Neon lights, Art Deco buildings, vast stretches of sandy beach dotted with umbrellas and mojito-fueled nightclubs – Miami is all this and more. Nicknamed the Magic City, Miami has an enticing combination of hedonism and high-brow culture that appeals to a wide range of travelers who flock there for sun, sand, art, design, food and nightlife.
On a trip to Miami, you can tour the landmarked Art Deco district on South Beach, spot street art murals in Wynwood, sunbathe and swim in the Atlantic Ocean, indulge in meals by celebrity chefs and dance salsa in Little Havana.
The hotel scene is equally varied, with luxury beach hotels perfect for night owls who want to be in the middle of the action, families with kids who want to relax by the pool and everything in between. Here are five of our favorite luxury hotels on the beach – just don’t forget to explore the rest of the city, too.
Technically, in Sunny Isles, just north of Miami, this Leading Hotels of the World member is our pick for multi-generational family trips. The Mediterranean-style resort is a world unto itself, with several pools and restaurants, including an outpost of the chic Greek restaurant Avra Estiatorio, a soothing spa, a kids club spread out over 1.8 beachfront hectares and a private stretch of beach dotted with red umbrellas.
Families traveling together will especially love the oceanfront suites with full kitchens and private balconies. You can even bring your furry friend – dogs are welcomed with food, water bowls and toys.
If it feels like a cinematic esthetic pervades this luxury hotel, there’s a good reason: it was designed by none other than Moulin Rouge filmmakers Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin. The maximalist design touches every corner of the property, from the lobby with its large-scale murals by Argentine artist Juan Gatti to the Living Room bar, which features tiger print sofas and giant chandeliers. There’s even a golden woolly mammoth skeleton by Damien Hirst on the terrace near Los Fuegos restaurant by celebrity chef Francis Mallmann.
For a fun night out, book dinner and a show at the Feana Theatre, which hosts cabaret performances, live music and other theatrical productions. Then, when you need a bit of R&R, book a treatment at the Tierra Santa Healing House, a 2,044-square-meter spa with shaman-developed healing rituals and one of the largest hammams on the East Coast.
A sleek white and gold aesthetic reigns in this sybaritic hotel by nightlife impresario Ian Schrager. Fans of the EDITION brand will find familiar comforts, like bath products by Le Labo and flat-screen TVs in the rooms. Not that you’ll be spending much time in your room: between the beach, the Matador Room by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and the nightclub, complete with a bowling alley and skating rink, there’s plenty here to keep you busy.
This is the kind of place where you’ll want to party all night, then sleep in and recover with room service and a spa treatment the next day.
Art Deco and Asian heritage fuse at the Setai Miami Beach, a favourite of celebrities like Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Madonna. Entering the hotel, you can feel your shoulders relax as you glide through the double-height lobby in a zen-like state. Dark teak, pagoda-style structures and Asian artefacts imbue this Leading Hotels of the World member with a sleek aesthetic that’s a compelling alternative to Miami’s more exuberant hotels.
It’s all about relaxation here, from the private beach to the three tranquil pools. As you might imagine, the Asian restaurant Jaya is a coveted spot for cuisine inspired by Thailand, India, China, Japan, Vietnam and Korea, with dim sum, noodle and rice dishes, and so much more.
The Betsy is a welcome anomaly on flashy Ocean Drive, which is full of Art Deco buildings with neon signs. It almost looks as if a Georgian colonial building was airlifted straight from Savannah. But that’s not the only thing that sets this family-run hotel apart.
Its owners have cultivated a community of artists and writers and regularly activate the hotel with art exhibitions, literary festivals and other events. You could spend the day sunbathing on a lounge chair at the property’s private beach, sip a martini while listening to live jazz in the lobby bar and attend a lecture by a prominent scholar – all in a day.