The Setai Miami Beach Rating: 5.0 Pearls

The hotel's 85 rooms may lack SoBe flavor and direct ocean views -- but they're gorgeous, gigantic, and filled with luxurious amenities like soaking tubs in the living rooms.

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Best Boutique Hotels in Miami (2 of 32)

 The hotel's 85 rooms may lack SoBe flavor and direct ocean views -- but they're gorgeous, gigantic, and filled with luxurious amenities like soaking tubs in the living rooms.
Paradise doesn't come cheap. Striking but sober mood-lit design, impeccable service, huge rooms, three pools (each a different temperature), and a prime beachside location make the Setai one of the best hotels in Miami. The hotel's 85 rooms may lack SoBe flavor and direct ocean views -- but they're gorgeous, gigantic, and filled with luxurious amenities like soaking tubs in the living rooms. The hotel's carefully manicured grounds, lined with sweeping palm trees, a lush, walled-off pool complex, and a spotless beach, more successfully balance relaxation with the colorful South Beach surroundings. With three splendid pools, a world-class spa, and a state-of-the-art gym, Setai guests want for nothing. There's even a recording studio. A beautifully designed hotel with pomp-free service at all levels -- from housekeeping to porters to private designated assistants -- Tides South Beach brings rarely seen substance to the price tag. Rooms are bright, blissful, and homier than other high-design hotels. Features include deep tubs, flat-screen TVs, superb coffee makers, ocean views from every room, and about twice as much space as the typical South Beach hotel room. Being a small hotel, the amenities aren't too impressive. The pool isn't much to look at -- just a mezzanine-level box-number with a few lounge chairs and a view of shrub-shaded power lines. Although La Marea restaurant remained pretty empty during Oyster's stay, there were four people routinely tending to our table (for over two hours and well after the place closed down for breakfast). The Betsy is home to a delicious venture from a famous chef: BLT Steak. Guests can dine on the outdoor patio. The Betsy is home to a delicious venture from a famous chef: BLT Steak. Guests can dine on the outdoor patio. The Betsy is home to a delicious venture from a famous chef: BLT Steak. Guests can dine on the outdoor patio. The Betsy is home to a delicious venture from a famous chef: BLT Steak. Guests can dine on the outdoor patio. Separated from busy South Beach by lush gardens, this 46-room Art Deco hotel is a low-key oasis. There's a top-notch restaurant, free off-site gym passes, and a small but serene pool. The 46 bright, beautiful rooms -- all suites -- are divided between four separate buildings. Seen here is the bedroom of a studio suite, which also includes a living room area with a similar design. The pool is in the courtyard area, between three of the property's buildings. It's quite small, but surrounded by beautiful gardens and two cabanas, where guests can order drinks or lunch. A pitcher of citrus-infused water sits poolside. Though there aren't many loungers, it's always pretty easy to find a place in the sun. A refreshing mix of families and couples lounge on Wallace Tutt-designed porch furniture with their newspapers sipping drinks or sampling fare from the hotel's restaurant, 660 Mediterranean Kitchen. Debuting in 2009 and designed by Marcel Wanders, the off-the-beach Mondrian is as stylish as its party-centric South Beach siblings, the Delano and Shore Club, but lacks the hyped-up clubbers. Its impeccable service, kitchen-equipped rooms, and notable after-parties at the Sunset Lounge draw well-heeled singles but also families seeking more than the PG-13 blandness of most kid-friendly hotels. Rooms are large, bright, and stylish. Each includes a stovetop, great views, and showers that have to be seen to be believed. Like at other hotels, the bathroom has a minimalist is-it-a-counter-or-not sink and eco-friendly Agua toiletries. But what sets this bathroom apart is the shower. Two walls are composed of a stormy mosaic that looks like an Impressionist painting. The third wall, however, was a floor-to-ceiling mirror. Sexy. The Mondrian's main feature is its large, bow-shaped infinity pool looking out over Biscayne Bay. By day or by night, it's a beautiful view; most guests idly float in the pool watching the horizon. Two outdoor living rooms -- one red and the other green -- are free of charge and open to all. With eccentric furniture, a jellyfish aquarium and a coed, clothing-optional hammam, the Victor packs sexy glamour into a small Ocean Drive boutique (just across from the beach). Rooms here are small but luxe -- the electronics range from confusing to unresponsive, but the curtain walls and whimsical decor keep things interesting. You could squeeze a lap into the second-floor pool, but it's mostly for lounging. It has a spectacular view of the ocean at one end and connects to the Passage Bar via a breezeway on the other. In a shady, open courtyard, the bar serves salads, sandwiches and light snacks. The Delano's 195 all-white rooms don't come cheap, but you're paying for surreal, Philippe Starck style and all-night parties at the "water salon" (a.k.a. the pool). To some, its hip factor has been bested in recent years by the Gansevoort South, Shore Club, and Mondrian, but their style doesn't compare, and good times are still to be had. Beyond the design elements of Philippe Starck, bold details, like this chair designed by Salvador Dali, create an atmosphere straight from Alice in Wonderland. Renovated in 2006 and 2007, the still all-white rooms have just three dramatic touches of color: the green-stone-topped desk; a large, real, potted plant; a single green apple resting on a metal plinth engraved with the words "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." The huge infinity pool -- or "water salon," as dubbed by Philippe Starck -- is both a trendy scene and a relaxing one. Classical music plays underwater, and an ornate silver table and chairs sits right in the pool for whoever snags them first. In front of the pool, there's a beautiful orchard of manicured ficus trees. Kitschy design permeates this 32-room hotel, owned by Diesel Jeans. Casual service, minimal amenities, and a lobby tucked behind the restaurant and bar keep the hotel very low-key. Dim lighting, caged lights in the hallways and elevator, and weathered hardwood floors are a stark contrast to the bright, sunny surroundings outside the hotel. With a little retinal adjustment, though, it's actually a nice, relaxing retreat from the bright sun and bustle. Each of the Pelican's 30 rooms and two sprawling penthouse suites has a unique design. It feels like the shell of a charming old beach shack, filled with vintage trinkets and over-the-top, vaguely teenage-tinged themes. The Executive Sixties room is shown here. The Psychedelic-ate Girl room, a standard room with a queen bed, has wavy stripes of neon yellow and green paint covered one wall, while a glittery armoire, bright turquoise chair, and wobbly table topped with Paper Mag round out the trippy design.
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