Life’s a beach: the top 10 Miami hotels

It’s safe to say that the boom in Miami’s heaving hotel industry continues with gusto. It almost feels as if every other day, a gleaming property opens, especially along the fabled Collins Avenue stretch which fairly bristles with bold-faced names. It must help too that there is still a surfeit of glorious art deco piles, all just waiting for a savvy hotelier to come along with architectural plans and a novel idea for a lobby.

The Miami Beach Edition bedroom
(Image credit: press)

Miami’s heaving hotel industry

The Miami Beach Edition

For the Miami Beach outpost of his Edition brand, legendary hotelier Ian Schrager pulled in Yabu Pushelberg and ISC Design Studio to renovate the historic 1955 Seville Hotel and work alongside John Pawson for the interior design and Jean-Georges Vongerichten for the dining concept. The result is a louche pleasure dome that mixes the collection of 294 rooms and 28 private bungalow-style rooms dressed in American black walnut and bleached oak, with acres of white Carrara marble floors, 24ct glass and gold mosaic columns, billowing sheer white drapery, and views of the Atlantic Ocean. There’s no need whatsoever to ever leave the hotel grounds, not with a basement headlined with a 2,000 sq ft ice-skating rink that looks directly over Collins Avenue, a four-lane bowling alley, and bona fide nightclub.

2901 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida 33140; tel: 1.786 257 4500;

ME Miami

Tapping into Miami’s burgeoning arts scene, the 129-room ME Miami, the debut property of the ME by Meliá group, takes full advantage of its proximity to the Wynwood Art and Fashion Districts, the Pérez Art Museum and the Adrienne Arsht Center. The interiors by Proffetional and ASAH blend a neutral colour palette and specially commissioned artwork with white marble, Italian oak, and furniture by Warren Platner, Marc Newson and Eero Saarinen. Taking up the first 14 floors of the Arquitectonica-designed Marquis Building, the best rooms in the house feature private balconies with views of Biscayne Bay and downtown Miami.

1100 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, Florida 33132; tel: 1.786 577 9700;

ME Miami bedroom with bed, lamp, table, chairs

(Image credit: press)

Nautilus a Sixty Hotel

Another local oceanfront landmark, the former Nautilus property – which was built in the 1950s by Morris Lapidus – was reinvented a couple of years ago by Jason Pomeranc and his brothers, who tapped Arquitectonica to overlay the building’s original neo-Baroque vibe, teal-green tiles, 25ft ceilings and floor-plan with mid-century style furniture, art deco and modern pieces. The 250 airily spacious rooms are dressed in Sferra linen, though a noteworthy highlight is Expat, a smartly stocked concept store that includes jewellery by South Africa’s Zoja, and Singapore’s Carrie K.

1825 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida 33139; tel: 1.305 503 5700;

Nautilus a Sixty Hotel waiting room

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Faena Hotel Miami Beach

A glittering jewel in Alan Faena and Len Blavatnik’s sprawlingly ambitious Faena District Miami Beach development, the 182-room Faena Hotel is a 1950s stage-set conceived by Faena himself, Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin. One part Art Deco and two parts old world glamour, the former 1947 Saxony Hotel includes the restored Saxony Theater where Elvis Presley once performed, butler service, and chef Francis Mallmann’s Argentinian diner, Los Fuegos. The South-American inspired spa, meanwhile, offers shamanistic body treatments, and sound and colour therapy.

3201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida 33140; tel: 1.305 534 8800;

Room with red chairs and sofa

(Image credit: press)

The Plymouth

Fernando Santangelo was the perfect designer to work on the historic 1940 Plymouth hotel in Collins Park, the New York-based designer having also spearheaded the spruce up of LA’s Chateau Marmont and South Beach’s The Raleigh. From the unusual oval-shaped lobby and pool, and bougainvillea-festooned walls of the Art Modern building, to the vintage furniture in shades of blue and ruby, swing benches and 110 bedrooms furnished in what the four-storey hotel calls ‘beach-house chic’, the hotel scores for its artful intimacy and convenient South Beach address.

