Miami is a city that knows what it means to go over the top: From showy, celebrity-ridden restaurants and clubs that stay packed until the early morning hours to beaches that double as fashion runaways and home prices that break record after record, an understated destination this is not.
The hotels are no exception.
“Miami’s hotels tend to be glamorous spots that are the It places to hang out in town,” says Shelby Albo, a travel consultant and the founder of Travel Fit Love, a site that encourages active travel. “In fact, people visit Miami just for the hotels.”
Our list of seven standout properties in the Magic City, as it’s nicknamed, spans from Surfside to South Beach but doesn’t exclude Mid-Beach in between.
The cognoscenti are all plugged into Casa Tua, the chic see-and-be-seen private members club in Miami’s Art Deco District that’s set among lush foliage and transports you to another world. It also has a restaurant that serves up simple but authentic and delicious Italian food. Few, however, are aware this gorgeous villa also has four rooms available for overnight stays.
Being at the property feels like visiting the home of a dear friend who has incredible taste: The staff exudes warmth, and the revered architect and designer Michele Bonan is behind the decor, which is unique to each room and features eclectic pieces sourced from all over the world. Perks for guests include freshly cut flowers, unpacking service, access to the members club, and a choice of linen or cotton sheets. The beach is a short walk away. Nightly rates from $400.
A collaboration between the famed Miami nightlife and restaurant entrepreneur David Grutman and the singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams, the Goodtime Hotel, which recently opened, is hands-down the liveliest place to stay when you’re in Miami. As the name suggests, guests really are in for a good time: the public spaces feature hand-painted murals and Deco plasterwork while rooms are pure fun, with leopard-print benches and pink rotary dial phones. The property also has a 30,000-square-foot pool club called Strawberry Moon, a spacious gym, and a library where guests can socialize over coffee or cocktails. Nightly rates from $279.
After 10 years as an Art Basel social center, W South Beach recently reopened after a $30 million renovation. Gone are the dark tones and shiny finishes; the 357 guest rooms now have an airy aesthetic and emphasize warm oaks and natural light. The property also has a new spa and an updated art collection, valued at $100 million and featuring 21 original Andy Warhols. Standout amenities include onsite tennis and basketball courts, new beach cabanas, and an outpost of the celebrity favorite restaurant Mr. Chow. Nightly rates from $449.
With sleek, dark tones and a distinctly Asian design, The Setai, Miami Beach oozes elegance. You can spend your time at the property sipping fresh coconut juice from the fruit itself by the three guest-only pools or splurging on a treatment at the Valmont spa. The signature restaurant, Jaya, serves up some of the best Asian food you’ll ever eat, including killer Indian curries, and you can expect a full-on show while you dine. Think fire dancers, aerial acrobats suspended from the roof, and live jazz. Nightly rates from $650.
A European-inspired, family-owned luxury boutique hotel in the heart of South Beach, The Betsy is a property where an art gallery (the fabulous collection is a highlight) meets a jazz club (there’s live jazz seven days a week) meets a coffee shop that hosts regular book talks and poetry readings. The hotel also has a beach-facing outdoor dining terrace that’s buzzy all day and a rooftop pool with panoramic views of the city. Nightly rates from $309.
In the heart of Mid-Beach and boasting some of the widest and most pristine beachfront Miami has to offer, Faena Hotel Miami Beach can best be described as maximalism and then some. Alan Faena reimagined the historic Saxony Hotel, originally built in 1947 and the stomping ground of Hollywood icons such as Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe, into an Art Deco–inspired space that’s a throwback to its old glory days.
The property features pieces by renowned artists such as Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons and claims many impressive amenities. Dining options include Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann, which serves Argentine fare from South America’s most celebrated chef, a theater with live shows, a bar, and a 22,000-square-foot oceanfront spa. Nightly rates from $749.
Soon after it first opened its doors on New Year’s Eve 1930, The Surf Club became the go-to place for luminaries such as Elizabeth Taylor and Winston Churchill. A Four Seasons–branded property today, the hotel is still the most sophisticated place to stay in Miami and has a contemporary aesthetic with light tones. Set on nine acres of oceanfront, it includes 77 rooms, three pools with day cabanas, a destination spa, a champagne bar, and an Italian restaurant. The Surf Club is also home to a restaurant by the acclaimed chef Thomas Keller. Nightly rates from $1,000.
Department of Architecture: https://www.ibu.edu.ba/department-of-architecture/