You’re halfway through planning a trip to Miami, and you already know that you’re one of those destination party animals that wants a memorable experience full of luxury and modern amenities…. and you’re willing to open up the purse strings to get that. So then, it behooves you and your vacation companions to mobilize early in order to lock down a good room rate at one of Miami’s top hotels. Take it from us experts: there are a handful of magnificent Miami resorts that are head and shoulders above the rest of crowded pack, ones that offer all the trappings you desire in the central location you want and are conveniently right smack dab in South Beach.
What are the best high-end / upscale luxury hotels in South Beach, Miami in 2020?
The Miami that most out-of-town visitors know is the South Beach one: steamy summer weather, sheer opulence, fast money, stylish excess, and glitzy sensory overload. Of course, the locals and insiders are happy to deliver upon those stereotypes, because that’s the version that tourists pay handsomely to witness and be a part of. So South Floridians play that fiddle in harmonious tune, because more SoBe tourists mean more revenues generated and jobs created for the city’s residents.
Here, in order of our highly experienced and well-traveled Discotech customer service staff’s preferences, is our Top 10 list of high-end hotels you will want to visit – and stay at, if you can – on your next trip to Miami Beach:
Since opening its doors in 1954, the legendary Fontainbleau has held its place atop many a “Best Hotels in Miami” list. Fontainbleau looms largest among its peers in physical size – 1,504 rooms, most in Miami – but perhaps more importantly in history, reputation, and panache. Early-era entertainment icons Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley registered regular stays there while in town; a who’s who of contemporary stars such as Sean “P-Diddy” Combs, Ariana Grande, Gwyneth Paltrow, and even Miami resident J-Lo have recently booked stay-cations there. With multiple pools, twelve on-site dining experiences, and an endless array of luxury diversion options for visitors, the most stress you’ll encounter is choosing your daily agenda. No worries though, they’ve got a cure for that too: clear your scheduled and spend an entire day at Lapis, Fontainebleau’s 40,000-square-foot spa.
- Room amenities: smartphone docks, marble showers, ocean-view balconies
- 11 pools, including a kids’ water area and private cabana rental
- On-premises nightclub (LIV)
- World-class spa with hydrotherapy circuit and boutique
- Three on-premises celebrity chef restaurants (Hakkasan, Scarpetta, StripSteak)
- Well-equipped, modern gym and free (limited) fitness classes
2) 1 Hotel South Beach
Formerly Perry South Beach and the Gansevoort Miami Beach, the 1 Hotel South Beach in was renovated and relaunched under its current moniker in March 2015. The 1 Hotel brand is extremely eco-conscious, and sustainability permeates every facet of this jumbo-sized oceanfront resort: salvaged wood, hemp mattresses, organic linens, living walls, and even take-home socks instead of disposable slippers. If you think you’ll be roughing it in the woods like a tree-hugger though, you’ll be sadly mistaken. Airy rooms average 700 square feet – some of the largest in Miami – and are outfitted with Carrara marble soaking tubs and rainfall showers. Make time to check out the 18th-floor pool, an adults-only enclave next to to the hotel’s rooftop bar, which spoils guests with panoramic views of downtown Miami due west, the Atlantic Ocean due east, and the urban sprawl of the South Florida coastline due north and south.
- Room amenities: Nespresso coffee machine, yoga mat, cotton robes, ocean-view balconies
- Direct access to Miami Beach with chairs and umbrellas available
- Four outdoor pools, including a large whirlpool
- Three bars and on-premises celebrity chef restaurant (Beachcraft)
- Full-service Bamford Spa
- Lobby farm stand selling fresh fruit & vegetables
- 14,000 square-foot Spartan Gym
- Conference rooms and business center
3) Dream Hotel South Beach
One block from the Miami’s famed beaches in the center of the Art Deco District sits the center of the party: Dream Hotel South Beach. An upscale hotel designed specifically for Miami’s well-heeled party circuit clientele, the Dream boasts 107 rooms plus a guesthouse that doubles as an event space. Room decor is chic and modern, with a focus on the two things that matter to party animals the most: comfortable beds and high-pressure rainfall showers. Families would do well to steer clear of this property, as everything in it caters to freewheeling and hard-charging adults. On-site perks include a Mexican restaurant with an impressively extensive tequila list, a standard spa with any services required for hangover recovery, and a rooftop infinity pool with a bar that stays open late. The Dream Hotel is a party lover’s dream – an upscale, stylish, Instagram-worthy backdrop that is an ideal home base for a wild weekend of adventure in Magic City.
