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.
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.
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.
2341 Collins Ave., Mid-Beach
1 Hotels have quietly been popping up in our favorite neighborhoods over the past few years—including New York, and Brooklyn, but its first location in South Beach, with its laid-back pool scene right along the waterfront, might be our favorite so far. The décor is minimalist, from the whitewashed pool lounges and umbrellas to reclaimed wood walls and cozy white linens in the bedrooms. The light aesthetic feels at home in South Beach yet more Zen and relaxing than some of the other hotels in the area—the rooms feel like an escape from the city. Another major pull here is the food: Chef Jose Mendin serves up Latin American and Asian fusion cuisine at Habitat, while Plnthouse keeps it light with dozens of delicious vegan plates and vegetable-packed juices. Plus, there's the serene British Bamford Haybarn Spa, a SoulCycle, and a legit 14,000-square-foot gym space (that's Spartan certified, if that's your thing).
3201 Collins Ave., Mid-Beach
A spin-off of Alan Faena's famed Buenos Aires hotel, Faena Hotel Miami Beach is a reimagining of the 1947 Saxony building, which was an early lavish Miami hotel (Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and the like performed there). It blends old-school glam with a vibrant South American vibe, richly decorated in ruby red and cool teal and turquoise blues, with Art Deco touches and serious animal-print accents throughout. Alan Faena collaborated with film director and producer Baz Luhrmann and his wife, Academy Award–winning costume designer Catherine Martin, on the design. The expansive hall lobby ("the cathedral") is lined with gold-leaf columns and floor-to-ceiling murals by Argentinian artist Juan Gatti. (Faena’s collaborator list reads like a who’s who of the arts and entertainment world, and the result is not unlike a Baz Luhrmann movie set.) The rooms, which begin around $700 per night, are generously sized, with the suites bordering on enormous. Rooms with an ocean view—another splurge—do not disappoint. The long, wide balconies are ideal for taking in the sea and the grand stretch of sand leading. (You can also look down at Faena’s modestly sized geometric pool and hot…