John O'Ceallaigh, The Daily Telegraph, December 17, 2013
St Regis Bal Harbour hotel
Bal Harbour is the most affluent enclave in Florida so this hotel is used to serving the needs of distinguished travellers. A multitude of designer boutiques, from Marc Jacobs to Oscar de la Renta, surround the property and guests are by one of Miami’s prettiest beaches – but the parties and buzz of South Beach are a 15-minute drive away. Rooms at the hotel all have ocean views, generous terraces and ample internal space; service is polished and capable; dining options, which include Jean Georges Vongerichten’s J+G Grill, are excellent.
Read Lucie Young’s full review of St Regis Bal Harbour hotel
Canyon Ranch Miami Beach hotel
Canyon Ranch Miami Beach may seem isolated – it is halfway between Bal Harbor and South Beach – but the resultant peace and quiet is something guests here appreciate. The property houses one of America’s best spas and offers up to 40 complimentary exercise classes a day. A vast fitness centre and eco-friendly hair salon are also on hand, and various health experts are available for consultations and treatments. Rooms, meanwhile, are plush, cooking clean and tasty, and service is solid.
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James Royal Palm hotel
With an unbeatable location on the most coveted stretch of Collins Avenue in South Beach, the James Royal Palm hotel is a popular spot with creatives, couples and business people searching for something a bit different. The interiors are by Lauren Rottet and arty rooms feature tropical fabrics and various quirky touches; many have balconies and sea views. In addition to two pools and a plunge pool, spa, gym and lounge, the hotel has two restaurants – Florida Cookery and seafood-serving Catch – and two bars.
Read Lucie Young’s full review of James Royal Palm hotel, Miami
Viceroy Hotel, Miami
Youthful and fashionable, Miami’s Viceroy hotel has interiors by Kelly Wearstler, lauded 15th-floor Mediterranean restaurant Eos and a popular nightclub. The hotel’s exterior is less impressive, however – by Arquitectonica architects, the 50-storey building resembles an office block – and the location won’t be to everyone’s taste – it is found in The Brickell District, Miami’s financial quarter.
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Hotel Beaux Arts, Miami
In the downtown area of Miami, about a 15-minute drive from South Beach, Hotel Beaux Arts is a more intimate property with just 44 rooms. It is perched on the 38th-40th floors of a building that also contains the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel and shares some facilities, such as an Enliven spa, gym and 19 floor pool, with the larger hotel. Service is satisfactory, the rooms sizeable and well-equipped.
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The Betsy hotel, Miami
Built in 1942 and completely renovated in 2009, The Betsy is a traditionally minded hotel with polite, efficient staff and a homely, intimate feel. Located on Ocean Drive in the Art Deco district, the property’s 62 rooms – generally small but well-equipped – are beautifully designed by former Ralph Lauren interior designer Diamante Pedersoli and Carmelina Santoro.
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Soho Beach House hotel, Miami
Another of Soho House’s growing collection of hotels, Soho Beach House is a popular choice among the European beach set alongside media types from New York and London. Visitors from the latter city may already be familiar with the hotel restaurant – Cecconi’s here is an outpost of the original Mayfair restaurant – and the Cowshed spa uses the same products and provides similar treatments to those found in other Soho House venues.
Read Lucie Young’s full review of Soho Beach House, Miami
For more on the best of Miami, see Lucie Young's complete Miami city break guide