buildings in the South Beach Art Deco district, the Raleigh is centered around the area's most beautiful and famous swimming pool—a scallop-edged jewel that was a setting for Esther Williams' aquatic film scenes in the forties and is now the scene of Sunday pool parties. Built in 1940, the 108-room hotel had lost its luster before hotelier André Balazs took over in 2002 and restored the Deco style and élan. Balazs moved on in 2009, but not before instilling the hotel with a cool, laid-back feeling that is rare in glitzy South Beach. With its Old Havana theme—bold colors, rattan and cane furniture, brown-and-ocher terrazzo floors, fluted pillars, and lots of plants and palm trees—it pulls patrons from other hotels down the street. The stylishly eccentric rooms vary enormously; some are frankly on the small side. Why not splash around instead in the tub of the 980-square-foot Esther Williams Suite?

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne
455 Grand Bay Drive
Key Biscayne , Florida
33149
Tel: 800 241 3333 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 365 4500
Fax: 305 365 4505
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/KeyBiscayne/Default.htm

Key Biscayne is barely Miami at all—at least in atmosphere. The island—a bridge span from downtown—is a quiet, moneyed hideout, where starched uniform–sporting nannies wheel their charges along manicured sidewalks. No wonder, then, that the Ritz-Carlton here is equally lush and family-friendly. Set back from the main road, and part of a larger condo development, its 400-plus rooms, many overlooking the ocean, are huge and filled with overstuffed, classic Ritz furniture. There's a roomy spa and several first-class restaurants on the premises, from the rustic Tuscan Cioppino to a Havana-style rum bar overseen by a rum sommelier to a burger lounge on the sand. Of the two pools, the large southern one is for families, and the smaller northern one serves cocktails and loans iPods. The on-site tennis center is a nod to Key Biscayne's obsession with the sport. Given Florida's iffy weather, staying at a Ritz is comforting in hurricane season: If a storm bears down, the hotel will transport all guests (without charge) to another hotel somewhere in Florida to finish out their vacation.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton, South Beach
1 Lincoln Road
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 800 241 3333 (toll-free)
Tel: 786 276 4000
www.ritzcarlton.com/resorts/south_beach/

The Ritz-Carlton company spent $200 million to transform the former DiLido Hotel, an Art Moderne landmark built in 1953 at the foot of Lincoln Road, into a showstopper resort that's a bold step away from the Federal-style-and-Oriental-rug look of its sister properties. Doormen in loose shirts and Panama hats welcome visitors into a lobby decorated in mango, cobalt, and chartreuse tones; an enormous wall of backlit convex mirrors is a great effect. The 375 rooms have a vaguely ocean-liner feel, with bold stripes and dark woods. Best are the six Oceanfront Lanai Suites, just a few grains of sand away from the beach. And proof that this Ritz has a sense of humor, there's a poolside "tanning butler" who applies the appropriate lotions to your basking skin. (We just wish the pool area was a bit larger: There's a daily scramble for lounges.)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Sanctuary South Beach
1745 James Avenue, South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 305 673 5455
www.sanctuarysobe.com

Nurturing and intimate with just 30 suites, this boutique hotel a few blocks away from the crowds and the beach intends to live up to its name. You enter through a Japanese garden and courtyard filled with bamboo. For further relaxation, there's a full-service spa and a rooftop pool with private cabanas. If you need a personal trainer or a private session of yoga—hell, if you need a Gulfstream jet—the concierge will arrange it. The one-bedroom suites are contemporary and sophisticated, each with a terrace and kitchenette, plus all the toys anyone could desire: espresso machine, 42-inch plasma TV, and deep soaking tub in first-floor rooms. Breakfast is included in the room rate. A soothing alternative to the glamazon hotels lining Collins Avenue.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Setai
2001 Collins Avenue
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 305 520 6000
setai@ghmamericas.com
www.setai.com

