Delano South Beach Hotel 4.5

South Beach, Miami, Florida
The lobby is decorated with chairs and objects by the likes of Charles and Ray Eames and Salvador Dali.

Iconic Hotels in Miami(2 of 18)

 The lobby is decorated with chairs and objects by the likes of Charles and Ray Eames and Salvador Dali.
At the fantastical, Philippe Starck-styled Delano, the beautiful, billowing white curtains still feel as otherworldly as they did when famed hotelier Ian Schrager reopened this classic Art Deco hotel in 1995. And Lenny Kravitz's Florida Room is still one of the best lounges in South Beach. The lobby is decorated with chairs and objects by the likes of Charles and Ray Eames and Salvador Dali. But the Delano's real highlight is its huge infinity pool, dubbed a "water salon." Live DJs, tasty food and drink, posh cabanas, and bungalows create an environment that's sceney but still relaxing -- at least until the evening, when hordes of non-guests come to party. A 1954 mainstay, the 1,504-room Fontainebleau is a sprawling Art Deco complex built by legendary architect Morris Lapidus. It was the hangout of the Rat Pack in its heyday, and it's back in the headlines after a $1 billion face-lift in 2008. Sleek designers like Jeffrey Beers have punctuated the glossy white interior with bright pieces of art ranging from Yves Klein's Venus Bleue to Don Suggs' Black Cross. But it's the pools -- eight in all -- that make the Fontainebleau an icon. The lagoon-shaped pool, surrounded by smaller dipping pools and Jacuzzis, serves guests free fruit and carafes of water. Smaller dipping pools draw younger kids who happily splash in the shallow water or play on the giant swing. The dipping pool leads up to a large, round pool with an island cabana in the middle. For upwards of $1,000 a day, the VIP cabanas come with 32-inch flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi. Opened in 1926, the Biltmore is a registered historical landmark. The 150-acre property includes a 315-foot copy of the Giralda bell tower in Seville, Spain, and the largest swimming pool in the continental United States. Before the stock market crashed in 1929, guests included the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and several Vanderbilts, but by the 1940s the Biltmore had become an Air Force hospital. It continued to languish in formaldehyde and linoleum until the Westin spruced it up in 1992. The Biltmore's 18-hole par 71 championship golf course, 10 tennis courts, and breezy Mediterranean style make it popular among tourists and locals looking for a glimpse of bygone luxury. Of special note is the hotel's "Al Capone Suite," a reportedly haunted two-story suite with hand-painted frescoes and a baby grand piano. Having just completed a $40 million overhaul, the Betsy reopened in 2009 to much acclaim. Built in 1940 by acclaimed Art Deco architect L. Murray Dixon, the Betsy stands out on South Beach's Ocean Drive as the only example of Florida Georgian design. Like the Biltmore, it's also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Soon after opening -- it was then named the Betsy Ross, in honor of America's famous flagmaker -- the Besty hosted U.S. troops during World War II. And in 1972, Gloria Steinem chose the Betsy to be her National Women's Political Caucus headquarters during the Democratic convention. Built in 1938, the Clevelander has been a South Beach landmark for more than 70 years, known as much for its come-one-come-all parties as for its official duties as a hotel. Many consider a stay, or at least a stop at the patio bar, to be one of the quintessential SoBe experiences. With no dress code -- and often very little dress at all -- at the poolside bar, which is adjacent to the street, the Clevelander can look a bit like a frat party. But where else can you dance to classic-rock standards surrounded by so much history? Originally built in 1925 by William Vanderbilt II as a winter estate, Fisher Island is a private island residential community with a 45-room hotel. Peacocks freely roam the lush grounds, and the original Vanderbilt Mansion now houses two of the island's restaurants, where tuxedo-clad waiters see to guests' every wish. Fisher Island is only accessible by ferry, helicopter, seaplane, or -- for many residents -- yacht. Oprah Winfrey, Mel Brooks, and famous financier Martin Zweig have homes on the island, and the Clintons and Prince Andrew have been known to visit. Just opened in 2009, the Mondrian -- which has a renowned big brother in L.A. -- has quickly become a South Beach icon, thanks to the innovative styling of designer Marcel Wanders, who made the hotel to look like Sleeping Beauty's castle brought up from the sea by a team of superheroes. The Mondrian's shiny white interior features a twirling black staircase and crystal chandeliers hidden inside pendulous golden bells. But the Mondrian's most stunning feature -- a gorgeous bow-shaped pool -- comes with beautiful views over the Biscayne Bay and two flamboyant canopied living rooms that serve as quiet gathering spots throughout the day and night. Located on beautiful Brickell Key, this beachless island resort offers a mix of serenity and high design. Inside its soaring lobby are warm golden-brown floors, beautiful artwork, huge windows overlooking Biscayne Bay, and soft instrumental music. Rooms at the Mandarin are creatively designed with seductive, peekaboo screen doors in the bathrooms, colossal bookcases, and priceless views from up high. The Mandarin also sports a phenomenal spa, a first-rate gym, and excellent restaurants like Azul.