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 beach.
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.
Kent Hotel Rating: 2.5 Pearls
The Kent's newly styled lobby and outdoor bar fit nicely with its fun and funky South Beach location. But despite the hotel's 2009 improvements, old, worn bathroom fixtures and bedding remain in some of the 54 guest rooms. It's a fine choice for the price, but also compare rates at the Essex House, Albion, and Suites on the Beach hotels.
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.
Hyatt Regency Miami Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Efficient and business-focused, the Hyatt is in the heart of Downtown Miami. It features comfortable, modern rooms, a 24-hour gym, a small pool and an adjoining convention center to keeps the suits coming. Though it's close to public transportation, the beach is still a long way away.