The Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club
9011 Collins Ave., Surfside
Miami quiz: Your dream club experience involves a) a bottle of rosé, a chaise lounge, and a panoramic view of the sea or b) velvet ropes and a foam party. Going with the former? Get yourself to a cabana at the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, just north of Miami Beach.
4441 Collins Ave., Mid-Beach
The soaring white monolith that is the Fontainebleau dwarfs its corner of South Beach. The hotel is staggering in size compared with nearby properties, and the space is filled with not only guest rooms but several clubs and a few restaurants, including London favorite Hakkasan. An ideal hotel for a weekend of letting loose, you hardly need to leave the property (though we suggest you do). There’s a nightclub, Liv; two cocktail bars; five restaurants; a spa; and an adjacent marina should you care to arrive by sea. While staying here with children doesn’t seem like a good idea (it is loud), the kids' program is excellent and includes day camps, scavenger hunts, sports, and a babysitting service.
1717 Collins Ave., South Beach
Though it’s in close proximity to the glitzy hotels of South Beach, the Surfcomber is unpretentious and relaxed. It’s right on the beach but not super scene-y. The pool is shaded by the surrounding palms and close enough to the waves to catch that essential sea breeze and none of the sand. The décor abandons the all-white concept adopted by so many hotels in the neighborhood and instead goes for bright geometric patterns that complement the Art Deco aesthetic of the property. The surfboards nestled in corners around the lobby and heaped out by the pool are a further nod to the mellow, amiable vibe the Surfcomber is going for.
1700 James Ave., South Beach
A hotel, restaurant, and private club imply a scene. However, out-of-towners can barely get in the door given locals have taken all the best seats. Casa Tua—which translates to “your house”—resembles a beautiful, homey Mediterranean villa. The four-poster canopied beds are made up with the silkiest white sheets, and the bathrooms have deep tubs for long soaks after days at the beach. The food is some of the best in the city, and the patio is perennially packed with locals, all diving into bowls of rich, peppery truffle tagliatelle at tables illuminated by the Moroccan lanterns that drop from the surrounding trees. Hang out in the lobby during Art Basel—this is where all the deals go down.
4525 Collins Ave., Mid-Beach
The Eden Roc is on the beach—but you might not even know it given the hotel’s four infinity pools. The building itself dates back to the 1950s, though décor-wise, it’s modern, with neutral colors and floor-to-ceiling windows that not only suffuse the space in light but capture as much of the ocean as possible. Rooms are comfortable, with all the creature comforts you’d want: Nespresso machines, the softest robes, rainfall showerheads, and powerful blow-dryers. Evenings at the lobby bar see locals and visitors alike crowding in for the excellent cocktails whizzed up by expert mixologists.
The Raleigh (Closed)
1775 Collins Ave., Mid-Beach
Life magazine named the Raleigh’s pool the most beautiful in America in 1947, and more than half a century later, it’s not difficult to see why—it’s certainly not the most extravagant pool in Miami Beach, but it does have old-school Art Deco charm (and a great pool bar). The hotel’s rooms are fashioned in the same image, with vintage furniture and large windows to take in views of palm trees and sunsets. You can order locally sourced food through room service anytime; Jose Icardi of Katsuya overhauled the Raleigh’s restaurant a few years back, so that’s an option, too. Plus, the Raleigh is home to one of the city's best watering holes: Martini Bar.
2001 Collins Ave., Mid-Beach
The minute you pull up to the Setai, it's obvious that this is a place with history. The original hotel (called the Dempsey-Vanderbilt, for boxer Jack Dempsey) was designed and built in the 1930s. Eighty years later, the gorgeous old Art Deco hotel is best known for over-the-top luxury: think beach attendants who move your lounge chair to the perfect angle, bring just-cracked coconuts, and have a way of keeping loud partygoers away. The temperature-controlled infinity pools (plural)—a seventy-five-degree lap pool, a ninety-five-degree family pool, and an eight-five-degree central pool—all overlooking the private beach, are a major part of the allure.
Soho Beach House
4385 Collins Ave., Mid-Beach
On a stretch of what’s referred to as “Mid-Beach,” the private club has brought a level of exclusivity to Miami with the opening of its chic, fifty-room property. (Soho House operates as a private club, but hotel guests have the run of the premises.) For those familiar with the club’s amenities, there’s the Cowshed Spa, a rustic relaxation retreat; and Cecconi’s, which serves largely Italian fare in a scenic courtyard setting, tiny lights flickering in the trees overhead. Rooms are generously sized, and in contrast to much of the minimalism seen elsewhere in Miami, feature gorgeously tiled Moroccan-feeling floors, raw concrete beams, and worn-in leather armchairs. A strip of private beach is lined with blue-and-white-covered lounge chairs and features a tiki bar, while daybeds flank the buzzing swimming pool.
9703 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour
Right across from Bal Harbour Shops (Aquazurra, Valentino, and the like), the 243-room beachfront hotel was designed by Yabu Pushelberg. The twenty-seven-floor hotel, which is a hybrid hotel-and-residential property, occupies a prime stretch of shoreline. Rooms are comfortable, done in a muted color palette of soft beachy shades and greyish blues; many feature balconies overlooking the ocean. There are a few dining options on-site, one of the most notable is the new Atlantikos, which exudes major Santorini vibes with its largely white-and-blue design and chef Anastasios Chasekioglou’s take on traditional Greek cuisine. Dishes like the roasted manouri cheese with honey are meant to be shared. The BH Burger Bar, with its build-your-own burgers, is sure to be a hit with the littles. For the adults, there’s local craft beer on tap and decadent Parmesan tater tots. When it’s time to decompress, the 14,000-square-foot Remède Spa is wholly transporting and features Finnish saunas and aromatic steam rooms. Treatments are offered outdoors in the spa cabanas upon request.
Miami Beach EDITION
2901 Collins Ave., Mid-Beach
The beautifully redone EDITION hotel (formerly the 1955 Seville Hotel) is a one-stop shop for all things Miami. There’s the fashionable, hard-partying crowd; a palm-fringed lobby; a slick swimming pool; and even an underground nightclub, Basement, which includes both an ice-skating rink and a bowling alley. Guest rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, white oak furnishings, and all the techy trappings, including a Beats Pill wireless speaker to keep the party going long after you’ve left the pool scene. Matador Room, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s upscale restaurant, is king of the dining scene.