What do we think of when we think of the best hotels in Miami? Pool parties, beautiful people in bathing suits, bottles of champagne, beach parties, Spring Break, DJ sets – yes, it’s all of the above, and fabulously so.
But it’s more than that too. A slew of new and renovated boutique hotels showcase the best of Miami culture. It will also be glamorous and over the top, but increasingly hospitality venues also reflect the city’s rich Cuban heritage, as well as influences from other Latin American immigrant communities.
Plus, Art Basel Miami is bigger business than ever, drawing thousands of artists, dealers and buyers to sunny Florida shores each December.
There is a strong emphasis on art in many of these hotels; the Faena has a giant sculpture by Damien Hirst by the pool and The Betsy even hosts literary salons. And then there’s The Goodtime Hotel, the creation of David Grutman of Groot Hospitality and Pharrell Williams which attracts many creative people with its fantastic decor.
1. Life House, Little Havana
The Life House, Little Havana building is a historic icon of the 1920s that incorporates elements of Mission Revival style architecture. It reopened after a full renovation in late 2021, and it somehow manages to look all-retro and all-contemporary.
The hotel aims to be representative of the “diverse plurality of cultures” of the Little Havana district, with nods to Cuban culture but also to local Ecuadorian, Colombian and Venezuelan communities.
Inside, you’ll find an explosion of patterns and colors, including House of Hackney wallpapers and details that pay homage to the region’s heritage, like photography by a local Cuban photographer and Afro-Cuban ceramics. The food options offer an “elevated” take on Latin American street food.
Book a stay at Life House, Little Havana (opens in a new tab). Rooms from $189.
2. Faena, Miami Beach
If you were asked to close your eyes and imagine a luxury design hotel in Miami, we’d bet Faena is what you would see.
Art deco meets contemporary at this super glam, art-focused address, which even houses a Damien Hirst golden mammoth by the pool.
There’s a private beach club, of course, and a spa — but also an all-pink “Project Room” where artist lounges are held.
Book a stay at Faena, Miami beach (opens in a new tab). Rooms from $600.
3. SLS Brickell
This is the SLS Hotel Group’s second opening in Miami, this time in the increasingly bustling Financial District.
While the tall tower that houses the hotel is classic Miami, there’s a distinct Parisian flavor inside thanks to Phillippe Starck’s design. The rooms display its typical flamboyant but elegant style with high-quality fabrics and thoughtful details, like patterned carpets and statement furniture and even mirrors on the ceilings in some rooms.
There is a striking art collection scattered throughout the hotel and a “friend of altitude” on the roof.
Book a stay at SLS Brickell (opens in a new tab). Rooms from $390.
4. Soho Beach House Miami
The unstoppable group Soho House does it again.
What was once the Art Deco Sovereign Hotel has been expanded and transformed into a designer destination hotel for members and friends of Soho House only.
Inside this tower you’ll find quirky retro interiors typical of the group, with a Cuban twist.
Dining options abound: South American cocktails, Italian fare, and even a poolside tiki bar.
The 49 rooms range in size from dinky to suite, with cheerful and vintage styles in each room category.
Book a stay at Soho BeachHouse Miami (opens in a new tab) (Members and friends only). Rooms from $450.
5. Betsy’s South Beach
The Betsy offers a refined, adult choice amid the effervescent party scene of Ocean Drive and South Beach.
There is a strong emphasis on culture: the hotel hosts jazz evenings and has a writers’ room, where literary events take place, and a library. Hyam Plutzik, father of The Betsy owner Jonathan, was a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist for poetry.
Decor-wise, you’ll notice the nautical vibe: think lots of white wood and blue accents and a feel of 20th-century sophistication, with mid-century and Art Deco elements.
Book a stay at the Betsy (opens in a new tab). Rooms from $300.
6. Greystone Hotel
Gray by name, but not my nature.
This gorgeous South Beach hotel is done in warm tones and splashes of pastel colors, courtesy of Texas-based interior design firm Bowen Holly.
The outer shell is a swoon-worthy curved Art Deco building, designed by Henry Hohauser in the late thirties. Inside, you’ll find minimalist rooms — think lots of cream and white and natural fabrics. Flower pots are used to stunning effect, cheerfully dotting common areas and filling them with greenery.
The on-site jazz bar nods to the venue’s history, while Japanese and French fusion cuisine updates the food and drink offerings.
Book a stay at the Greystone Hotel (opens in a new tab). Rooms from $220.
7. Esme, Miami Beach
This home was originally built as an artists colony and the creative feel is most definitely in evidence.
There’s a Spanish or Mediterranean vibe to the interiors, with lots of rich colors, beautiful tiles, and patterned fabrics by New York-based designer Jessica Schuster.
Right in the heart of the part of South Beach made famous by Miami Vice, this refreshing boutique address is spread over eight different buildings and a stretch of beach, a five-minute walk from the main site.
Book a stay at Hotel Esme (opens in a new tab). Rooms from $280.
8. The Goodtime Hotel
Sweet and ultra-cool, this fantastic bubblegum hotel is like an ice-cold cocktail on a sweltering day. Perhaps its coolness isn’t surprising considering it’s the brainchild of Miami hotel impresario David Grutman of Groot Hospitality. and musical and cultural icon Pharrell Williams.
The sprawling 266-room resort, which takes up an entire city block on Washington Avenue, opened in 2021 and has already made a name for itself with its cheerful and whimsical aesthetic.
The distinctive look is the brainchild of a formidable design trio: architect Morris Adjmi, superstar designer Ken Fulk and landscape architect Raymond Jungles. Fantasy meets functionality and there is a distinct digital nomad feel to the communal ‘library’ and cafe space. Meanwhile, at the sprawling pool club, the focus is on relaxation and socializing, preferably styled elegantly.
It’s over the top, kitsch chic and cool all at once, with a Wes Anderson energy and just a touch of Barbiecore.
Book a stay at the Goodtime Hotel (opens in a new tab). Rooms from $200.