One of the questions we receive most frequently is from travelers requesting information on the “best hotels on the beach.” We usually answer these queries with a brief explanation listing criteria such as location, price ranges, and amenities, but now we’ve decided to dedicate this section especially to those visitors looking for the best oceanfront hotels arranged into three relative price categories.
It’s important to keep in mind that room rates in South Beach vary greatly depending on the time of year, where January 15 thru April 15 is the peak season, and by day of the week, where Friday and Saturday are usually the most expensive by far. Room rates can literally double within those periods. So, we’re presenting our hotel recommendations using a three-tier relative pricing scale of $$$$, $$$, and $$, and listing our hotel picks within those relative ranges. And for you poor college students and Spring Breakers, sorry, but there really are no South Beach oceanfront hotels in the $-range.
3201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
Our View… One of South Beach’s most elegant new properties, Faena Hotel is an upscale resort and spa featuring dramatic contemporary art, breathtaking seaside views and award-winning eateries helmed by globally renowned, celebrity chefs. Conceived as a “cultural corridor” in the mid-Beach area from 32 to 36 Streets along famed Collins Avenue, the property incorporates designer shopping, opulent hotel rooms and suites plus an ornate cabaret-style theater. Argentinean developer Alan Faena masterminded the elaborate reinvention of this once-quiet stretch of South Beach where large scale mid-century resorts required billion dollar updates. The completed property encompasses luxury condo towers, a performance and cultural pavilion and upscale retail spaces in the area that once housed The Saxony Hotel in the 1950s. Interior design inspiration in public spaces bears the magical touch of film director Baz Luhrmann and his wife, so guests should expect dazzling surprises at every turn.
2201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Our View… Playful and energetic, the beachfront W South Beach hotel offers contemporary elegance in the center of the haute South Beach scene. Combining artful dining and lounge options, two oceanfront pools and rooftop basketball and tennis courts, the W South Beach is ready for action whenever you are. Host to the pampering magic that is the Bliss Spa and engineered so that every guest room has a truly inspiring view of the Atlantic coastline, this beachfront resort is designed to dazzle, delight and surprise, especially after midnight when the hotel’s Wall Lounge heats up with Miami’s star socialites hosted by South Beach’s top nightlife mavens.
2001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Our View… Possibly the most elegantly appointed beach resorts in town, the Setai’s Asian-influenced design inspires a sense of peace and serenity at every turn. Simple lines, a soft color palette, and streamlined Art Deco motifs create an atmosphere that embraces the past but feels completely timeless. Guests enjoy a choice of dining options from fine cuisine to poolside snacks, a well-appointed spa and three swimming pools overlooking a vast stretch of Atlantic surf.
4385 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Our View… Soho Beach House is a private members club that joins the group of luxe, London-based gathering spots for those in film, media and the creative arts. Access to the posh spa, pool and beach club is restricted to members and those lucky travelers who reserve a room at the new 16-story Sovereign Hotel Tower which houses 50 rooms overlooking the pool, gardens and romantic dining terrace at Cecconi’s Italian Restaurant. In addition to the tanning deck and beachfront pool, the eighth floor of the main building offers guests a rooftop plunge pool which is reserved for adults and serves as an exclusive alfresco oasis overlooking all of Miami Beach.
4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Our View… This Mid-Beach landmark has a storied past and a dazzling future now that extensive renovations bring it up to Las Vegas standards including 5-star dining at Gotham Steak, Hakkasan, Scarpetta plus a host of smaller cafes and bars. Guests enjoy luxurious oceanfront suites, an elegant spa and poolscape with attentive VIP cabana service, and two of the city’s most popular nightclubs under the same roof, LIV and ArKadia. For full resort amenities and a dazzling stretch of Atlantic surf, the Fontainebleau is as good as it gets.
1 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL
Our View… Solid, stately and sophisticated, the Ritz-Carlton South Beach may feel a bit more casual than many in the R-C group, but the seaside location and proximity to the action of South Beach makes the easy breezy atmosphere feel entirely appropriate. Oceanfront rooms and suites overlook a busy pool area and golden coastline where food and drink service encourage guests to do little more than await the gentle attentions of the Tanning Butler. By night, the city shimmers just outside the door, offering countless options beyond the Lapidus Lounge, Bistro One restaurant and the breezy DiLido Beach Club.
