Oyster reporters have explored hundreds of hotels in Miami. We’ve dipped in the pools, tried the restaurants, saddled up to the bars, and then — yes — crashed in the beds, all in the name of finding the best places for a party-hearty spring break. Here are our favorite hotels near the beach and South Beach bars and clubs.
Located right on the beach, the Townhouse offers bright, stylish rooms, but little else. Still, it's a great, comparatively clean alternative to the sketchy, similarly priced hotels throughout South Beach. Spring breakers will appreciate the Townhouse's proximity to clubs, weekend partes on its rooftp lounge, the mix of good-looking Europeans spending the night. The hotel allows three adults per room, but be warned -- the third guest will be sleeping on a tiny, tiny couch in the corner that can't conceivably accommodate a grown person. The nightly rate is around $232 in March, so two people sharing can pay $116 each -- or three people can pay a low $66 each, depending on the level of sleeping comfort you're willing to sacrifice.
Designed for randy 20-somethings who can rage until 4 a.m., the Catalina can be a godsend. It's moderately priced, across from the beach, and in the heart of the fashionista bar scene. Although there are nice touches like Tempur-Pedic beds and a hip rooftop pool, it's a party hotel at heart, with small rooms and an indifferent staff. Although the nightly room rate in March is a little over $300, the hotel generously allows four adults to share a room (which isn't as common in South Beach as you'd expect), bringing the cost down to around $76 per person.
An Art Deco landmark located two blocks from the beach and steps from the upscale Lincoln Road Mall, the 100-room Albion is one of South Beach's best bargains. Base-level rooms and bathrooms are small and a bit worn, but features are great: a clean pool, free Wi-Fi, room service, and comfortable beds. It's a little mellower than some of the other spring break options in South Beach -- an atmosphere they help maintain by not allowing more than two adults to a room -- but the bars on Lincoln Road Mall are steps away.
After a multimillion-dollar renovation, the Clevelander is once again open for business -- "business" in this case being a nonstop party at the property's three bars and two rooftop terraces. If you're going to go, go now: With all those spilled margaritas, it won't look new for long.
The Strand is smack in the middle of bumping Ocean Drive, with fun clubs at its doorstep, but its modern, massive kitchenette-equipped suites are a sedate refuge from the area's scene-heavy haunts. It's a good pick for spring breakers who want to return to a more low-key environment after a night of crazy partying. The heated rooftop pool with beautiful panoramic views of the city, beach, and Ocean Drive is a great spot to relax. Although the nightly rate in March is the priciest on this list -- around $345 a night -- the hotel compensates by allowing four adults to share a room, bringing the price down to $86.25 a person.
A clean, comfortable, laid-back alternative to the dilapidated Deco price gougers on Ocean Drive, the Essex is an easy walk to museums, shopping, restaurants and all-night brouhaha. A discount price tag (we're talking around $80 a night per person in March if you're sleeping the maxiumum of three adults to a room), great noise insulation and personable service more than make up for the 400-foot walk to the beach.
For spring breakers who want lots of room to spread out -- and might want to invite friends for late-night hangout sessions -- these enormous suites, complete with kitchen areas, fit the bill. The beach, and the swanky part of Collins Avenue near the Delano -- are only three blocks away, and at around $70 a person per night in March, if you're booking the maximum of three people to a room, the price is right.
A hookah bar, a nightly happy hour with free (if watered-down) drinks, clean, modern rooms with hip design touches, and a location right in the heart of SoBe action — two blocks away from Ocean Drive and the beach — make the Chelsea a great spring break pick. With prices for this March currently around $229 a night ($57.25 each if you're sleeping four to a room), it’s a deal.
Diesel jeans joined the hotel game with the Pelican boutique. The 32 unique rooms -- like the stripey Executive Zebra or the trippy Psychedelic(ate) Girl -- are fun, but very worn. There's no pool, no on-site gym, nor is there even much of a lobby. But the hotel is in party central, right across from the beach. Only two guests are allowed in the base-level rooms, though, which makes this the priciest option on the list -- around $123 a person in March.
The Whitelaw Hotel & Lounge is a mid-range hotel 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. Guest rooms are flamboyantly decorated and have minibars and marble bathrooms. The hotel is located in the heart of the Ocean Drive bar scene, so noise is hard to avoid. Families or couples looking for a relaxing holiday should definitely stay elsewhere. 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.
Across from the beach, in the middle of the all-night Ocean Drive chaos, this cheap party pad offers 50 clean, modern rooms, free Wi-Fi, and a bar that serves fishbowl-size mojitos. For spring breakers who can look past unsettling hallways and small bathrooms, the Colony is an inexpensive stay.