In a place as devoted to Mammon as Miami, it was bound to happen: an Amanresort. Well, not exactly, but this combination of hotel and residential tower from Adrian Zecha is as gorgeously appointed, as serenely Asian, as quintessentially luxurious as his chain of sumptuous resorts. And as expensive: Rates move well into the four-figure range in high season. Hence the burning question since its opening in 2004: Is it worth it? Perhaps. The place is stunning: While the exterior is Miami Deco (formerly the Dempsey Vanderbilt Hotel, built in the late '30s), inside, it's Shanghai Deco, decorated in brick, bronze, jade, and teak, along with Asian art and artifacts and arrangements of roses as precise as topiaries. The 75 guest rooms and 50 suites carry the Asian stamp as well, with large granite baths, teak floors, and silk coverings—and maybe a few too many pieces of furniture (you can't, for example, tuck the desk chair all the way in). The spa is an oasis with a variety of Asian treatments, and there's an Asian grill restaurant with an open kitchen. The pool area may be the best feature: Three of them, held to varying degrees of temperature, are surrounded by hedged-in seating areas that provide just enough privacy. That's the essential difference here: It's a hotel for grownups, people who aren't interested in parading around the pool or having a party in the lobby. (Here, the socializing is done in a serene courtyard with reflecting pools.) And the service, while not exactly meticulous, may be the best on Miami Beach. So if you're short on patience and long on cash, it's worth coughing it up.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Shore Club
1901 Collins Avenue
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 305 695 3100
Tel: 800 697 1791
www.shoreclub.com

Hotel pools in South Beach can feel like a lifestyle rebuke: You, dear guest, are ten years too old, several million dollars too poor, and countless crunches short of a six-pack. One look around the Shore Club's huge outdoor area—which includes two pools, a hot tub, and enormous lounging beds—will make you wonder: Who are these people drinking Champagne poolside on a Tuesday afternoon, anyway? While the Delano created the mold for what a too-cool Miami hotel should be, the Shore Club, run by the same management group (now sans founder Ian Schrager), charged into the vacuum in 2002 when its cousin's hype wore thin. It's not so new anymore, either, but the Shore Club attracts a sexier, younger (and arguably less sophisticated) crowd, and it's mostly for this reason that you'd choose to stay here: This is your VIP pass inside a music video. Abetting that cause are the outposts of Nobu and Skybar, the alfresco DJ-driven tunes at night, and all those dusky nooks in the garden area. The service is surprisingly sharp and friendly (for Miami Beach); the rooms themselves, 324 in all, are exercises in Miami's cold, hard lines and modern materials. They look good, but they're hardly spacious, and suffer at times from style over substance. For instance, the shower areas are enclosed in floor-to-ceiling glass but invariably drain incorrectly and make the floor sopping wet. All the more troublesome after all that Champagne.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Soho Beach House
4385 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach , Florida
33140
Tel: 786 507 7900
membership@sohobeachhouse.com
www.sohobeachhouse.com

This addition to the portfolio of British private club Soho House has given Miami the whiff of exclusivity it's been missing of late—and it has every conceivable amenity required for a decadent seaside weekend, right down to a hair-straightening iron in guest rooms. A rework of the Art Deco Sovereign Hotel with a new 16-story tower, the 50-room hotel is in what's been dubbed "Mid-Beach," and attracts Miami's media and music heavy hitters, plus a considerable Brit contingent. Interiors mix retro Latino with the eclectic Anglo look for which the group is known: Rooms have Cuban-style tiled floors, leather armchairs, raw concrete beams, Mad Men-esque wet bars (complete with a lemon and a lime), and family-size showers stocked with products from the hotel's spa. Blue-and-white towels cover wide loungers on the strip of private beach (complete with red iceboxes and watering cans to rinse feet) and daybeds by the large downstairs pool, and cabanas flank the eighth-floor plunge pool and cocktail bar. There are two more bars—a Latin-themed lounge serving punchy caipirinhas and a tiki bar abutting the beach—and the lively Cecconi's restaurant does pricey but pitch-perfect steaks and pizzas. The labyrinthine Cowshed Spa takes its name to heart with rough-hewn wooden walls. There's even a small screening room should the weather turn inclement.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Standard Miami Beach
40 Island Avenue
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 305 673 1717
www.standardhotel.com

