SLS Hotel South Beach Rating: 4.0 Pearls
South Beach, Miami, Florida

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Direct beach access
  • 2 large outdoor pools with stunning design
  • White, stylish rooms with iPod docks and iPads
  • 3 trendy, gourmet restaurants and 2 stylish bars
  • Bar service available at the pool and beach
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
  • Salon and small spa
  • Poolside massages
  • Free car service within 3 miles

Cons

  • Small rooms and even smaller bathrooms
  • Expensive on-site dining
  • Daily resort fee
  • Highly stylized Philippe Starck design in public spaces isn't to all tastes
  • Valet parking only, though a cheaper public lot is 1 block away
  • Not kid-friendly (a pro for some)

Bottom Line

Since its star-studded opening party in November 2012, the SLS South Beach has become a hot hotel to see and be seen in Miami. The 140-room property features direct beach access, two large pools, two high-profile restaurants, two bars, and a great address on swank Collins Avenue. Celebrity designers Philippe Starck and Lenny Kravitz designed the rooms, which are stylish and sexy, but remarkably small for the price. The Surfcomber Hotel, next door, has the same size rooms at about a third of the cost. Still, the SLS isn’t about relaxing inside -- it’s about soaking up the scene at the pools, restaurants, and beach.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

This style-heavy hotel attracts a young, trendy crowd.

Grounds
Grounds

With the help of $45 million, celebrity designer Philippe Stark has transformed this historic Art Deco building on Collins Avenue into an oddball dream world. The property’s daring new design may dazzle -- and possibly overwhelm -- the senses with a patchwork of competing styles. The reception area feels like a woodsy lodge with an oak check-in desk, kayak light fixture, and vintage camp photos on the walls. Steps away, a restaurant features a mounted bull’s head wearing a hot pink mask, walls covered with calligraphy, and black and white headshots of unspecified women. The stylistic mishmash gets even stranger upstairs, where the hallways are painted pitch black, and the rooms are almost pure white with classical French flourishes.

The hotel’s edgy style, high-profile restaurants, and hot spot pool scene appeal to a young, affluent crowd. So far, the SLS has attracted celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Derek Jeter, Rumer Willis (who performed with her band during the opening party), and Lenny Kravitz, who designed two of the penthouses. The small, sexy rooms -- with two-person occupancy limits and mirrors above the beds -- clearly weren’t designed for families.

Despite the media hype surrounding its opening, the the sexy party scene that Philippe Starck envisioned, with guests dancing on tables, isn't the daily norm. But if the scene hasn't heated up yet, guests can head to the pools at other nearby hotels, such as the hopping Delano next door -- also designed by Starck.

 Location

An ideal location right on the beach and a short walk from South Beach's many bars, restaurants, and clubs.

The hotel is located right on the beach, in the center of Miami's Art Deco Historic District. The area is packed in every direction with dozens of bars, restaurants, and attractions, all within easy walking distance. Some of South Beach's best dining, drinking, and shopping can also be found at the Lincoln Road outdoor mall, just two blocks away.

To the north are popular, high-end nightclubs at hotels such as The Perry or Fontainebleau, along with some of Miami's most exclusive clubs, such as Mokai. To the south, things get less exclusive and more populist along the famed Ocean Drive, with its busy boardwalk, outdoor bars and cafes, and more affordable boutique hotels.

  • 4-minute walk to the Jackie Gleason Theatre of The Performing Arts
  • 6-minute walk to the Bass Museum of Art
  • 7-minute walk to Lincoln Road outdoor mall
  • 10-minute walk to the Miami Convention Center
  • 12-minute walk to Miami Beach Botanical Garden
  • 14-minute walk to the Holocaust Memorial
  • 14-minute walk to the World Erotic Art Museum
  • 2-minute drive to the Wolfsonian Library and Museum
  • 3-minute drive to Lummus Park
  • 20-minute drive from Miami International Airport ($32 flat rate, not including tip)
  • 20-minute drive to Bal Harbour Shops

 Rooms

All-white rooms are lovely, but small.

Minibar in the Premier Ocean View King Room
Minibar in the Premier Ocean View King Room

Nine of the hotel’s 14 room types have less than 270 square feet of space -- remarkably small for the price -- plus tiny bathrooms. There are also no closets to speak of. The Surfcomber Hotel, next door, has the same size rooms at about a third of the cost, but they lack the novelty of being designed by Philippe Starck.

Larger rooms -- Suites, Penthouses, and Villas -- run from 504 square feet to 1,117 square feet, but they come with a hefty price tag (two of the penthouses were designed by Lenny Kravitz, after all).

The strikingly white rooms come with sexy flourishes, such as mirrors above the beds and snacks in boxes labeled “saints” and “sinner.” Other highlights include flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, iPads with SLS Hotel mobile apps, and well-stocked minibars with over a dozen types of liquor, beer, and wine. The rooms’ wallpaper and chandeliers are reminiscent of aristocratic French decor. The bathrooms are tiny and sleek, with showers that have especially nice rain showerheads.

Rooms fit a maximum of two guests. Less than half the rooms face the ocean, so guests that want a good view should book early.

