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Pelican Hotel, Miami Beach 

826 Ocean Drive
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 800 773 5422 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 673 3373
Fax: 305 673 3255
view web site ›'s insider take:

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.

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