Catching rays in our designer bikinis, sippin’ juicy umbrella drinks, and chillin’ by the pool. This is one case where the stereotype is true: Miami knows how to have fun in the sun.
A lot of it has to do with that whole carefree vibe you get from living in Miami, but the reason we’re always walking around half-naked and tan is because
of all the kick-ass pool parties we’re able to crash — especially in South Beach. Yes, it’s a bit of a tourist trap, but every Miamian has a soft spot for South Beach even if they won’t admit it.
So next time you feel like crossing the bridge and getting wet, keep in mind these ten best pool party spots on SoBe. Now go get your splash on.
1. The Standard Spa – 40 Island Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-1717
The beach is one of Miami’s greatest treasures, but every trip there ends with grains of sand stuck in places we didn’t even know existed. At the Standard’s pool, though, relaxing on one of the many lounge chairs or on the makeshift beach — sans sand, of course — is like spending a day on South Beach. That’s because the infinity pool, equipped with an underwater sound system, is so close to the water that if you stand at just the right angle, it seems to disappear into the bay. Being that the Standard is a spa within itself, you know there’s bound to be lots of pampering, like the Arctic Plunge, a 50-degree minipool that claims to “increase your heart rate and kickstart your circulation.” If sitting in an ice box for the recommended minute isn’t your thing, the Roman waterfall hot tub will warm your insides with eight feet of 103-degree water to “alleviate pain and detoxify” the body. With a waterfront wooden deck, the Standard also offers paddleboarding lessons. All of this fun comes with a pretty hefty price tag — $75 for a day pass Monday through Thursday and $150 Friday through Sunday and holidays or the equivalent in spa spending — but at least you won’t have sand glued to your body for days.
2. The Freehand Miami – 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach; 305-531-2727
The Freehand Miami gained popularity thanks to Gabriel Orta and the rest of the mixologists at the Broken Shaker, but Miami Beach’s first upscale hostel has also made a name for itself with its intimate pool parties. With a Ping-Pong table, colorful decor, tasty cocktails, and themed splash bashes that present some of the best underground DJs in the 305, the Freehand is a welcome escape from reality. The party continues ’round the clock at this millennial tourist hub, but the monthly Full Moon Night Swims are particularly special and provide a rare opportunity for visitors to mix with the locals. During the monthly events, Miami-based artisans showcase their creations beneath the glow of lanterns and a breathtaking full moon.
3. 1 Hotel South Beach Rooftop – 2341 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-604-1000
There’s no more beautiful view than a Miami sunset, and a rooftop view is even better. The 1 Hotel South Beach Rooftop pool makes it easy to take in the orange, lilac, and pink afterglow of a hot Miami day. Take a dip at dusk for a refreshing respite from the humidity and stress of rush-hour traffic. The rooftop pool is open to nonguests after 6 p.m., DJs begin spinning as early as 3 p.m. Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. After a long day at work and a stressful commute, you’ll fall in love with the city you call home when you view it from poolside heaven.
4. Hyde Beach at the SLS Hotel – 1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-674-1701
A ten-foot, 700-pound rubber ducky is not something you would expect to find at a swanky boutique hotel. At Hyde Beach at the SLS Hotel, however, a giant silver statue of a rubber ducky sits on the east end of the hotel guest pool, right before the garden and beach pool. Designer Philippe Stark imagined both swimming pools to resemble a bath tub, hence the ducky. In other words, he wanted to make all of your childhood fantasies come true. Pool access for nonguests depends upon availability Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the entrance fee is at the doorman’s discretion.
5. Raleigh Hotel – 1775 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-534-6300
The wow factor at the Raleigh is its 1940s-era crest-shaped swimming pool. Named one of 12 over-the-top Pools by Forbes, the two-tiered pool with a vintage diving board has made the Raleigh the highlight of Chanel fashion shows, the cover of magazine spreads, and the talk of some of the hottest pool parties around town. Lined with lounge chairs, curtain-covered canopies, and striped umbrellas, the pool prioritizes hotel guests, but passes are available for nonguests while space allows. Passes cost $30 Monday through Thursday and $60 Friday through Sunday. A poolside chair, towels, and Wi-Fi access are included, along with DJs playing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
6. Clevelander South Beach Hotel & Bar – 1020 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 305-532-4006
You’ve driven by the Clevelander when showing visitors around town, but maybe you thought you were too cool to hit up a South Beach tourist staple. Admit it: Bouncing beach balls in the pool and playing tourist for the day looks pretty fun. The folks at the Clevelander want you to play with the out-of-towners; their pool is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m. Memorial Day crowds were heavy, but try this spot on an off-weekend for drinks with new friends you’ll never see again.
7. Delano Hotel, 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-672-2000
Surrounded by chaise longues, freestanding linen umbrellas, and canopied daybeds, the pool at the iconic Delano is as posh as the decor. Take a stroll through the Alice in Wonderland-themed garden path to behold its 7,000 square feet of refreshing, clear cure for the summertime blues. Access to the pool is available with a cabana rental, but non-guests are better off attending Delano Beach Club after 7 p.m., when live entertainment heats up as the night cools down. And when hunger strikes, you can always grab a tasty bite at Bianca, the Delano’s indoor/outdoor restaurant which happens to be steps away from the pool.
8. Mondrian South Beach – 1100 West Ave., Miami Beach; 305-514-1500
The Mondrian does things differently, even when it comes to its pool. Named Miami’s best hotel by New Times, the modern yet whimsical hotel extends its eclectic and detail-oriented style outside to its pool area. It’s open to anyone on a first-come, first-served basis, but hotel guests get priority, and nonguests must spend at least $50 on food and drinks. For $500, you can get a day bed for up to six people, or fork over $800 for a cabana to accommodate more guests. DJs spin tunes poolside every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 8 p.m., so choose a special occasion, split the cost among friends, and take a daycation.
9. Shore Club Hotel – 1901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-695-3100
One of the biggest dilemmas you’ll encounter at the Shore Club is deciding which of the two elevated-edge infinity pools to dive into first. Well, the answer is based on the type of person you are. If you’re more of a laid-back lounger, you’ll likely pick the pool that’s closest to the hotel. With lounge chairs and colorful, Moroccan-inspired beds, the vibe whispers relaxation. If you’re more adventuresome, chances are you’ll dip your toes into the pool that overlooks the beach. Feet away from the shore, you’ll spot banana boats and Jet Skis zooming across the horizon. Located between the pools and draped with sheer curtains is Rumbar, where you’ll get the best of both worlds. The pool is strictly for hotel guests only, so you’ll have to book a room (or get sneaky).
10. Highbar at Dream Hotel South Beach – 1111 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-4747
South Beach’s luxurious pools can seem out of reach for the average partygoer in Miami, but Highbar at Dream Hotel in South Beach offers the perfect staycation option for those who are “broke with expensive taste.” The infinity pool area, adorned in white retro decor with golden accents, stands 70 feet above the ocean, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the Atlantic. Highbar’s Naked Taco offers topnotch Mexican cuisine, and unlike most SoBe hotel pools, Highbar is open to the public and there’s no cover. It’s like getting the Cancun experience without having to pay for the getaway.