336 21st Street, Miami Beach, Florida 33139, tel: 1.305 602 5000,

The Plymouth swimming pool

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1 Hotel South Beach

The debut of the 1 Hotels brand was always going to be a shock-and-awe event. Taking up an entire city block on Collins Avenue with unobstructed views of the Atlantic, the 425-room property is a pasha’s pleasure dome featuring no less than four pools – one of which stretches a languorous 110ft – and seven food and beverage outlets. Miami-based design firm Plant the Future has upped the tropical vibe with green walls, a grotto garden in the lobby, and terrarium in each guest room.

2341 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida 33139; tel: 1.305 604 1000;

1 Hotel South Beach bedroom

(Image credit: press)

Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club

Starchitect Richard Meier and designer Joseph Dirand have added a light, translucent touch to the landmark Surf Club, inserting 77 guest-rooms into a sequence of low-slung crystalline blocks set on 900ft of white sand beach. The all-white interior of the modern wing is set off by sun-bleached timber and brass accents, but with a 15,000 sq ft spa and nine hectares of landscaped gardens to frolic through, it almost seems a shame to spend too much time indoors. That said, outposts of The French Laundry and Positano-legend Le Sirenuse are irresistible distractions.

9101 Collins Avenue, Surfside, Florida 33154; tel: 1.305 381 3333;

Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club waiting room

(Image credit: TBC)

W South Beach

It’s no surprise to learn that the best rooms at the W South Beach are on the upper floors, where the views of sand, sea and that eternally blue sky make for an intoxicating mix. In particular, the upper-tier rooms, refurbished in late 2016 by the Tappan-based Busta Studio, play off the yearlong sunshine with dark hardwood floors, black marble, and mid-century leather lounge chairs. The suites (pictured, the E-WOW) are particularly eye-catching, featuring a Japanese soaking tub in the master bedroom and furnished with photographs of the ocean that were curated by property magnate and art collector Aby Rosen, whilst the penthouse boasts a rooftop plunge pool for those unable to face the schlep down to the palm-tree fringed lap pool.

2201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida, 33139; tel: 1. 305 938 3000;

W South Beach bedroom

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The Setai

This Collins Avenue doyenne owes much of its enduring gloss to architect Jean Michel Gathy and interior designer Jaya Ibrahim, the celebrated duo gently shoehorning an Asia-lite aesthetic into the Art Deco pedigree of the original 1935 building. The high-ceilinged lobby sets the tone, leading up to 133 rooms, of which the 40th floor, 10,000 sq ft penthouse with views of the Atlantic, South Beach and downtown is, arguably, the hotel’s crown jewel. In late 2016, the hotel unveiled three new dining rooms of which Jaya, resplendent in silk and warm woods, has been winning rave reviews for its mod pan-Asian menu.

2001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida 33139; tel: 1.305 520 6000;

The Setai bedroom with wooden floor

(Image credit: press)

Freehand Miami

In 2012, the Indian Creek Hotel, one of the many 1930s art deco piles that sprinkle Miami, was revived as a 62-room upscale hostel. Interior designers Roman and Williams, who went on to work on the LA outpost, injected period furniture and light levity to keep the public spaces – including contemporary art by the likes of RJ Raizk – feeling remarkably timeless. All of which explains, too, the nightly buzz fuelled by pretty young things lounging poolside in the lushly landscaped courtyard.

2727 Indian Creek Drive, Miami Beach, Florida 33140; tel: 1.305 531 2727;

Freehand Miami waiting room

(Image credit: TBC)

Daven Wu is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*. A former corporate lawyer, he has been covering Singapore and the neighbouring South-East Asian region since 1999, writing extensively about architecture, design, and travel for both the magazine and website. He is also the City Editor for the Phaidon Wallpaper* City Guide to Singapore.