- Room amenities: large flat-screen TVs, minibars, smartphone docks
- Guesthouse with covered rooftop terrace available for stays or events
- On-premise restaurant Naked Taco with cantina & advanced tequila tasting menu
- Spa with wide range of treatments plus a boutique
- Rooftop infinity pool with cabanas and pool bar
4) The Miami Beach EDITION
Ian Schrager’s buzzy Miami Beach EDITION opened in December 2014 with the goal of providing high-end yet hip accommodations to couples, families, and business professionals in search of South Florida sunshine. Along the way, the EDITION gained a reputation for attracting ultra-trendy travelers, including numerous A-list and B-list celebrities who have become fans of its 1950s retro glamor vibe. The 294 spacious rooms and bungalow-like suites are outfitted with an array of unique modern luxuries such as Beats Bluetooth speakers and copies of PAPER magazine; downstairs away from the rooms, the resort wows guests with delightful experiential treats: an on-site restaurant from Jean Georges Vongerichten; a tranquil full-service spa; two pools lined with lush tropical plantings and a hidden hammock garden called The Sandbox; and Basement, an underground nightclub complex that Drake once rented out entirely to skate laps with his celebrity crush Rihanna during Ultra / Miami Music Week. Oh, and did we mention EDITION has 70,000 square feet of pristine white sand and blue waves as its backyard?
- Room amenities: in-room speakers, flat-screen TVs, balconies with ocean views
- Beachfront with chairs and umbrellas
- Two swimming pools with poolside food and drink service
- On-premises celebrity chef restaurant (Matador)
- On-premises nightclub, bowling alley, and ice-skating rink (Basement Miami)
- Multiple bars indoors and outdoors
- Spa with treatment rooms, hammam, infrared sauna, and salon
- 24-hour fitness center with free weights and cardio machines
- Nightly turndown service with free bottled water
5) SLS Hotel South Beach
Another trendy and upscale hotel for the trendy and upscale partying crowd, SLS South Beach boasts 140 beachfront rooms designed by the famous Philippe Starck featuring white, black, and pink hues and mirrors above the beds. The well-known on-site restaurants give the hotel cachet among foodies, while a legendary party pool scene and two bars keep the party going from morning until… the next morning. At night though, Miami’s craziest party people staying here opt for wilder nightclub scenes around the city, and so the scene at SLS Hotel resembles more a cool, hip, chill, low-key European-style ultra-lounge. Between the luxurious retro-inspired indoor areas and the sprawling pool deck, the entire venue has more than 8,000 square feet for partygoers to get their party vibes on no matter the time of day or their mood.
- Room amenities: minibars, flat-screen TVs, oversized bathrooms with quality Ciel toiletries, couches, espresso machines
- Serviced beach area with free loungers
- Two pools, including a guest-only pool
- On-premises dayclub (Hyde Beach) and nightclub (Hyde Lounge)
- On-premises celebity chef restaurants (Katsuya, The Bazaar)
- Two bars with popular happy hours, and a poolside bar
- Full-service salon and poolside nail treatments
- Small gym with cardio machines and free weights
- Free drop-offs within a two-mile radius
6) The Setai
Erected on the property of the the circa 1937 Dempsey Vanderbilt Hotel, the Setai is a superlatively stylish Asian-themed beachfront resort with teak floors, lacquer furniture, and bronze and dark stone accents. While the property doesn’t appear to be much from the outside on the walk up, the hotel lobby is immaculate: jade, bronze, and stone architecture in alignment with Feng Sui practices, while each brick that lines the lobby floors was sourced from Shanghai and dates back to the Asian Art Deco period. All of the 135 rooms on property are suites, airy and roomy enough to accommodate larger groups (average room size is 600 square feet). Away from the rooms, the theme of “finding one’s zen” stays rigidly on-brand: an indulgent spa features therapeutic indulges from Paris-based Thémaé, and three infinity pools side-by-side offer guests their choice of soothing waters at a precise 75, 80, and 90 degrees.
- Room amenities: Duxiana beds, black granite baths, jacuzzi tubs, Acqua di Parma toiletries, flat-screen TV’s, minibars
- Multiple award-winning restaurants plus a world-class wine cellar
- Luxury spa
- State-of-the-art fitness center
- Free yoga classes on the beach
7) W South Beach
Like many of the W Hotel properties around the world, the 401-room W South Beach is a high-energy luxury hotel with a sophisticated look and relaxed atmosphere popular with young professional twenty-somethings and new-family thirty-somethings with toddlers. Its lobby boasts eclectically designed interiors with an enviable collection of high-end contemporary art from famous names like Andy Warhol, Julian Schnabel, and Kenny Scharf (as well as a giant Instagram-worthy Hello Kitty fountain greeting visitors at the entrance). The Miami Beach sand and surf is just a stone’s throw away from the property, which cordons off a private area for W South Beach guests. The pool scene is everything and anything one could want from South Beach: tight bodies, six packs, cabanas, and a gorgeous crowd sipping mojitos to DJ-spun tunes.
