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Miami hotels

The Miami hotel scene is all about flashiness, luxury, and one-upmanship, a bling-on-the-beach circus that kicked off in 1995, when Philippe Starck and Ian Schrager opened the Delano, and hasn't let up since. Despite the economic slowdown, the building boom continues, with each new property outdoing the last with an even hotter pool scene and an even more buzz-worthy bar. Miami's historic hotels are trying to get a piece of the action as well: The Eden Roc and the Fontainebleau, grand midcentury hotels in Mid-Beach, have also reemerged from multimillion-dollar face-lifts where no stone was left unpolished.

South Beach's iconic hotels have made the area the 24-hour party destination that it is today, and the Delano, the Shore Club, the Raleigh, and newcomers Gansevoort South and the Mondrian promise the quintessential Miami Beach experience and hopping pool scenes to boot. If you care about service and luxury, the Setai is your best choice, followed by the Ritz-Carlton; neither comes cheap.

Indeed, speaking broadly, and frankly, the high-end hotels on South Beach aren't focused on delivering good value for the money: Prices are high but service standards are distressingly low, and style often rides roughshod over substance. There are still budget-friendly hotel options, at least outside the peak (December and January) of the high season (December through March). Art Deco hotels like the Catalina and the Beacon are just steps from the ocean yet offer rooms under $200 a night, as does the Standard. Staying Sunday through Thursday will save you heaps.

If you're not interested in the social maelstrom of South Beach, there are other options. Downtown—where the new Epic and Viceroy hotels opened recently—draws business travelers as well as those focusing their visits on the Design District and the mainland's new cultural offerings. Brickell Avenue is another business hub with a clutch of ultraluxury choices (the Mandarin, the Four Seasons), and Key Biscayne is an island alternative where the beach scene has less energy but no less lucre. In all three areas, service standards tend to be much higher than on South Beach.

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W South Beach, Miami Beach

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...more

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Viceroy Miami, Miami

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...more

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The Villa by Barton G., Miami Beach

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...more

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The Tides South Beach, Miami Beach

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...more

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The Setai, Miami Beach

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...more

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The Delano, Miami Beach

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...more

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Soho Beach House, Miami Beach

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...more

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Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, Miami 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...more

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Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, Key Biscayne

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...more

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Mondrian South Beach, Miami Beach

With a fairy tale–inspired design by Dutch superstar Marcel Wanders, the Mondrian is a sexy outpost of manufactured South Beach hipness. But scratching...more

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

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