At just under $800 for the average night, a guest room at the Setai is about the most expensive hotel room in South Beach. What do you get for this extraordinary splurge? Mood-lit style; an extraordinary restaurant; a beachfront location; large suites -- all this you can find elsewhere, and for a lot less cash. Largely, you're paying for a slight but not impossible chance of spotting Giselle lounging by the pool. For most people -- anyone without an uncommonly thriving multinational corporation, a blockbuster film, or a royal family -- spending this kind of cash for a hotel room is out of the question.
If the recession, the holiday cash crunch, and common sense still factor into your vacation planning, consider this: Just down the block, the Z Ocean Hotel offers even larger, adequately shmancy suites, a hip pool (with a sexy glass-bottom above the Table 8 restaurant), a renowned celebrity-chef-led restaurant (available for room service), a spa, and an even more convenient beachfront location in the heart of the action -- all for less than $200 per night.