Wake up to sea views and sip cocktails by the pool at hotels that could only exist in Miami.
“If you’ve been to one hotel, you’ve been to them all,” was a phrase heard in the 90s when hotels were built in a rush, with little regard for difference. Today’s hotel scene is way different, with properties striving to stand out in any way possible. With unconventional designs, Michelin-starred restaurants, and incredible spas, hotels can now be anything they want to be. Glitzy, coastal Miami is no exception.
Celeb sightings and glittering nightlife at the Fontainebleau
Occupying 20 acres of the area known as Millionaire’s Row, the Fontainebleau remains one of the hottest properties in town, known for its marble floors, exuberant chandeliers, and beach-chic rooms. The award-winning restaurants and luxury spa experiences alone are worth the price of admission.
Some of Miami’s most popular nightclubs and lounges can be found here, too, including LIV, where Heidi Klum often hangs out. But it’s the outdoor Bleaulive, with its elevated stage overlooking a huge pool surrounded by palm trees, that draws the crowds. Entertaining guests since 1954, Elvis Presley once performed there. Now, stars like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry regularly take the stage.
Insider tip: A hotel this massive requires a bit of forward-planning to experience all it has to offer.
4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; fontainebleau.com
A rooftop pool with a view from Gale South Beach
Set in a white art deco building, Gale South Beach may not be located directly on the beach, but its rooftop infinity pool will never disappoint. It’s a great place to go for a swim between cocktails, order some lunch, or just relax by the edge of the pool.
Framed black and white photos of South Beach’s heyday continue the art deco theme inside. Be sure to check out the award-winning Dolce Italian, with its stone-baked pizzas, homemade meatballs, and delicious pasta dishes. Then cap off the evening with a drink at the Regent Cocktail Club, a nostalgic spot with live jazz, a cigar menu, and a lovely patio.
Insider tip: Guests of Gale South Beach can use the private beach at the nearby Shelborne hotel, where lounge chairs and towels are provided free of charge.
1690 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; galehotel.com
Rejuvenation and old Florida charm at The Palms Hotel & Spa
Located in the quieter Mid-Beach area of Miami, The Palms Hotel & Spa can give you a break from South Beach’s lively pace. If the hotel’s spa and tranquil beach don’t provide some relaxation, the tropical gardens probably will.
A recent renovation freshened up the interiors, with cream walls, white shutters, and burnt orange furnishings complementing the original potted plants, terracotta floor tiles, and old-fashioned ceiling fans. A standout dining option is The Restaurant at The Palms, featuring many locally sourced ingredients. The terrace of The Bar at The Palms is the place to go for a nightcap.
Insider tip: Don’t leave without trying the hotel’s refreshing signature coconut.
3025 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; thepalmshotel.com
Whimsical, rock and roll decor at SLS South Beach
The SLS South Beach commissioned Lenny Kravitz to design the Villa Penthouse, adding an element of rock and roll to the eccentric space, with diverse elements like pink bathrooms and Spanish tiles.
The restaurants are just as memorable. The Bazaar is easily considered one of South Beach’s finest spots, while the Japanese-inspired Katsuya attracts the rich and famous. The long outdoor pool is the place to party during the day. For a perfect way to start the evening, grab a cocktail and watch the sunset at the nearby Hyde Beach.
Insider tip: With its party atmosphere and rock-star status, SLS South Beach isn’t the best option for families with young children.
1701 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; slshotels.com/southbeach