South Beach Hotels › Historic Hotels
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Esplendor Hotel Breakwater South Beach

Esplendor Hotel Breakwater South Beach Rating: 4.5 Pearls

The 100-room Hotel Breakwater's highlight is its location -- on Ocean Drive, across the street from the most popular area of the beach (however, proximity to Ocean Drive's restaurants and bars can mean noisy nights). The hotel takes up two adjacent towers, one of which is in the former Edison Hotel building. Rooms all feature handsome, modern yet minimal decor -- crisp white bedding with avocado-green throws, sepia-toned photographs, dark patterned carpets, and streamlined furniture. The rooftop lounge (where a Calvin Klein underwear ad was shot) is a popular nighttime spot, and the pool (though small) is sleek, and has views of the ocean.

Hilton Grand Vacations Club at South Beach

Hilton Grand Vacations Club at South Beach Rating: 4.0 Pearls

Offering just 52 rooms in one of the world's most desirable destinations, it's no surprise that the Grand Vacations Club, a timeshare property owned and operated by Hilton, is sold out for months at a stretch. Divided between two adjacent Art Deco buildings directly on Ocean Drive, the hotel clearly has a lock on prime location. However, guests expecting resort-style amenities will be disappointed: The property has no pool, restaurant, lounge or room service, and parking is valet only. Families will likely appreciate the small kitchen for whipping up a quick breakfast or lunch.

Gale South Beach

Gale South Beach Rating: 4.0 Pearls

This historic Art Deco hotel on Collins Avenue got a breath of new life when it reopened as a stylish 87-room boutique in late 2012. Retro-chic rooms have black-and-white photos on the walls and beachy blue-and-white decor; all have whopping 55-inch flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and sleek bathrooms with walk-in showers (but no tubs). The sunny rooftop pool; clubby lounge with fancy, fresh cocktails; and the super-hip basement nightclub with 80s decor and a soundtrack of 90s hits are all draws. But be warned that the signage can be confusing -- it says The Gale on the front and The Regent on the back, for the two historic hotels that were combined to form the current property. Also, some rooms are noisy, there are no good beach views, and Studios are tiny.

The Raleigh Hotel

The Raleigh Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls

There's nothing luxurious about all-vintage, authentically nicked furniture (except maybe the price). But the Raleigh's iconic pool, great restaurant, plush beds, high-def TVs, lively bar scene, DVD library, and relaxed dedication to all things cool make it ideal for low-maintenance hipsters craving lackluster glam.

The National

The National Rating: 4.0 Pearls

A moderately priced designer hotel on posh upper Collins Avenue, the National boasts one of the largest, sleekest pools in Miami. Small rooms, though, and relaxed, haphazard service doesn't contend with its super-chic neighbors, the Delano and Sagamore hotels, but a 2013 revamp to exterior and common spaces did help.

The Betsy – South Beach

The Betsy – South Beach Rating: 4.0 Pearls

The Betsy is a four-pearl boutique hotel that does just about everything right: Stylish but informal decor and an attention to detail make for a luxe, yet laid-back ambiance. The 61 rooms are a tad small, as can often be expected in historic buildings, but they feature chic white-on-white, beachy decor and teak accents, as well as high-tech amenities including flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, bathroom mirrors embedded with TVs, and free Wi-Fi. Guests rave about the rooftop sundeck, scene-y lobby bar, and excellent BLT Steak restaurant. The pool is small, as is the fitness center, but many feel that the hotel's highlights -- including its convenient Ocean Drive location -- outshine these minor setbacks.

Albion

Albion Rating: 3.5 Pearls

This 1930s' Art Deco hotel gained new life after a 2005 renovation by the Rubell family, best known for its Studio 54 connection. For a while, the venue's mod design and surprisingly low rates made the Albion one of the best-kept secrets in South Beach. But a decade later, the hotel needs a bit of TLC and rates are not always such a bargain. The 100-room boutique property still retains some advantages over the local competition, though, including a sunny courtyard pool, a hipster cocktail lounge, and relatively spacious rooms. Be prepared to pay stiff tariffs for breakfast, valet parking, and beach chairs.

Clevelander Hotel

Clevelander Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls

This 60-room boutique hotel is a SoBe landmark, with nonstop parties raging at its three bars and two rooftop terraces. Clean rooms have flat-screen TVs and plush beds -- but they're small, and noise can be a problem.

Essex House Hotel

Essex House Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls

The 80-room Essex House Hotel is a bastion of Art Deco architecture and decor — so much so that groups of tourists regularly tramp through the lobby on guided tours. And that's not the only hubbub that disrupts this so-called "oasis of calm." The party at the adjacent Clevelander often continues into the wee hours, and the noise keeps some guests awake. On the plus side, there's a tiny pool in a lush, tropical courtyard, a feature that many South Beach hotels lack. Generous freebies include a basic continental breakfast, happy hour cocktails, and fresh towels to use at the beach across the street. Considering the location in the heart of South Beach, this hotel is a terrific value.

Blue Moon Hotel

Blue Moon Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls

The 75-room Blue Moon is a serene, unpretentious boutique hotel that is relatively secluded from the crowds that throng Ocean Drive and the beach, but still conveniently located within walking distance of these popular spots. This historic Art Deco hotel was once the tropical retreat of Merv Griffin, but is now part of Marriott's vast portfolio — which accounts at least in part for the upscale property's polished service. However, much like many of Miami's vintage hotels, rooms and bathrooms here are tight on space.

Dates


Oyster Pearl Rating

  • Award-Winning

What's Your Style?

  • Historic
  • Beach
  • Luxury
  • Romantic
  • Value
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Locations

  • South Beach
  • Aventura
  • Bal Harbour
  • Coconut Grove
  • Coral Gables
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Amenities

  • Air Conditioner
  • Babysitting Services
  • Bar at Pool
  • Basic Television
  • Business Center
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