Miami: Hotel Guides

Liana Lozada

Lifestyle and travel writer

While newbie hotels are freshening up tired concepts, the veterans aren’t done leading the hospitality pack – choose between sprawling spa complexes, 24-karat opulence, family-friendly playgrounds and indoor green oases

Best for... Spa: Carillon Miami Beach

Carillon Miami Beach

Wellness is the centrepiece of the Carillon Miami Beach, and the hotel’s spa remains the area’s largest. The Spa at Carillon – 70,000-sq-ft indoor-outdoor facilities – features nine uniquely connected thermal experiences. Spa guests can submerge themselves in the open-air, rooftop HydroSpa or heat up in the Herbal Laconium. Miami’s only igloo is here too, complete with three cold, aromatic mists and twinkling lighting. The Spa’s signature treatments are gloriously executed, with a standout being the Deep Tissue Steam Therapy: the 100-minute experience includes a soothing steam bed immersion that softens muscles before a masseuse works out bodily kinks. Guests can also customise their visit, selecting a treatment’s duration, focus and application type, using products from spa partner Clarins.

6801 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach


Best for… Budget: The Gates Hotel South Beach

The Gates Hotel South Beach

Deals are hard to find in this town, and few let your money go as far as the recently opened The Gates Hotel South Beach. The Gates Hotel is known for its cool, contemporary design and reasonable price points, a reputation which its Miami Beach outpost duly upholds. Floating over Lake Pancoast at a prime location – just a block from the beach, with Collins Park and Lincoln Road within walking distance – The Gates is an attractive offering for any budget. Inside, you’ll find an abundance of social space: the Lobby bar serves casual sips, the pool area overlooks the lake and street-side passersby, and a 24-hour gym invites fitness fans to break a sweat. Even regarded restaurateur Stephen Starr saw the property’s potential: Starr opened The Continental here, serving American classics and Tiki cocktails inside a Hawaiian-inspired dining room.

2360 Collins Ave, Miami Beach


Best for… Luxury: Faena Hotel Miami Beach

Faena Hotel Miami Beach

If opulence is on the itinerary, Faena Miami Beach is the place to go. Unapologetically over-the-top, this newly minted hotel tapped into the cinematic minds of Bazmark (Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin), among many others, to cross section art, architecture and afluence. Here, everything that is glitters is gold, 24-karat gold, that is: it’s all real, from the glistening columns in the “Cathedral” lobby to Damien Hirst’s mammoth pool-side installation. The property’s visual wizardries are plentiful: there are no corners in Faena; instead, every potential edge in the building has been curved, creating a softened interior flow as floor-to-ceiling murals jump off the walls. Faena’s members’ bar is the beach’s most coveted entry point, harbouring elite visitors without paparazzi penetration. Every floor has a 24-hour butler, while the presidential suite is set to be a 14,000, five-bedroom thing of beauty. Faena’s amenities continue the “why not?” theme, with two highly acclaimed restaurants (James Beard award–winner Paul Qui’s Pao and Argentine grill maestro, Francis Mallmann’s Los Fuegos), a stunning hammam in the spa and an intimate theatre.

3201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach


Best for… romance: W South Beach

W South Beach

For a romantic rendezvous dressed up in sleek, sexy garb, look no further than the W South Beach – the luxe Miami Beach babe favoured by honeymooners and loved up couples. Here, every slick room has an ocean view, prime for lazy morning lie ins, big balconies or terraces, and vast marble showers stocked with Bliss products (book a massage in their gorgeous spa – or order up to your room). Of course, the more you spend, the more snazzy the digs get – think private outdoor rain showers and plunge pools at the top end. Back on ground level, Andrew Carmellini’s The Dutch matches culinary mastery with a mood-setting indoor-outdoor space, while the pool’s striped loungers and cabanas beckon carefree afternoons. And of course the W brand’s amenities are all in play: their WHATEVER/WHENEVER service promises to make your every wish their command, while the Wants + Needs service delivers on-demand cheese platters, dipped strawberries, and bubbly straight to your door.

2201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach


Best for… Food: Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Variety and volume: two things the Fontainebleau excels at – making it an excellent choice for travellers looking for on-site meals, with upscale haunts leading the way. James Beard award-winner Scott Conant crafts decadent Italian plates inside an elegant dining room at Scarpetta, while Michael Mina’s Stripsteak is a buzzing subterranean space widely regarded as the best steakhouse in Miami, and Hakkasan continues its popular Cantonese techniques inside its trendy Miami Beach location. While the Fontainebleau embraces food flare, it also keeps things casual for those seeking quick bites or poolside nibbles. Michael Mina’s second on-site outpost, Michael Mina 74, is an easy-going bistro serving fuss-free burgers and seafood. Outside, La Côte goes for a south of France feel with a Mediterranean menu overlooking the pool and beach. And, if you’re somehow still not satisfied, a second American eatery and sushi restaurant round out the sit-down options. For eats to go, guests can order confections and coffee at Chez Bon Bon, or cool down with a gelato from Fresh.