1685 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Our View… Sexy and cool, the Delano creates an atmosphere that is both welcoming and exclusive, an adult’s playground in the heart of South Beach. From the bold sweep of the vast lobby space which gives way to a cozy bar, an elegant restaurant and the breathtaking expanse of manicured garden and poolside oasis, everything about the hotel is thoughtfully designed and meticulously crafted by Philippe Starck’s clever team. A rooftop spa and sundeck offer the perfect respite by day and Rose Bar in the lower lobby attracts a who’s-who of beautiful Miami habitués by night.
1671 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Our View… Offering the luxury of space and the proximity to the dazzling South Beach scene, this all-suite hotel is located right at the crossroads to all that makes the city sizzle! Truly a unique boutique experience, the Sagamore offers 93 suites plus lush, two-story bungalows and penthouse accommodations surrounded by some of the most important contemporary art, photography and design. Imagine a hotel that is actually curated by prominent art collectors who appoint the dining gallery and art video bar with ground-breaking works by leading modern artists. The result is a brilliant amalgam of luxury and culture that Conde Nast Traveler placed at the top of their Gold List.
1677 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Our View… Stately and elegant, this Art Deco landmark stands at the heart of all that makes South Beach shine. Steps away from Lincoln Road’s top nightclubs, restaurants and bars, the National maintains the luxurious glamour of a bygone era while providing all of the updated amenities discerning travelers demand. The focal point of the property is the tropical pool and beach club which make choosing an ocean view suite at this meticulously maintained property the easiest part of planning a Florida getaway!
1601 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Our View… Often considered the ideal destination for a family getaway, the Loews is a full service beachfront resort with a dedicated team that knows just what kids want when they travel with their parents. Recognized as one of the Top 10 Beach Resorts by Parents Magazine, kids can attend SushiSKool and learn how to roll their own sushi, enjoy a dip from the house ice cream parlor, check out the poolside kids camp or hang out in the teen lounge which was designed to let them do their own thing while Mom and Dad do boring adult stuff elsewhere!
1775 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Our View… Off the radar but right in the heart of the action, the Raleigh is the hotel you’ve probably never heard of where celebrities and socialites determined to avoid the fashion crowd hide out when they are on vacation. Chic, glamorous and decidedly old world, this charmingly restored Art Deco property has the most iconic pool and beach club on South Beach. Retro in styling and still totally modern, the hotel’s oceanfront rooms offer breathtaking views of the Atlantic surf. Guests can unwind at the historic Martini Bar and then dine on the tropically landscaped terrace at the Royal Restaurant, one of the town’s favorite foodie hangouts.
425 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL
Our View… Currently completing a multi-million dollar restoration, the Savoy returns as one of the best boutique properties of the SoFi (South of Fifth Street) district with 75 luxurious one- and two-bedroom suites overlooking the twin pool deck and the sea. While many Ocean Drive hotels stand at some distance to the ocean, the Savoy offers over 2 acres of tropically landscaped gardens from the street to the beach which make the en-suite balconies the ideal spot to welcome the dawn or toast the end of another perfect South Beach day.
101 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL
Our View… The tiny jewel Hilton Bentley Miami/South Beach stands at the southern end of one of the most fabulous stretches of golden shoreline, moments from the town’s top restaurants, nightclubs and bars. This beachfront oasis offers modern guest suites with flat panel televisions, gourmet kitchens and one or two bedrooms that are ideal for family travelers. The poolside dining room De Rodriguez Cuba is home to one of Miami’s top chefs who brings his particular brand of Nuevo Latino fare to the scene alongside Prime Italian is a restaurant known for prime beef, hearty rustic recipes and more than a few celebrity fans from the Miami Heat.
1801 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Our View… A fully restored Art Deco landmark just moments away from the sidewalk cafes of Lincoln Road, the Shelborne is newly renovated to make the guest experience even better than ever! Offering rooms, suites and townhouse accommodations facing the Atlantic surf, the terraced pool and beach club is a tropical oasis of swaying palms and gentle breezes. Enjoy a poolside sunbed or rent a luxuriously-appointed private cabana where you and your guests can while away the hours enjoying the Florida sun.
1545 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Our View… A truly exceptional South Beach location, the Royal Palm stands at the crossroads of the busy Ocean Drive Strip and the popular pedestrian playground that is the Lincoln Road Mall. No better address for a busy South Beach vacation, this beachfront paradise offers newly updated guestrooms and suites with flat panel TVs and balconies overlooking two swimming pools and a glorious stretch of golden Atlantic coast. Tan, swim, spa and dine at this full service resort or just step out the front door to a boundless variety of top restaurants, nightclubs and sidewalk cafes. 255 tower rooms have just completed renovations as 2011 draws to a close.