- Room amenities: kitchenettes, coffeemakers, minibars, outdoor spaces, hot tubs, balconies, Bliss toiletries
- Two pools, including a semi-private adult-only pool
- Two on-premises restaurants (Mr. Chow, RWSB)
- On-premises nightclub (Wall at the W)
- Bliss Spa with steam room, treatment rooms, and sauna
- 24-hour gym with free fitness classes
- Luxury car rental available
- Pet-friendly, plus dog kits available
8) Faena Hotel Miami Beach
An ambitious design collaboration between hotelier Alan Faena and power couple costume designer Catherine Martin and film director Baz Luhrmann, the eponymous 179-room Faena Hotel Miami Beach is a prime oceanfront luxury resort and cultural complex showcasing stylish extravagance. This resort opened to a well-heeled crowd during Art Basel 2016, and its opulent and chic interior decor – including a Damien Hirst sculpture in the lobby – is a lasting homage to its roots. Faena has retained a cadre of loyal high-end clients – including a few celebrities – with luxe, colorful, well-decorated rooms boasting furnished balconies and spectacular shoreline vistas. In addition to exquisite decor, guests are wowed by two five-star restaurants, four bars, and immaculately serviced pool and beach areas.
- Room amenities: minibars, flat-screen TVs, furnished sea-view balconies, large tubs, butler service (for suites)
- Free loungers and umbrellas on beachfront
- Outdoor pool with cabanas for rent
- Huge spa has hammam and treatments with a holistic and high-tech edge
- Four on-premises celebrity chef restaurants (Los Fuegos, Pao, Veranda, Gitano)
- Four bars with great cocktails and stunning interior decor
- Kids’ club with high-brow activities
9) Hotel Delano Miami Beach
The Delano South Beach has long been regarded as one of Miami’s top luxury hotels, its iconic white-on-white design making it a South Beach playground favored by glitterati since it was first designed and built by Philippe Starck in 1947. With one of the most envied locations within the South Beach entertainment hub, this beachfront boutique hotel paradise is just steps from some of South Beach’s most popular restaurants, shops, sites, and streets. A stay in one of its 195 all-white rooms doesn’t come cheap; for the price you pay though, Delano will live up to your expectations and its reputation of having an impeccable standard of luxury. The heated pool with its trendy bar/lounge scene is a household name among local and international upscale partiers.
- Room amenities: white marble bathrooms, wraparound windows, walk-in closet, sofa chair, desk, minibar
- Direct access to beach with comfy loungers
- Large high-energy infinity pool
- Two on-premises restaurants (Leymia, Umi)
- On-premises dayclub (Delano Beach Club) and evening lounge (Delano Beach At Night)
- Agua Spa with full-service therapeutic treatment menu
- Fitness center with weights and cardio
- Free bike rentals
10) Shelborne Wyndham Grand
Thank to a 2014 overhaul to combine its Art Deco roots with modern luxury, the Shelborne South Beach has risen to become a popular pick for those seeking a less opulent (and slightly less expensive) but still stylish, upscale experience right on Collins Avenue. Standard rooms are smaller than those of the other hotels on this list; however, amenities are top-notch and include all the most important staples including beach access and a heated pool. The two best amenities by far are location and value for dollar spent: no matter the time of the year, room rates at this property are always competitive for an upscale beachfront option in South Beach. Most of its neighbors, including the Hotel Delano right next door, are consistently two to three times pricier.
- Room amenities: flat-screen TV, smartphone dock, coffee maker, minibar, balconies
- Heated pool with cabanas available
- On-premises restaurant (The Sarsaparilla Club)
- Beach service includes chair and towel
- Business center and meeting spaces
OK, so you’ve just scrolled through and wrapped up all your research to maximize your high-end South Beach hotel accommodation experience! What’s the next step? Line up your day or night party plans for your Miami trip well in advance, and set aside the appropriate budgets using our Discotech app. Our app – available in both the App Store and Google Play and featured on BBC Travel and highly reviewed on Yelp! – will put you and your crew another huge step closer to your hassle-free Miami vacation!