City Guide: Miami

Since the real-estate development boom in the early 1980s, Miami has drawn a diverse crowd. Known for parties, beaches and design - spanning Gianni Versace, art-deco architecture and the biennale - the city has a frenetic energy and outlook all of its own.

Located at the meeting point of the American continents has made it a centre for business, travel and the arts. As a city that naturally brings together people of different cultures and industries, Miami offers a myriad of art galleries, a diverse food scene and vibrant nightlife catering to all tastes and tribes.

While Miami's skyline (and some of its residents) may seem to be stuck in time, the hotel scene has had an injection of something that has made it relevant, young and fresh again - much like its botox-filled residents. LE Miami, the first travel fair to address the shift in luxury travel, is hosted there each year highlight that first impressions and perceptions aren't always what they seem. Spoilt for choice you can go retro, eco or loco - so take your pick.

hotel

Miami Beach EDITION

Miami, United States

As soon as you pass the front door, you’ll recognise the musky Le Labo scent common to all Editon Hotels. Potted palms cluster around the lobby’s gold columns, setting a tone of relaxed opulence with a slight sense of satirical humour. The restaurant, aptly named the Matador Room, is filled with pictures of Spanish bullfighters (no animals were harmed in the making) and bronzed pineapple cocktail glasses. Fun is the name of the game at The Edition, with indoor and outdoor pools, a bowling alley and an ice-skating rink. Decor in the rooms is minimal and calming – opt for an ocean view, if only to ogle at the duplex penthouse suite.

Address

2901 Collins Avenue Miami Beach 33140

hotel

The Confidante Miami Beach

Miami, United States

This place (formerly The Thompson) offers exactly what you want from a hotel on South Beach: head-to-toe old-school glamour. Candy-coloured striped sunloungers, scallop-trimmed awnings and cabanas surround the two pool areas and the interiors are all Art Deco, punctuated by buoyant colours and palm-green details. Have dinner in rustic surroundings at Bird & Bone, headed up by celebrated South Florida chef Richard Hales, followed by a “smoke show” cocktail – made with mezcal, Aperol, blood orange, lime and orange bitters – at the bar. Refresh yourself the following morning with a session at their open-air spa.

Address

4041 Collins Avenue Miami Beach FL 33140

hotel

Delano

Miami, United States

An unmissable South Beach establishment and an Ian Schrager original, the Delano will always be one of the best hotels in Miami. Whether it’s the all-white rooms or the moody, high-ceilinged lobby filled with eclectic furniture, something about the place that gives you a buzz the moment you walk in. The beautiful crowd surrounding the pool seem to sustain themselves on frozen grapes and rosé alone during the day, immediately switching to mojitos and pina coladas as soon as the clock turns five. If in doubt, ask concierge Pedro Alvarez – he always knows what to do.

Address

1685 Collins Avenue Miami Beach 33139

hotel

The Standard

Miami, United States

Located just a couple of blocks away from Collins Avenue, hanging chairs hidden among flora and a colourful wooden deck overlooking the bay create a laid-back atmosphere that feels a million miles away from the city. Along with the beach-chic vibe and impeccable service, The Standard is also the perfect place for an afternoon cocktail with friends or to indulge in one of the best brunches in town.

Address

40 Island Avenue Miami Beach 33139

hotel

Soho Beach House

Miami, United States

One of Soho House’s most desirable locations, Soho Beach House is a top Miami hotel with service and amenities so excellent that leaving the property becomes almost unnecessary. The hotel offers hidden extras like a secret tiki bar behind the luxurious pool area. Whether you’re lounging in your room, getting massaged at the Cowshed Spa or sipping a negronis on the terrace, Soho Beach House characteristically offers one of the most elegant yet understated hospitality experiences in Miami.

Address

4385 Collins Avenue Miami Beach 33140

hotel

The Raleigh

Miami, United States

The iconic Raleigh encapsulates all that is Miami. The famous poolside bar, white bungalows and rooms overlooking the South Beach coast are iconic reminders of why this is one of the sunny city’s most historic institutions. Excpect top service, great daytime amenities and a lively night scene at your fingertips.

Address

1775 Collins Avenue Miami Beach 33139

hotel

Freehand Miami

Miami, United States

The Freehand is invaluable to the Miami scene. This boutique hostel is a perfect home away from home offering poolside cocktails, a fresh juice bar and one of the city’s most effervescent watering holes, The Broken Shaker. Attracting a young creative crowd, Freehand curates a homely yet vibrant atmosphere minutes away from some of the city’s most desirable destinations.

