Thought Miami Beach was all bling? Think again – it’s home to some of the hippest hotels south of Manhattan..
A destination that has a two-mile beach and warm weather all year round, it’s no surprise that Miami is dubbed the ‘Magic City’, combining the delights of an urban break (shopping, nightlife) with sun, sea and sand.
Design devotees will know all about Miami’s iconic Art Deco Architecture District: South Beach (SoBe) has the largest concentration of Twenties and Thirties resort architecture in the world and even developed its own unique style, known as Tropical Art Deco. The art scene too is world class – the Art Basel fair rolls into town each December, while local neighbourhood Wynwood is Miami’s answer to Shoreditch, peppered with artists’ studios and galleries.
With a mostly Spanish-speaking population and a strong Cuban influence on cuisine and music, Miami is a vibrant, party city, attracting movers and shakers from New York every weekend – it’s a mere three-hour flight away. And with such a demanding clientele comes a hotel scene that’s ever evolving – this cool batch on the South Beach strip means Miami has just got a whole lot hotter.
Metropolitan by CoMo
The lowdown An oasis of serenity for mind, body and soul.
Best for Clean living with added perks in designer surroundings.
The Metropolitan by COMO’s tranquil look was created by Italian designer Paola Navone, who worked with the COMO Group on the hotel’s sister property in Phuket.
Expect to be soothed by Navone’s distinctive pastel palette of sea greens, powder pinks and pristine white. Furnished throughout with Gervasoni pieces, the airy spaces are minimal yet inviting, with tactile linen upholstery and low-level seating.
The Shambhala Urban Escape wellness centre takes a central role, offering holistic treatments that combine Asian healing with modern science. Facilities include a yoga terrace and a rooftop hydrotherapy pool.
Get your five a day and more at the juice bar by the spa on the eighth floor and there’s also the option of the nutritious COMO Shambhala Cuisine if the seafood-oriented menu in the hotel’s Traymore restaurant isn’t healthy enough for you.
Of course, if you’re tempted to undo all that detoxing (it is a holiday, after all), the Traymore Bar’s Gin Club has more than 30 artisan gins to try, adding an authentic Thirties spirit to the proceedings.
Book it double rooms from £288.
SLS HOTEL SOuTH BEacH
The lowdown A hotbed of fun in the strip’s tallest Art deco building.
Best for lounging in a cabana with a cocktail or two.
There can be only one man behind the SLS Hotel South Beach’s outré aesthetic – French designer Philippe Starck. Walking into the lobby, guests might recognise the multilingual graffiti splashed around the walls from his other hotel projects such as Mama Shelter, or his offbeat sense of humour in details such as a giant silver rubber duck perched on the poolside.
Starck cites Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV’s mistress, as the inspiration behind the room décor, which marries boudoir romance with sleek contemporary lines, trompe l’oeil wallpaper and risqué touches such as mirrors on the ceilings.
The heart of the hotel is undoubtedly Hyde Beach – 8,000 sq ft of buzzing indoor-outdoor space that stretches from a garden area, past the pool right through to the beach.
Take to a private cabana or day bed and get stuck into the fusion-style menu, a mix of Latin, Caribbean and Japanese flavours created by renowned chef José Andrés. Nightlife and music ride high on the agenda, as the hotel is part of the sbe group, which owns a string of restaurants, clubs and casinos.
Book it double rooms from approx £185.
THE ROyaL PaLm south beach
The lowdown Thirties splendour revamped with a modern twist.
Best for Art lovers and urban explorers with an appetite for culture.
Originally built in 1939, the sensitive renovation of this South Beach gem will delight fans of the period. Many of the hotel’s unique Art Deco elements have been preserved: the lobby’s speckled terrazzo floor; the marble and green glass reception desk, now transformed into a hip coffee bar; and the porthole windows in the lounge, which have remained not just intact, but seamlessly integrated into the building’s new look.
Outside, it’s worth taking a cycle tour of South Beach’s Art Deco district. Hop on the hotel’s bright-orange bikes and cruise the streets at your leisure – the concierge can organise a guide to join you for the lowdown on Miami’s architectural must-sees.
Once back in the hotel, you’ll soon plug into the local social circuit as The Royal Palm’s restaurants and bars are top-notch. Feast on Floridian delights such as snow crab, guava-glazed ribs and Surf-And-Turf tostada, or sample a rum tipple at the Palm Island bar.
Book it double rooms from approx £200.