  • Rooms designed by Philippe Starck
  • Penthouses designed by Lenny Kravitz (Villa Penthouse and Tower Penthouse)
  • Rooms come with one king or two double beds.
  • 42-inch flat-screen TVs
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • iPod docks
  • iPads with controls for room service, dinner reservations, luggage pick-up, and more
  • Well-stocked minibars
  • Separate bathtubs (Villas and Penthouses)
  • Balconies in select rooms

 Pool

Two large pools with pricey cabanas and high-end bars

The Guest Pool
The Guest Pool

SLS has two spacious pools -- the Guest Pool, for guests only, and Hyde Beach Pool, which is open to the public.

The Guest Pool is lined with comfy lounge chairs and features a 10-foot-tall ducky statue. It also has two types of cabanas for rent: simple white canopies with privacy curtains and sofas, and 600-square-foot lounges that are larger -- and more expensive -- than most of the hotel’s guestrooms.

Beyond the Guest Pool lies Hyde Beach -- a pricey, exclusive lounge with a pool, bar, and artificial beach area with sand. Designer Philippe Starck described his vision for Hyde Beach as “a sexy hell where beautiful bad girls and bad boys are dancing on the chairs, on tables, drowned in the music, in the heat, in the sweat.” As lovely as that sounds, I didn’t see any sweaty people dancing on furniture during my visit. A few people sipped on cocktails in the bohemian Hyde Beach Bar, while the pool area was mostly deserted. Then again, it was a Wednesday afternoon.

Guests can order from a poolside menu offering burgers, ceviche, fruit platters, “cocktail push pops,” and an assortment of rolls from Katsuya. At night Bar Centro opens next to the Guest Pool, providing more options for food and cocktails.

Both pools open late, so don’t count on an early morning swim.

 Fitness Center

Modern fitness equipment and classes on the beach

  • Private and group fitness classes on the beach
  • Star Trac brand cardio equipment
  • Two ellipticals
  • Three treadmills
  • One recumbent bike and one spinning bike
  • Free weights, resistant bands, medicine balls, and yoga mats
  • Private shower and steam room
  • Individual TVs on select cardio machines
  • Free water, magazines, apples, headphones, and towels

 Food

Three restaurants and two bars are trendy and expensive.

Food By Jose
Food By Jose

Jose Andres, a well-known Spanish chef, is the mastermind behind most of the food at SLS. The Bazaar and Terrace restaurants serve his dishes, and -- rather confusingly -- The Bazaar (which is only open for dinner) also serves “food by Jose Andres” during the day.

The only restaurant not overseen by Andres is Katsuya, which is the creation of sushi chef Katsuya Uechi. It is open for dinner and serves sushi and hot dishes such as chicken teriyaki and lobster.

The Bazaar serves a blend of gourmet Asian, Spanish, and Latin foods. Typical dishes include delicacies such as bone marrow with truffles, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with foie gras, and Japanese eel tacos.

Hyde Beach Bar is open for lunch and dinner. It has indoor and poolside seating and serves burgers, ceviche, fruit platters, “cocktail push pops,” and an assortment of rolls from Katsuya.

Bar Centro is located outside, next to the Guest Pool. It opens in the evenings and serves a limited menu from The Bazaar. Many of its pricey specialty cocktails go the distance to be unique, such as its caipirinhas with sugar frozen by liquid nitrogen and margaritas with not salt but a “salt air” infusion.

The Terrace restaurant is located at the front of the hotel and is open for breakfast and lunch. It serves an expensive breakfast buffet, typical breakfast foods, sandwiches, and fancy lunch specialties such as “Wild Alaskan Salmon Veracruzana.”

 Services

Poolside massages, a beauty salon, and free beach chairs

  • Food and beverage service on the beach
  • Two free beach chairs included in the resort fee
  • Small spa with massage service
  • Beauty salon does cuts, colors, and manicures
  • Poolside massages
  • Free coffee
  • Free car service within 3 miles

 Bottom Line

Since its star-studded opening party in November 2012, the SLS South Beach has become a hot hotel to see and be seen in Miami. The 140-room property features direct beach access, two large pools, two high-profile restaurants, two bars, and a great address on swank Collins Avenue. Celebrity designers Philippe Starck and Lenny Kravitz designed the rooms, which are stylish and sexy, but remarkably small for the price. The Surfcomber Hotel, next door, has the same size rooms at about a third of the cost. Still, the SLS isn’t about relaxing inside -- it’s about soaking up the scene at the pools, restaurants, and beach.

Things You Should Know About SLS Hotel South Beach

Address

  • 1701 Collins Ave. Miami Beach, FL 33139

Room Types

  • Premeir City View Double Room
  • Premier City View King Room
  • Premier Ocean View Double Room
  • Premier Ocean View King Rooom
  • SLS Signature Suite
  • SLS Suite
  • Superior City View Double Room
  • Superior City View King Room
  • Superior Ocean View Double Room
  • Superior Ocean View King Room
  • Terrace Ocean View King Room
  • Tower Penthouse
  • Villa
  • Villa Penthouse

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 140
Pool: N/A
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): N/A
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Hotel Information

Location: South Beach, Miami
Address: 1701 Collins Ave. Miami Beach, FL 33139
(See Map)
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