There are worse places to log on-the-clock hours than sunny Florida (we should know; Oyster reporters collectively spent months exhaustively inspecting every detail of hotels and resorts all over the state). Here are Florida’s best business-traveler crash pads, where pros can get work done — and indulge in a little offline luxury.
Located inside a steel and glass tower in Downtown Miami's business district, the coolly elegant Four Seasons is a sleek and well-oiled machine designed to meet the demands of sophisticated business travelers. Ample amenities in the modern rooms include large flat-screen TVs, minibars, and twice-daily turndown service. A recently revamped steakhouse features a lively, often crowded bar and outdoor terrace seating. Note that fees like Wi-Fi and valet parking can add up.
Located on the topmost floors of the JW Marriott building, the 44-room Hotel Beaux Arts is even more upscale than the Marquis. Though its shared facilities with the Marquis may detract from its intimate, boutique feel, guests do have a special check-in area in the lobby, and the hotel is ultra luxe: all of its rooms are large, with rotating flat-screen TVs; iPod docks; iPads with digital concierge services; huge marble bathrooms with TVs in the mirror and separate showers and soaking tubs; and amazing views.
The 313-room JW Marriott Marquis is certainly not short on amenities: there are three restaurants, pool, basketball court, virtual bowling alley, 3D theater room, golf school, and huge fitness center. A good choice for business travelers, the hotel is one of the most modern hotels in Downtown Miami, and all rooms come equipped with desktop computers and giant 52-inch flat-screen TVs.
On Brickell Avenue, Miami's business thoroughfare, this Hilton luxury offshoot is perfect for business travelers who need to get to work. Taking up 17 floors of a 36-story skyscraper downtown, the hotel has some swanky touches -- a rooftop pool, a top-notch spa and gym, 500-thread-count linens, and spacious standard rooms. The Conrad also has a great restaurant and The Bar at LvL 25 has sweeping views of Biscayne Bay and is a popular spot for happy hour. For a similar stay, compare rates with the neighboring JW Marriott.
Despite its sexy image and $1 billion facelift, the Fontainebleau feels like a high-end family hotel for conventioneers. The sprawling, 1,504-room Art Deco complex (which stretches over several city blocks) features nine pools, eight dining options (including destination restaurant Scarpetta), and the LIV nightclub. Its peaceful Miami Beach location - next to the also snazzy Eden Roc hotel - is 30 blocks from the South Beach action.
Not only is the massive, 998-room Diplomat the biggest hotel in Hollywood, Florida, but it’s also one of the top convention hotels in the country. With 200,000 square feet of meeting space that can accommodate a whopping 8,000 people, the property is often a blur of conventioneers. Fortunately, the sheer size of the hotel -- plus a designated wing for the Convention Center -- allows leisure and business travelers to coexist without much friction. Other highlights include two huge outdoor pools with cabanas and bar service, a full-service spa, five distinct restaurants, four ballrooms, rental Jet Skis and kayaks, and direct access to a lovely stretch of public beach.
Built on a gigantic scale, with a Henry Moore sculpture in the center of the cavernous lobby and 22 meeting rooms (totaling 286,557 square feet), this 641-room hotel is designed for business. With its attentive (though somewhat overwhelmed) service, decent pool, and downtown waterfront location, it consistently attracts a busy crowd of business travelers and families.
With 133 modern, LED TV-equipped rooms and a location near the airport, EB Hotel Miami is an excellent choice for business travelers. The upscale chain hotel offers a free airport shuttle, free Wi-Fi, outdoor pool, and fitness center with a variety of machines and free weights. Guests needing to stay close to the airport may also want to check out Comfort Suites Miami Airport North, a mid-range hotel with a free breakfast.
With 28 meeting rooms and 46,000 square feet of meeting space, Eden Roc sees a lot of business travelers, from on-site conventioneers to budget-conscious guests doing business at the snazzy Fontainebleau resort next door. The hotel is high up in Miami Beach (it's around a $20 taxi to South Beach), but it offers three infinity pools, 631 comfortable rooms, and a wonderful spa, making it an affordable, yet still high-quality alternative for the business set.
This luxurious Downtown hotel attracts business professionals who want to be removed from the South Beach scene (though all guests will likely appreciate the two 16th-floor pools, spa facilities, daily wine hour, and upscale dining options). The 411 guests rooms sport comfortable beds, spacious bathrooms, and balconies with excellent Biscayne Bay or city views, but furniture is showing some wear. For a similar stay, compare rates with the nearby Conrad Miami or Intercontinental.
The Grand Hyatt is essentially an airport hotel that caters to business travelers, but its lovely location on a 35-acre nature preserve makes it feel more like a resort. Highlights include 19 boardrooms, ballroom, and outdoor pavilion, plus two pools with bar service, three restaurants, two tennis courts, a 24-hour fitness center, and an artificial beach with ping-pong tables, lounge chairs, and a fire pit. About 10 percent of the hotel’s 442 guest rooms are private casitas, clustered in a mini-community that's accessible through a mangrove forest. Guests looking for a slightly cheaper alternative should try the nearby DoubleTree by Hilton, which has similar rooms and free Wi-Fi.
With 17 meetings spaces and a business center, this 323-room upscale business option in Tampa's Westshore business district is a destination for many conferences. Contemporary rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, minibars, and flat-screen TVs. A ninth-floor pool overlooks the city and a 24-hour gym is an added convenience (as is the free airport shuttle). Shula’s Steak House offers fine dining on-site, and there’s also a bar and cafe. Travelers looking for a high-end chain property with more personality (and gorgeous grounds) should consider the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.
Business travelers regularly flow through this 168-room beachfront hotel, largely due to its popularity as a conference destination. Highlights include an outdoor pool with bar service and live music, sports courts, a full-service spa, restaurant, and direct access to a private beach (which can nearly vanish during hurricane season and at high tide). Every room includes a balcony, fully stocked minibar, flat-screen TV, Keurig coffeemaker, and free Wi-Fi.
Palm Beach Airport is visible from this 192-room, three-and-a-half-pearl hotel, which is also less than a 10-minute drive to downtown West Palm Beach. Rooms are modern and spacious, and include mini-fridges, microwaves, and coffeemakers. The hotel has an outdoor pool plus tennis courts, and a peaceful open-atrium dining area along with a free evening cocktail reception. With lots of meeting and convention space, the hotel is geared to business travelers and those on layovers, but it would suit anyone wanting to be close to the airport and and downtown. Travelers might want to also consider the Holiday Inn down the street, which has lower rates.
The Omni Jacksonville Hotel is a convenient pick for anyone who needs to stay downtown. The 354 spacious rooms are typical for an upper mid-level chain, featuring comfortable bedding, large bathrooms, stocked minibars, great city views, and sophisticated if slightly generic decor. There is a bistro and bar on-site and 24-hour room service is available. Omni is located near many of Jacksonville's attractions, but there is a pesky daily fee for Wi-Fi.
The 137-room Epicurean Hotel, a culinary-themed luxury property, suits business travelers and often hosts conferences, meetings, and various events. Multiple fine wining and dining options include a restaurant, rooftop bar, patisserie, wine shop, and the Epicurean Theatre, a demo kitchen that hosts regular classes and tastings. The rooms are stylish and sophisticated, with a curated selection of wine bottles available for purchase and gourmet snacks, though some guests complain of thin walls and traffic noise. There are an outdoor pool and fitness center on-site, and Wi-Fi is free.