Florida Escape: Hot Hotels to Check Out This Winter

Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach has 290 suites overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterways.

If you need to escape the cold, look no further than Florida. While some areas were battered earlier this year by Hurricane Irma, the region is largely back on its feet and ready to accept visitors.

The all-suite Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach has just opened in the exclusive North Beach neighborhood. Gourmands will enjoy one of the hotel’s top culinary experiences: Executive Chef Jorge Ramos can perform in-suite cooking demonstrations with wine pairings for guests. And for those who prefer to prepare their own meals, the culinary team can create step-by-step guides for guests to follow. Just give concierge Ellen Butler ([email protected]) 24 hours and she can create any gourmet experience for guests. All suites include either a full kitchen or a galley kitchen.

For off-property day trips, the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach created its “1 / 3 / 5” recommendations (numbers correlate how many hours each activity will take). These are intended to immerse guests in the city’s culture; options include listening to local musicians while enjoying craft beer and cocktails served from an Airstream RV, treks to the area’s only turtle hatchling rescue, paddleboard tours, trips to Las Olas Boulevard to check out the fashion scene and flower shops, art gallery tours, excursions to check out 16 existing shipwrecks and more.

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Back at the hotel, the top suite is the Waterfront 3 Bedroom Terrace Suite, which totals 1,700 square feet. The room includes three king beds, four 50-inch HDTVs, Italian marble en-suite bathrooms and a furnished terrace. The Master Bedroom has a dual sink vanity, soaking tub and separate shower. For couples, we recommend either the Oceanfront Terrace Suite with King Bed or the Park and Water View Suite with King Bed. The former is larger with a furnished terrace, but it should be noted the latter has its own step-out balcony.

Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach has a 20-room spa. We love the HydraFacial, a patented technology that deeply cleanses, exfoliates, extracts and hydrates the skin using “super serums” filled with antioxidants, peptides and hyaluronic acid. It’s the only hotel in Fort Lauderdale offering the treatment. Book at least 48 hours in advance with Spa Director Allie Arguelles ([email protected]).

Note: The hotel reports no damage from the hurricanes this season.

The Betsy South Beach SkylinePenthouseTerraceSuite

The Betsy South Beach’s Skyline Penthouse Terrace Suite is located in the Art Deco Wing and has 905 square feet of living space.

In South Beach, The Betsy, a member of Small Luxury Hotels, is an excellent choice for two types of travelers: couples (the hotel was named USA Today’s Most Romantic Hotel in Miami last year) and literary fans (it has a writing studio and many of the hotel’s amenities, including cocktails and spa treatments, have ties to classics).

The original 61-key, owner-run hotel — formerly the historic Betsy Ross Hotel — merged last December with the Carlton Hotel, which expanded its inventory to 132 guestrooms split between Colonial and Art Deco wings. New amenities at The Betsy include Ocean Decks with views of Miami and the Atlantic, a new rooftop pool, wellness garden with a full range of spa treatments, and Skyline Penthouse with Terrace. Located in the Art Deco wing, the Skyline Penthouse has 905 square feet of indoor space and over 1,000 square feet of outdoor area. The suite has its own grand piano, private library (of course), kitchenette and private elevator that connects the room to the Atrium Double Balcony Suite directly below. For even larger parties, an additional seven rooms on the Skyline walkway can be booked with the Penthouse.

Private butler service can be arranged with the concierge team. Reach out to Saul Sarimento ([email protected]), director of room sales and revenue management, to arrange room blocks. We suggest couples arrange a meal on the terrace. Menus can be planned ahead with the concierge team.

The Betsy is located at the northern end of the historic Ocean Drive, the center of Miami’s Art Deco District and home to roughly 900 preserved buildings. Guests looking to spend a night in the town should book through the hotel’s concierge team, who can find preferred (and even last-minute) seating at the most sought-after restaurants as well as tickets to concerts and sporting events. Ed Ponder ([email protected]), director of guest services, can help book private yacht journeys, ocean fishing, personal shoppers or anything else you may need. 

The Betsy South Beach Magic Hour Pool

The Betsy South Beach has a new rooftop swimming pool.

Fun Fact: The Betsy has Miami’s only fully outdoor spa, offering unobstructed views of the ocean from above the palm trees. It’s only fitting to opt for The Hemingway, which includes a deep-tissue massage and hot towel facial. Good to know: All spa products are paraben-free. 

If you’re staying at the hotel for dinner, make sure to ask for popovers, which are served “piping hot” and best enjoyed with fresh butter. We’re told the sushi at LT Steak and Seafood is always a good choice. Make sure to book in advance, especially during the holidays and weekends. After dinner, head to the Lobby Bar for a literary-themed drink and live jazz music, which is available five nights a week.

If you’re feeling inspired after a couple of drinks, head to the Writer’s Room, acclaimed as the only working studio space for writers in Miami. To help stimulate your creativity, the room has an Ocean Drive-facing window, writing desk, couch, flat-screen TV and shelves of books, naturally.

The Betsy tells us they suffered no damage from the hurricanes, and that it remained open and fully operational throughout the season.

Guests can arrive in style to The Miami Beach Edition in a Maybach self-driving car. Once they are checked in, there are two places they should head to — the Basement Night Club and the beach. The Basement Miami is the heartbeat of the hotel, with weekly parties, a bowling alley and ice skating rink. The skating rink is available from 5 p.m. to midnight daily; bowling is open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily; the Basement Night Club is open from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. select Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Fun Fact: The lighting was created by Patrick Woodroffe, a concert specialist who has worked with Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé

Miami Beach Edition Penthouse

Shown here is The Miami Beach Edition’s 2,284-square-foot Penthouse, which comes with five ocean-view balconies.

Note: Only the Basement and the landscaping were affected by Hurricane Irma, causing the club to temporarily close. However, the Basement is currently open.

If you’re traveling to Florida, you obviously want to spend some time on the beach. Before you go, join the Miami Beach Edition’s Beach Club. Members receive access to VIP events, as well as guaranteed beach chairs, towels and umbrellas, as well as use of the hotel facilities. VIPs also receive a personal host; exclusive events that they have access to include various clubs, restaurants and private tours via exotic cars, yachts, helicopters and the like.

The top accommodation is the bi-level, 2,300-square-foot Bungalow Penthouse, which includes five ocean-view balconies and a private rooftop plunge pool. The starting rate for this room is $10,000 per night. All suites, the main tower Penthouse and all Bungalow rooms offer private butler service. Note: A limited number of rooms have bath tubs or double sinks. Couples should request an Oceanfront or Bungalow Suite. Travel industry Sales Manager Anibal Ortiz ([email protected]) is available to help book the best room for you. 

Miami Beach Edition Exterior

The Miami Beach Edition comprises 294 individually designed guestrooms and suites, including 28 private bungalows.

There are nine treatment rooms at the hotel, including one couples room. Luxury Travel Advisor loved the Power Nap treatment. The Miami Beach Edition uses biotic wave technology to lull you into deep relaxation. The 30-minute rest gives you the feeling of a full night’s rest (perfect after a night at the Basement). Book one to two weeks in advance (especially if booking for multiple guests or treatments) with Spa Manager Vince Smit ([email protected]).

Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is the mastermind behind the Market at Edition, a food hall-inspired dining destination. Other dining venues include the Matador Room, Matador Bar and the poolside bar and restaurant, Tropicale, which is available only to hotel guests. Make sure to stop by the Market for its daily happy hour featuring Whispering Angel rosé and premium oysters. 

Good to know: Florida is famous for its stone crabs; the season lasts from October 15 through May 15. 

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