Is it any wonder travelers head to Florida for a beach getaway? The waters are gorgeous, the sun is almost always shining, and the cities range from party-filled Miami to the calmer Jacksonville Beach. With so many options, picking a hotel for your vacation can be a little intimidating. We decided to make it easier on you and visit hundreds of hotels across the Sunshine State to see which are the best of the best. Check out our picks for best oceanfront hotels in Florida, where you’re sure to find beautiful beaches, gorgeous pools, and comfortable beds, among other amenities.
This sprawling 140-acre resort feels more like a Renaissance palace than a hotel. The oceanfront grounds are defined by historic architecture and elegant landscaping, and the extensive features include five swimming pools, two 18-hole golf courses, 10 tennis courts, 9 restaurants, and 10 boutique shops. The Breakers’ 540 rooms include all of the modern amenities -- minibars, flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and iPod stereos -- but most feel a bit cramped for the price. The only major downside of The Breakers is its expensive, albeit delicious, on-site dining: A family of four could easily spend $350 a day on food, without ordering anything special. As far as competing hotels in Palm Beach go, nothing compares to the luxury found at this iconic property.
The stunning 312-room W South Beach -- located on the beach, on the northern outskirts of South Beach -- blends cute comforts, intricate design (that spares no expense), and flawless service. Large, modern rooms; terraces angled to overlook the ocean; elegant landscaping around the pool; a lush Bliss spa -- the W tops the Miami greats.
This 40-room resort caters to the upscale traveler with luxurious, beach-chic cottages and high-end amenities. It is located on Sunset Key, a residential island off Key West, and is affiliated to the Westin Key West, with which it shares some features, such as the fitness center and the restaurants (though only guests of Sunset Key can use the on-site amenities; Westin guests do not have access to them). The hotel itself has wonderful amenities, including a lovely pool, a gorgeous beach with palm trees and clear waters, and a pleasant spa. Its location, though idyllic and exclusive, might be somewhat inconvenient for travelers who want to be close to shops and restaurants (the hotel only has one eatery on-site).
The 243-room St. Regis Bal Harbour is one of the most luxurious beachfront hotels in Miami. Highlights include lavish decor, spacious guestrooms with oceanfront balconies, two infinity pools, three on-site dining options, and a prime location across from Bal Harbour Shops. The hotel is an excellent choice for visitors who are indifferent to the South Beach party scene.
The Four Seasons Resort is located on a relatively quiet stretch of sand about a 10-minute drive south of the area's main attractions. The 210 rooms are decorated in sophisticated beach style, with a blue, white and cream color scheme, and have private balconies. There are thoughtful amenities for families; the chic spa is a high point; and guests can expect extra touches like water spritzes and sunscreen at the (smallish) ocean-view pool. But some may feel the property isn't quite up to the usual Four Seasons standard:
Opened in 1928, the Ponte Vedra resort has a storied, southern aristocratic reputation. Rooms look and feel upscale (despite some overuse of tacky floral prints and occasionally dinged furniture), and offer fantastic views. But what makes the resort truly stand out are its ample amenities: 15 tennis courts, 36 holes of golf, a luxurious spa, and fourswimming pools catering to both couples and families. The sheer size doesn't detract from the quality of the maintenance on the property; if anything, it's standing proof that they just don't make beach resorts like they used to.
With some of the most beautifully decorated large rooms in Miami, a beachfront location, a great spa, and a hugefitness center with a rock-climbing wall and dozens of daily classes, Carillon Hotel & Spa is a great choice for a healthy vacation -- provided you're not also looking for nightlife or a happening pool scene.
Four pools, great Italian cuisine, a luxurious spa, 98 huge, modern rooms, and some of Miami's most attentive service -- this is family-oriented Sunny Isles' best hotel. The rooms don't quite match Regent Bal Harbour's, but the Acqualina's beach is far better. For families especially, this a superb luxury pick.
The Boca Beach Club is located on a half-mile stretch of private beach on southern Florida’s Gold Coast. With three pools on-site, there are plenty of places to relax in the sun or take a dip. There’s also a shuttle boat that ferries guests between the Boca Beach Club and its sister hotel, the Boca Raton Resort, which offers more restaurant options, a spa, and a number of activities. Rooms are spacious and bright, with flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and Wi-Fi. The Boca Beach Club tacks on a nightly resort fee for Internet, fitness center access, and other guest services, but there are a variety of inviting restaurants and bars with ocean views on-site.
Sandpearl Resort is a 253-room luxury hotel located directly on the white sands of Clearwater Beach, and is popular with families, couples, and corporate meeting groups. The waterfront restaurant, Carretta on the Gulf, is the area's only four-diamond restaurant, and guests rave about the food. The best rooms overlook panoramic vistas of the Gulf of Mexico with spectacular nightly sunsets.
Spread across 12 waterfront acres in the Florida Keys, Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort is a collection of upscale tropical Victorian-style homes divided into multi-story two- and three-bedroom suites with full kitchens and water views. There are also a handful of guestrooms without ocean views. With a private beach, three pools (including one adults-only), and an array of on-site water sport activities available, the property is a great fit for vacationing families. A waterfront tiki bar is a scenic spot to sip cocktails, but a car is needed to explore outside of the resort.
The 94-room upscale Costa d'Este Beach Resort is a breezy, modern hotel with a truly indulgent feel, owned by singer Gloria Estefan and her husband. The resort consists of two five-story towers, and many of the rooms have gorgeous Atlantic Ocean views. The property offers access to a beautiful beach, as well as a full-service spa, small but attractive outdoor pool, and stylish restaurant serving locally sourced cuisine -- but expect to pay a resort fee and extra for breakfast. The guest rooms are spotless and high-end, with expensive looking marble bathrooms and custom teak furnishings; the sumptuous suites have soaking tubs