Owner André Balazs needed to offer some enticement to compensate for his hotel's location, on the bay side of South Beach (15 minutes from the sand). Hence, the on-site, all-access spa that occupies the entire third floor with treatment rooms and a unisex hammam (there's a gym on the second floor). The hammam and sauna provide sybaritic pleasure, even if swimsuits dampen the vibe somewhat: Ask the attendant to run a bath for you in one of the steel soaking tubs in the main room. Around the infinity pool is also a lush place to lounge, but only the brave should dip in the waterfall-fed hot tub then dunk straight into the icy plunge pool. As for the 105 smallish, motel-style rooms, the pale wood and white decor are very Zen; there's even an embroidered cover to tuck over the TV if you want to ignore mod cons. If you forget to mute your cell phone in the lobby, the ubiquitous signs requesting guests to keep voices and beeping gizmos hushed will remind you.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Tempo Miami
1100 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami , Florida
33132
Tel: 877 857 7625
email@nws.edu
www.tempomiami.rockresorts.com

The Tempo occupies the first 14 floors of the 67-story Marquis residence in downtown Miami; it's one of a growing number of high-end hotels opening in luxury condo towers. The 56 guest rooms, which range from 430 to 1,300 square feet, have floor-to-ceiling windows, and all but seven have balconies with views of Biscayne Bay and South Beach. Decadent materials (Italian mink marble and porcelain soaking tubs in the bathrooms, bamboo wood flooring) plus high-style touches (including Herman Miller desk lamps) set the hotel apart from design pretenders. This escape from the South Beach crowd has a rooftop pool with two hot tubs, as well as another outdoor pool with sweeping city views. Amuse restaurant serves small plates and strong cocktails and is a popular after-work spot. There's an 8,000-square-foot spa on site, as well. If can stir yourself to leave the property, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, American Airlines Arena (where the Miami Heat play) and a range of upmarket restaurants are all within walking distance.—Terry Ward

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Tides South Beach
1220 Ocean Drive
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 800 439 4095 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 604 5070
reservations@tidessouthbeach.com
www.tidessouthbeach.com

When the Viceroy Hotel Group decided to renovate the Tides, its iconic Art Deco hotel (and now the flagship for a new resort brand), in 2007, it entrusted celeb designer Kelly Wearstler, known for ultra-glam hotels like the Viceroy Palm Springs. It seemed like the perfect formula for yet another gilt-and-mirrors SoBe party spot. Instead, Wearstler created a spalike oasis, trading her signature Hollywood Regency glitz for a more mellow, marine-inspired look. Inside is all modern elegance: White driftwood sculptures sit atop mirrored Deco credenzas and faux-zebra rugs cover pale travertine floors. All 45 rooms have oceanfront views. The service is also configured for ultimate relaxation: Personal assistants are available 24/7, leaving you handwritten welcome notes, setting up spa appointments, and sending up popcorn and movies if rain spoils your beach time. And although the hotel occupies prime real estate in South Beach party land, the lack of on-site clubs keeps more unsavory nightlife elements a just-far-enough stumbling distance from the front door.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Townhouse Hotel
150 20th Street
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 305 534 3800
info@townhousehotel.com
www.townhousehotel.com

Tucked in the shadow of the better-known Shore Club, the tiny, five-story Townhouse Hotel is a stylish budget gem: The 67 minimalist rooms may be small, but they've been impeccably designed by India Mahdavi with comfy white beds and chocolate-colored sofas. She's also added some fanciful and useful touches, such as a red beach ball tossed on the bed and exercise machines stashed at the end of the hallways. Best of all, the staff is both helpful and affable (a rarity in Miami’s budget boutique hotels). The free Continental breakfast in the lobby is a plus, too—fresh croissants, muffins, and strong coffee—and though there's no pool (just overstuffed red waterbeds on the roof, plus a garden), the beach is just a two-minute walk away.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Viceroy Miami
485 Brickell Avenue
Miami , Florida
33131
Tel: 866 781 9923 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 503 4400
reservations@viceroymiami.com
www.viceroymiami.com