4441 Collins Ave, Miami Beach


Best for… Family: The Biltmore Hotel

The Biltmore Hotel

The Biltmore Hotel is an ideal family getaway, tucked away from the Magic City’s glitz and glam. Activities abound at this historic Coral Gables property, where the Biltmore Buddies program for kids aged four to 12 puts on sporting events, nature hikes, arts and crafts activities, scavenger hunts, lifeguard games and movie screenings. Budding chefs can get their hands dirty at the Biltmore Culinary Academy or burn off extra energy with golf and tennis lessons too. And if the expansive Biltmore pool doesn’t meet waterside needs, the natural spring water and coral Venetian Pool is just minutes away. Grown ups can savour excellent French cuisine at Palme D’or or indulge in the lavish Sunday Champagne Brunch, while The Biltmore Spa pairs with a Benessere Wellness Program to offer healing, alternative treatments coupled with premier cosmetic products. Even little ones get spa love here via the Princess Parties Spa package, complete with manis, pedis and facials.

1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables


Best for… Business: Four Seasons Hotel Miami

Four Seasons Hotel Miami

The Four Seasons Hotel Miami’s 70-story, glass and granite edifice is Florida’s tallest building and is located in Brickell, Miami’s bustling financial district and urban hub. And the picturesque, seaside backdrop doesn’t detract from its proficiency: Four Seasons’ signature business services are all readily available, with a 24-hour business centre complete with workstations, printers, fax machines, and a copier. Those attending meetings can take advantage of the complimentary car service, as well as free WiFi, curb-side check-in, overnight shoeshine and newspapers. Nine diverse event spaces provide venue flexibility, including a Sky Bridge with floor-to-ceiling windows unveiling Biscayne Bay. When it’s time to loosen the tie or kick off the heels, business travellers can order up an in-room massage or around the clock in-room dining, although the property’s signature eatery, Edge, Steak & Bar, boasts an eclectically delectable menu and one of the best happy hours in town.

1435 Brickell Avenue


Best for… Design: 1 Hotel South Beach

1 Hotel South Beach

Eco-consciousness and luxury marry beautifully inside the 1 Hotel South Beach. Meyer Davis Studio was called in to design the hotel’s lower eight floors, resulting in an airy indoor retreat of white-washed reclaimed woods and matching linens under a two-story panelled ceiling. Miami’s Plant the Future created over 800 terrariums for the hotel’s opening (including one for each room), placing a floor-to-ceiling moss mural in the grand entrance. Green initiatives are, in fact, present at every turn: the building was reconstructed to reduce its annual carbon footprint by 621 metric tons while living green walls purify the main ballroom and also decorate the exterior facade. The spacious guest rooms feature drinking filters (no water bottles here!) as well as hemp mattresses and organic bed linens (rest assured: just as comfy as they are eco-friendly).

2341 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach


Best for… Cool: The Miami Beach EDITION

The Miami Beach EDITION

An ice skating rink on Miami Beach might sound like an out-there concept, but The Miami Beach EDITION embraced – and executed – the idea. In true South Beach fashion, this rink is also neon lit, and sits next to both a bowling alley and disco-inspired nightclub. As one might imagine, this is where Miami’s in-crowd comes to play. The lobby keeps the Miami-vibes going strong, contrasting all-white outfittings with original gold columns, backlit palms and Latin music trickling through the space as models, DJs and celebrities roam the halls. The Matador Room features an oval shaped bar encased by framed matador portraits that go wall-to-wall; copper pineapples line the bar, each harbouring an exclusive cocktail. Outside, Tropicale serves poolside bites and cocktails under an original sundial or over in the multipurpose sandpit.

2901 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach


Best for… Views: EAST, Miami

EAST Miami

One of the new glass towers sprouting above the futuristic-feeling Brickell City Centre belongs to EAST, Miami. While the feng shui-aligning interior deserves applause, the views are what set the property apart: EAST is a compass to the city around it, setting itself up for spectacular, unprecedented viewpoints – guests can watch the sun rise and set on any given day from somewhere in the hotel. Floor-to-ceiling windows are found on every floor, and every room has a balcony. Sugar, the al fresco rooftop bar and garden peers over Miami’s postcard waters from the 40th floor, while the west-facing pool unveils shots of the Miami River. To the north and south, glistening condos dot an evolving skyline; on a clear day, visitors can spot Key Biscayne on the horizon or Coral Gables’ Biltmore Hotel to the southwest. Even the restaurant, Quinto La Huella, peeks over the Brickell City Centre’s open-air mall, accented by the centre’s spectacular Climate Ribbon roofing.

788 Brickell Plaza


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