The hotel scene in Miami sizzles like no other city. With an impressive roster of glittering clubs, trendy restaurants, and award-winning spas, Miami’s hotels are much more than a place to rest your head at night. Here's our ranking of the top 10 hippest hotels in Miami.
1. SLS Hotel South Beach
The masterminds behind sbe Entertainment Group, along with architect Philippe Starck, have translated their brand of Beverly Hills luxury with a touch of whimsy to their South Beach outpost on Collins Ave. With The Bazaar by José Andrés’ inventive menu of Spanish tapas veering towards molecular gastronomy—underneath an enormous white seashell encrusted chandelier—and the Hollywood-adored Katsuya outpost serving mouth-watering sushi, the SLS hits all the hip dining marks. It’s also home to Hyde Beach with pool parties by day and a sexy vibe at night in an indoor/outdoor, kitschy surf shack-inspired space. And yes—there is a giant silver “rubber” ducky presiding over it all in the center of the pool deck. 1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-674-1701.
2. Fontainebleau Miami Beach
With a nod to the glamorous, high-flying heydays of its original 1954 incarnate, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach today is just as opulent and flashy. From the lobby’s massive golden Ai Weiwei chandeliers seemingly dripping from the heavens to the “stairway to nowhere” designed explicitly for grand entrances, the Fontainebleau begs to be ogled. Its megaclub LIV routinely draws hordes of scantily clad clubgoers with marquee DJs, like Calvin Harris, Steve Angello, and Tiesto, and the subterranean lounge Arkadia is there to pick up the overflow and keep the party going. For a fine dining experience, indulge at one of its three signature restaurants, Gotham Steak, Hakkasan, or Scarpetta. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-538-2000.
3. W South Beach
From the exclusive, high-energy lounge Wall tucked away through an outdoor labyrinth of sea grape trees and swamp lilies, to the Living Room lobby bar featuring artisanal cocktails by San Francisco-based mixologist Scott Beattie, there’s ample opportunity to lounge with a hip, fashionable set at the W South Beach. There are two flagship restaurants, chef Andrew Carmellini’s The Dutch for New American and Mr. Chow for haute Chinese cuisine. The hotel also boats an impressive contemporary art collection. 2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-938-3000.
4. The Gale South Beach
With a nod to old school glamour that permeates South Beach’s Art Deco District, The Gale Hotel South Beach is a hip hideaway for cocktail aficionados. Its plush Regent Cocktail Club draws a mélange of Miami scenesters sipping classic cocktails made with precision by some of the city’s most talented mixologists. When it’s time to kick it up a notch and hit the dance floor, head to the subterranean lounge Rec Room. The Gale also boasts a rooftop bar and pool, and a prime Collins Ave. address in the heart of the scene. 1690 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-1019.
5. The Standard Spa Miami Beach
There are definitely perks to membership at The Standard Spa Miami Beach. With its idyllic Venetian Island location and dazzling views of Biscayne Bay from its dockside restaurant and pool, it’s a retreat at the junction of trendy and zen. These perks also come with a hotel stay, a spa treatment, or a $125 day pass on the weekends ($75 during the week). The spa offers a variety of wellness classes and workshops, as well as a hydrotherapy playground with a massive hamam. 40 Island Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-1717.
6. Soho Beach House
Another member’s only retreat, accessible with a stay at the hotel or by dining at its open-to-the-public Italian restaurant Cecconi’s, the Soho Beach House is notorious for its celebrity-splashed soirees. Its long, narrow pool is lined with cushy lounges and a tiki-style bar at the rear of the property, near the ocean. It’s a playground for the moneyed, fashionable, and creative set on the weekends. 4385 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-507-7900.
7. Epic Hotel
Home to one of the hottest restaurants in Miami—the sumptuous Japanese stunner, Zuma—the Epic Hotel is a perennial hot spot. At 54 stories high with sweeping views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami River, it’s truly made an epic imprint on the Miami skyline. Its 16th floor pool and Area 31 terrace bar seem to float in the clouds amidst downtown’s high rises. This is also where you’ll find Exhale Mind Body Spa, dedicated to results-oriented core fusion classes and spa treatments inside 12,000 square-feet of serenity. 270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami; 305-424-5226.
8. Mandarin Oriental
The novelty and luxury of this island retreat on Brickell Key, just across a bridge from downtown’s hustle and bustle, makes the Mandarin Oriental a favorite destination hotel. Offering unparalleled views of Biscayne Bay, a private beach club, and the fabulous waterfront outdoor dining restaurant Café Sambal, it’s popular amongst a post-work and weekend crowd. It also boasts an award-winning Asian-inspired spa for serious relaxation. 500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami; 305-913-8288.
9. Riverside Hotel
A night out on Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale isn’t complete without a visit to the historic Riverside Hotel. Enjoy dinner and cocktails on the front patio of Indigo Restaurant and watch the crowds come and go on this popular street lined with boutiques, art galleries, and bars. For a little decadence, enjoy bubbles and oysters at the Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille. There’s also the Golden Lyon Vintage Pub and Preston’s Wine and Martini Lounge for imbibing. 620 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-467-0671.
10. The Pillars Hotel
For a boutique retreat with stunning views of the Intracoastal Waterway and easy access to the Atlantic Ocean, The Pillars Hotel in Fort Lauderdale is just the place. Its biggest draw is the Secret Garden Dining Club. The waterfront Secret Garden restaurant is accessible to hotel guests anytime of day, and at dinnertime it opens up to dining club members. Helmed by executive chef Yousseff Hammi, the cuisine combines the fresh flavors of South Florida with Moroccan influences. 111 N. Birch Rd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-467-9639.