While the Viceroy's Brickell Avenue address in downtown Miami won't appeal to beach-bound visitors, the hotel's Kelly Wearstler design, 300-foot infinity pool (Florida's longest), and extravagant spa create a resort vibe that helps counteract all the boring high-rises. Wearstler's design in the 162 rooms recalls 1920s Saigon with lacquered lattice screens, jade accents, and streamlined four-poster beds. Kitchenettes in each room and plenty of space (the smallest room is 440 square feet) help justify the $500 price tag in high season—and put the Viceroy squarely in competition with the nearby Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons. The nouvelle orientalist look continues in the Eos Restaurant, although the cuisine is Mediterranean-inspired, while the spa (which, like the pool, is shared with the Icon Brickell complex's condo residents) exhibits Philippe Starck's trademarks. In addition to treatment rooms, there is a screening room outfitted with oversize Louis XIV–style sofas and a stunning coed water lounge filled with reflecting pools and Lucite armchairs. So, if you're heading to Miami solely to rock your neon thong on Ocean Drive, the Viceroy won't interest you—but it's perfect for a spa weekend in the sun, away from the posturing of South Beach.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
The Villa by Barton G.
1116 Ocean Drive
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 305 576 8003
info@thevillabybartong.com
www.thevillabybartong.com

It's one thing to walk down Ocean Drive and ogle South Beach's most storied address, the former Versace mansion; it's quite another to slip past the iron gate of this 1930s villa and spend the night. Post-Versace, the property operated as a private club as well as a hotel before one of Miami's most flamboyant impresarios, Barton G. Weiss, took charge in December 2009. The restaurateur and self-proclaimed "experience designer" spent three months shining up the villa's embellishments and amenities, and what a singular batch of luxuries they are. The compound resembles a Moroccan riad, with ten suites surrounding an interior courtyard, a rooftop terrace where you can look down your nose at the South Beach throngs, an observatory, and a pool inlaid with 24K gold tiles. Each suite is bedecked with Versace fabrics and Frette linens and equipped with a personal British-schooled butler to deliver Champagne, press your clothing, and secure you a table at the hottest Design District restaurants. The Villa Suite, once Gianni's private quarters, has two balconies, seven closets, the designer's original 24K-gold shower fixtures, and a custom nine-foot-wide double king bed (the "party bed," quips Weiss). Weiss's creative ambitions also shine on the restaurant's menu, where chef Jeff O'Neill (an alum of New York City's Daniel and Le Bernardin) prepares dishes such as salad with a nitrogenized Caesar dressing and rack of lamb with Greek yogurt jelly cubes—served on Versace china, of course.—Terry Ward

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
W South Beach
2201 Collins Avenue
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 305 938 3000
reservations.wsobe@whotels.com
www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1599

Miami's first W hotel is one of the chain's most ambitious properties in recent years. The 20-story glass tower sits at the northern end of South Beach with a generous stretch of beachfront to itself, and is in perpetual party mode—high heels are de rigueur at all hours, and men wear as much designer bling as their arm candy girlfriends. The entire property has been decorated with a combination of exuberance and restraint. The lobby has double-height ceilings propped up by columns decorated with bronzy metalwork and a tribal art–meets–SoHo gallery aesthetic: zebra print rugs and textured objets d'art against Basquiat paintings and Damian Hirst pieces. Despite the scene—oh and it's a scene—the service is excellent, and the spaces are as comfortable as they are glossy. Each of the huge guest rooms—the smallest is a 600 square feet—comes with a balcony, and the hotel has its own basketball and tennis courts should you tire of lolling around the two swimming pools. Jet-setting locals come for haute Asian food at Mr. Chow, which is patrolled by white-tuxedoed waiters, but Soleá, the more low-key Spanish restaurant, is the better bet. Cocktails are always best by the pool. It's a dream world where flashy cars and speedboats are at your disposal, and lounge chairs call for rhinestone bikinis—in a word, it's Miami.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.