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.
This upscale boutique property exudes laid-back luxury.
The Betsy's intimate lobby -- outfitted in soft, neutral colors -- resembles an historic gentlemen's club, with awning-striped sofas and wingback chairs, and this sophisticated vibe continues throughout the hotel. A grand piano sits near a curved wooden bar area beside the lobby, and hotel guests, visitors, and locals enjoy the space during cocktail hour. Yet though the hotel has an upscale feel, it nonetheless embraces a laid-back, beach-y ambiance; framed black-and-white photos of iconic '60s British rock bands add a playful touch. The hotel also features a rotating exhibition of fine art and photography in its lobby and public spaces.
The Betsy sits on Ocean Drive between 14th and 15th Streets, in one of the few areas of South Beach that could be considered tranquil. Lummus Park beach is across the street, and the shops of Lincoln Road are less than a 15-minute walk away. It's an ideal location for those who don't want to be overwhelmed by the tourist hordes a few blocks to the south, yet still want easy access to bars and restaurants. The airport is about a 25-minute drive away.
Rooms are on the small side, but feature elegant, beach-y decor and high-tech amenities.
Rooms here are loaded with charm -- picture white-on-white walls, furniture, and fabrics offset by dark wooden floors -- but are a bit on the small side. Modern touches, such as large flat-screen TVs, blend seamlessly with 19th-century plantation-style shutters and four-poster beds -- which guests report are "blissfully comfortable." All rooms also include mini-fridges, laptop-sized safes, irons and ironing boards, iPod docks, and free Wi-Fi.
Bathrooms are narrow, but highlights include marble mosaic floors, glass enclosed showers, and mirrors that feature built-in TVs. Unfortunately, all this luxury is marred in some rooms by the views of (and noise from) an unattractive alley. Many guests report that rooms overlooking the pool are more peaceful.
Open-air beauty treatments and a small fitness center
The hotel offers a rooftop lounge area with sweeping views of the ocean. Also located on the roof is the Wellness Garden & Spa, where guests can enjoy a massage or beauty treatment in a private, open-air cabana. In addition to the lobby bar, there's an underground cocktail lounge as well as an outpost of BLT Steak, a popular, upscale steakhouse with locations all over the world.
A cramped, 24-hour fitness center features a few cardio machines, as well as free weights and other exercise equipment, and there is a small outdoor pool in the interior courtyard.
The Betsy is pet-friendly, though fees and weight restrictions apply, and the hotel also offers free Wi-Fi access throughout. Valet parking is available for an additional fee.
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