It’s Not Too Late to Book Your South Beach Hotel for Art Basel

See recent posts by Jane Reynolds

Exhibit from Art Basel 2014; Ines Hegedus-Garcia via Flickr

Exhibit from Art Basel 2014; Ines Hegedus-Garcia via Flickr

One of Miami's most beloved see-and-be-seen fetes, Art Basel kicks off just four weeks from today. And while the temperatures across the country may be unseasonably warm right now, trust us when we tell you that come December 3, you'll want to be in South Beach. Not only can you enjoy fun in the sun on the sand during your visit, but the long weekend also brings tons of late-night soirees and fashionable pool parties -- and let's not forget the main reason to go: Art Basel's massive art show featuring paintings, sculptures, installations, film, and photography from nearly 300 renowned galleries around the world. 

Okay, so we've convinced you. But there's one tiny problem -- Art Basel fans have been planning for months now, so not only have they already booked up the majority of available hotel rooms, but those that are left are quite pricey. We wouldn't get you all hyped up for nothing, though. Here are nine hotels that, at the time of publishing, still have rooms that can be booked Thursday, December 3 through Sunday, December 6. And while "cheap" during Art Basel weekend is a relative term, we found hotels in each category, so whether you're looking to splurge or save, we've got you covered. 

Splurge #1: 1 Hotel South Beach, $1700/night

The luxurious, 426-room 1 Hotel South Beach opened in March 2015 after a complete renovation (it was formerly Perry South Beach, and the Gansevoort Miami Beach before that). The 1 Hotel brand is extremely eco-conscious and the entire hotel has environment-friendly features including salvaged wood, hemp mattresses, and take-home socks instead of disposable slippers. Top-notch amenities include direct beach access; four pools, including one on the roof; three bars and fine-dining restaurantfitness center; event spaces; and Tesla car service within a three-mile radius.

Splurge #2: SLS Hotel South Beach, $1000/night

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. Still, the SLS isn’t about relaxing inside — it’s about soaking up the scene at the pools, restaurants, and beach.

Splurge #3: The Betsy — South Beach, $950/night

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.

Stay Comfy #1: Catalina Hotel, $440/night

A comfortable (enough) pick for both your stay and your wallet, the 190-room Catalina Hotel is an upper-middle-range property comprised of three retro buildings on Collins Avenue, across from the beach. Funky, trendy interiors attract young partygoers who cool off at the rooftop pool, under misters at the poolside bar, and in the bamboo garden pool. Two hip restaurants offer street side dining and popular among guests are fours bars, including a happy hour with free drinks. Stylish rooms feature colorful decor, flat-screen TVs, and minibars, and upgraded rooms have sitting areas. 

Stay Comfy #2: Casa Grande Suite Hotel, $435/night

These privately owned condo suites are a great place for big groups and families seeking a home base in the middle of SoBe during Art Basel. They feature fully furnished kitchensflat-screen televisions, free Wi-Fi, spacious rooms, and double bathrooms. (Plus, each suite’s large size means squeezing in additional guests isn’t much of a problem.) But potential guests should note that the sort of amenities typically found at a hotel or resort are minimal: The spa isn’t always open, and there’s no restaurant, bar, lounge, or pool.

Stay Comfy #3: Sanctuary Hotel, $450/night

The rooftop pool here may be small, but the rooms are massive and the property’s location means you’ll save cash by skipping expensive cab rides. With just 27 suites, the Sanctuary Hotel doesn’t provide a ton of amenities — but most guests seem satisfied with the on-site restaurant, free lobby Wi-Fi, and 24-hour room service.

Save #1: Whitelaw Hotel & Lounge, $330/night

The Whitelaw Hotel & Lounge is a mid-range, budget-friendly option with 49 rooms in an Art Deco-style building on central Collins Avenue. It attracts a young crowd who come to South Beach for the lively party scene, and the evening happy hour at the bar in the reception area is very popular with guests, who get free drinks. Rooms are flamboyantly decorated and have minibars and marble bathrooms. Apart from free Wi-Fi, the Whitelaw Hotel & Lounge offers few amenities, but it’s a good value compared to other hotels in the same area. 

Save #2: Beach Paradise Hotel, $345/night

The 54-room Beach Paradise Hotel has very basic rooms, and no pool or gym. What you’re paying here for, though, is to be across from the beach on Ocean Drive, and within walking distance of South Beach’s nightlife. It also offers free Wi-Fi in the lobby.

Save #3: Clinton Hotel South Beach, $330/night

An affordable, comfortable, clean hotel that’s two blocks from the beach and surrounded by popular South Beach bars and restaurants, The Clinton lacks a pool but has a large, popular hot tub with food and drink service. Plus, it offers more than most small-scale budget boutiques — free Wi-Fi, a sunny courtyard, and even Kama Sutra kits, which might come in handy during a long, raucous weekend. For the price, it’s an excellent pick.

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