Address

2727 Indian Creek Drive Miami Beach 33140

hotel

W South Beach Hotel

Miami, United States

The W is a cutting-edge oasis in the city that comes with a 24/7 “whatever, whenever” policy, offering rooftop tennis and a Bliss spa. The home of Mr Chow Miami, it’s also a great place to have dinner before heading out into the centre of bustling Miami. Hit the W for a relaxing stay with world-class service and a grown-up atmosphere.

Address

2201 Collins Avenue Miami Beach 33139

hotel

1 Hotel South Beach

Miami, United States

This enormous addition to South Beach provides a marked contrast to its hedonistic surroundings. A true feat of eco-excellence, the hotel, which features an 11,000-plant living wall, stands as proud evidence that there is demand for sustainable travel, even in Miami. 1 Hotel’s goal to “bring the outside in” is evident from their sustainable use of natural resources – even the hangers are made out of recycled wood. They also adopt a no-paper policy – everything from the temperature of your room is controlled through a centralised app. But don’t worry, the 1 Hotel is anything from basic, there are four swimming pools, multiple gourmet restaurants to choose from as well as a wealth of other activities and services. Oh, and the bedrooms are absolutely huge.

Address

2341 Collins Avenue Miami Beach 33139

hotel

The Setai

Miami, United States

Along the northern stretch of South Beach, here you’ll find a more refined patch of accommodations. For those looking for something a little sleeker, the Setai’s art deco fusion style and pan-Asian cuisine offers an alternative vibe and a welcomed revolt against the bottomless happy hours found while away on Ocean Drive. At the hotel’s main restaurant Jaya, you’ll want to sample a little bit of everything; from peking duck to tandoor sea bass and wagyu dim sum. Finish with a Caribbean rum cake or an earl grey crème brûlée; beach bound or otherwise this is one desert menu you wont want to scrimp on. The best tables are outdoors, where diners can perch on sleek grey banquettes under palm trees and pagoda-style structures. The central courtyard surrounds an angular pool, but resist the urge to dive in and walk down a little further until you reach the actual swimming pool. On your ramble, you’ll pass the Spa at the Setai – stop in for a treatment (we recommend the 90-minute, Balinese-style massage if time (and spend) allows.

Address

2001 Collins Avenue Miami Beach FL 33139

This image is on holiday

hotel

Shelborne South Beach

Miami, United States

Shelborne South Beach hotel is retro-chic Miami at its finest. Ornate light fittings, patterned rugs and reflective surfaces are harmonised by a blushing colour palette – no need for rose-tinted glasses here. Cool off by the pool, which is flanked by the hotel’s original 40s diving platform and white wooden cabanas.

Address

1801 Collins Avenue Miami Beach Florida 33139

hotel

Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club

Miami, United States

The art-deco influence in the Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club manifests in the strikingly patterned carpets and strong geometric lines. Lounge under the palm trees by the pool and feel as if you’ve been transported back to the glamorous European Riviera of the 40s.

Address

3925 Collins Avenue Miami Beach Florida 33140

This image is on holiday

hotel

SLS Brickell

SLS Brickell must surely be a Gemini. The Downtown Miami hotspot boasts not one but two rooftop pools. Dip your toe into the showier of the twins – the infinity pool – before taking in urban views as you lounge in your shaded cabana, creative cocktail in hand.

Address

1300 South Miami Avenue Miami 33130 Florida

hotel

The Villa Casa Casuarina

Dip your toes in Gianni Versace’s 54-foot, 24-karat-gold-lined “million mosaic pool” – a play on Versace’s famous 1990s Marine Vanitas collection. It’s pretty gauche and we’re not convinced we’d stay the night here, but a visit is advised if you’re partial to OTT design and having a bit of a snoop. How could you not be after watching Ryan Murphy’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story?

Address

1116 Ocean Dr Miami Beach FL 33139 United States

hotel

Faena Hotel Miami

A cruciform-shaped pool is always a punchy move and frankly we wouldn’t expect anything less from Hollywood’s East Coast hangout. At Faena, the colour code is maraschino-cherry red and Colgate white – just look at those candy-striped parasols and loungers. For 1950s maximalist glamour, North Beach is where it’s at.

Address

3201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

This image is on holiday

hotel

The Betsy South Beach

Address

1440 Ocean Drive Miami Beach FL 33139

This image is on holiday

hotel

Kimpton Surfcomber

Address

1717 Collins Avenue Miami Beach FL 33139