¡Bienvenido a Miami! The urban oasis on the Southern Florida coast where jetsetters, trendsetters, foodies, and party people from all over the world come to work and play. Since World War II, Miami has been a destination hotspot full of beautiful people and wild nightlife. The entire city wants you to party like a rock star!
The current economic crisis has affected everyone, but in the past year, several classic hotels have received serious face-lifts and a handful of chic new ones have been built. Miami’s still the place if you’re looking for a fast, fun weekend! Check out our roundup of the hottest new hotels the city has to offer:
1. Welcome to Miami The Gansevoort South
The Gansevoort South
Opened in Fall '08
William and Michael Achenbaum had bigger and better plans for their latest Gansevoort hotel. Given the huge success of Gansevoort NY it only made sense to open this stylish urban resort filled with high–end shops, restaurants, and nightlife in an up-and-coming part of Miami. The rooms are large and decorated in classic Art Deco style. A huge shark tank filled with hundreds of fish takes over the lobby, but the main attraction is the rooftop pool and lounge, Plunge, that stretches 24k sq ft and has phenomenal views of the city and ocean. You can also chill at the beach, pool plaza, or beach club, although at times it can be a bit of a party. The Gansevoort also has some super–yummy restaurants, like the very chic Phillipes, and the soon-to-open STK. This hotel is for the traveler that is used to the finer things and wants to live the luxe Miami lifestyle.
Room rate: $400–$700 per night
2. Welcome to Miami Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort
Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort
Opened in Fall '08
After being in business for over 30 years this family-friendly hotel has finally received a well deserved makeover and is now the perfect vacation stay for budget-conscious travelers who still want to be in the mix. The updates include plasma TV’s in the rooms, a redesigned restaurant and banquet hall and a newly tiled and furnished pool. There are also plans to build a spa in 2010. Since the Newport Beachside is always booked, management decided not to close down the hotel and opted to do improvements by sections instead. Although it may not be directly on Ocean Drive, it is centrally located within 15 minutes of everything. This hotel is for the bargain hunter who wants to save their money for the glitz and glam of South Beach nightlife, and for those who plan annual family vacations.
Room rate: $100–$200 per night
3. Welcome to Miami The Betsy Hotel
The Betsy Hotel
Opened Spring ’09
This luxury hotel, once known as The Betsy Ross, opened its doors back in 1942 when South Beach was just blossoming as a tourist destination. It was even added to the State Registry of Historic Places. Today, its historical charm and multi–million dollar makeover have helped transform The Betsy and set it apart from the Art Deco aesthetic of most other hotels. The on-site BLT Steak restaurant is decorated in dark wood and earthy tones that give it a relaxing yet elegant feel. The room and suites are quite spacious and all are painted vibrant, tropical colors. Head up to the rooftop solarium, furnished with palm trees and cream colored cushions to have a cocktail, get a massage, or just lounge around. This hotel is for the traveler who wants to get away from it all while still staying in the heart of South Beach.
Room rate: $300–$4k per night
4. Welcome to Miami The Fountainebleau
Opened in Fall '08
Regulars to this hotel back in the day included The Rat Pack, Elvis Presley and Lucille Ball, but this fixture on the scene has gotten a $1 billion face lift and expansion. The Fontainebleau has always been grand, but now it’s even more elaborate with two new towers, 11 restaurants, one sexy nightclub, and 3 lounge bars. The standard guestrooms are fairly simple in décor, but there are a ton of different options, including ocean view, oceanfront balcony and superior or deluxe—and that’s not even including all the different suites they have! Every room features an iMac personal computer, so you don’t have to worry about lugging around your laptop. They’re also making an effort to keep it green with paperless hotel rooms. Check out LIV, a new nightclub filled with celebs, which you may not come too close to since there are private skyboxes available for rental that include bottle service, banquettes—everything you need to party discreetly. The Fontainebleau is for the traveler that wants to keep it moving nonstop. There are so many different attractions that boredom isn’t an option.
5. Welcome to Miami The Mondrian
Opened Winter '08
Architect Marcel Wanders gave the Mondrian a $200 million renovation and managed to turn old condos into something out of Alice of Wonderland, complete with big bells, over–sized doors, and crazy stairways. The moment you step into this adult playground you’ll want to begin exploring. White is the dominant color of the lobby, but it’s a different story when it comes to the rooms. They are a riot of color, design elements and textiles. The best touch is a chandelier inside the shower that serves as the shower head as well! All of the different vibes manage to work well together. The onsite restaurant Asia de Cuba serves up delicious food in a dining area fit for 21st century Kings and Queens. The only draw back is that this swanky hotel faces the bay, so there is no beach, but they offer use of the Shore Club beach to make up for it. The Mondrian is for the traveler that enjoys design and loves all that is trendy and avant-garde.
Room rate: $300 – $1500