Albion Rating: 3.5 Pearls
An Art Deco landmark located two blocks from the beach and steps from the upscale Lincoln Road Mall, the 100-room Albion is one of South Beach's best bargains. Base-level rooms and bathrooms are small and a bit worn, but features are great: a clean pool, free Wi-Fi, room service, and comfortable beds.
Essex House Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
A clean, comfortable, laid-back alternative to the dilapidated Deco price gougers on Ocean Drive, the Essex is an easy walk to museums, shopping, restaurants, the beach (one block away), and all-night brouhaha. A discount price tag, great noise insulation, and personable service more than make up for the fact that it's not directly on the .
Whitelaw Hotel & Lounge Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Perfect for the party animal looking for cheap digs in a central Collins Avenue location. The Whitelaw has a young, lively party scene, free drinks from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., and hot music that plays 24/7. Rooms aren't the cleanest, but they come with 42-inch plasma TVs, iPod docks, and a lively pink decor.
Catalina Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Designed for randy 20-somethings who can rage until 4 a.m., the Catalina can be a godsend. It's moderately priced, across from the beach, and in the heart of the fashionista bar scene. Although there are nice touches like Tempur-Pedic beds and a hip rooftop pool, it's a party hotel at heart, with small rooms and an indifferent staff.
The National Rating: 4.0 Pearls
A moderately priced designer hotel on Collins Avenue beside some of Miami's most stylish luxury resorts, like the and the , the National boasts one of the largest, sleekest pools in Miami. Its small, slightly outdated and relaxed, haphazard service don't contend with its super-chic neighbors', but it's a fraction of their price.
Congress Hotel South Beach Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Townhouse Hotel Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Located right on the beach, the Townhouse offers bright, stylish rooms but little else. Still, it's a great, comparatively clean alternative to the sketchy, similarly priced hotels throughout South Beach. Young singles might appreciate the Townhouse's proximity to clubs and the mix of good-looking Europeans spending the night.