Mondrian South Beach Rating: 4.5 Pearls

The Mondrian's shiny white interior features a twirling black staircase and crystal chandeliers hidden inside pendulous golden bells.

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Iconic Hotels in South Beach (9 of 10)

 The Mondrian's shiny white interior features a twirling black staircase and crystal chandeliers hidden inside pendulous golden bells.
At the fantastical, Philippe Starck-styled Delano, the beautiful, billowing white curtains still feel as otherworldly as they did when famed hotelier Ian Schrager reopened this classic Art Deco hotel in 1995. And Lenny Kravitz's Florida Room is still one of the best lounges in South Beach. The lobby is decorated with chairs and objects by the likes of Charles and Ray Eames and Salvador Dali. But the Delano's real highlight is its huge infinity pool, dubbed a "water salon." Live DJs, tasty food and drink, posh cabanas, and bungalows create an environment that's sceney but still relaxing -- at least until the evening, when hordes of non-guests come to party. Having just completed a $40 million overhaul, the Betsy reopened in 2009 to much acclaim. Built in 1940 by acclaimed Art Deco architect L. Murray Dixon, the Betsy stands out on South Beach's Ocean Drive as the only example of Florida Georgian design. Like the Biltmore, it's also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Soon after opening -- it was then named the Betsy Ross, in honor of America's famous flagmaker -- the Besty hosted U.S. troops during World War II. And in 1972, Gloria Steinem chose the Betsy to be her National Women's Political Caucus headquarters during the Democratic convention. Built in 1938, the Clevelander has been a South Beach landmark for more than 70 years, known as much for its come-one-come-all parties as for its official duties as a hotel. Many consider a stay, or at least a stop at the patio bar, to be one of the quintessential SoBe experiences. With no dress code -- and often very little dress at all -- at the poolside bar, which is adjacent to the street, the Clevelander can look a bit like a frat party. But where else can you dance to classic-rock standards surrounded by so much history? Just opened in 2009, the Mondrian -- which has a renowned big brother in L.A. -- has quickly become a South Beach icon, thanks to the innovative styling of designer Marcel Wanders, who made the hotel to look like Sleeping Beauty's castle brought up from the sea by a team of superheroes. The Mondrian's shiny white interior features a twirling black staircase and crystal chandeliers hidden inside pendulous golden bells. But the Mondrian's most stunning feature -- a gorgeous bow-shaped pool -- comes with beautiful views over the Biscayne Bay and two flamboyant canopied living rooms that serve as quiet gathering spots throughout the day and night.
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