South Beach, also known as SoBe, is the snazziest bit of Miami, Florida. This visibly vibrant slice of chic coastal region with its restaurants, which people go to be-seen-and-see, its ultra with-it shops, hip-and-happening nightclubs, and pastel-shaded buildings, has been drawing pleasure seekers for years. South Beach is about beautiful people, about celeb sightings, movie, TV, and fashion shoots, about the forever-youthful rollerblading in skimpy clothing and a general ambiance of fun and frolic.
So, pack your trendiest outfits and don your most frivolous attitude, and plan on lounging on beaches full of sun-worshipers taking in the sand and the surf. And after having your fill of the sunning and swimming, you could pander to your creative side by taking a tour along the Art Deco District. But, most of all, plan on spending your evenings at SoBe's happening bars, because it's when the sun goes down that things begin to heat up here.
And if you want to know about the South Beach hotels, here are a few that are as quirky and filled with attitude as South Beach itself.
This outstanding Art Deco building, containing 12 stories, is evocative of a polished and glossy ocean liner, with plenty of frosted glass and stainless steel, and porthole windows. The rooms are strikingly white with lots of comfort and luxury thrown in. Plus, all the rooms have a panoramic and breathtaking view of the ocean and are about twice as large as the usual hotel rooms in South Beach. They come with large bathrooms, roomy closets, king size beds, along with a telescope to take in the views of the ocean. Do check out the Goldeneye Suite, the highlight of the hotel, with its ambiance of James Bond and the Bond girls, with high-tech toys, a private deck, and a hot tub right in the middle of the room. Located at 1220 Ocean Drive, in-room amenities include a mini-bar, safe, video rentals, stereo with a CD player along with a selection of music, dataport, TV and VCR, and A/C. Some of the other facilities of the hotel are an outdoor heated pool, lounge, restaurant, bar, beach lounge service, dry cleaning service, laundry service, in-room massage, 24-hour room service, concierge, and fitness room.
The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach
Having restored the DiLido Hotel, designed by Morris Lapidus in the 1950s, into the original Art Moderne mode while filling it with the Ritz's distinctive 5-star service, this hotel has brought deluxe life into a slightly seedy and congested nook of South Beach. Lushly landscaped, this beachfront Ritz-Carlton eschews gilded kitsch and instead imbibes the pastel shades of Art Deco. Although South Beach is known better for its chic boutique hotels with their ultra-trendy minimalism, the Ritz-Carlton provides the comfort of goose-down pillows and smooth, cotton bed sheets. The ocean-view lanai rooms and the poolside rooms are the best that are on offer.
Some of the ritzy facilities on offer are a spa and wellness center that is 13,000 square feet in size, an oceanfront Ritz Kids pavilion, a lovely stretch of sunny sand with a delightful beach club, an elevated pool which has a panoramic view of the Atlantic, and of course the faultless service the Ritz-Carlton is famed for. In addition, for those who take their kids along, there is the Ritz Kids program meant for children between 5-12, which comprises supervised activities for kids, beach excursions, movies, and lots more.
Located at 1 Lincoln Road, in-room amenities include TV, A/C, mini-bar, dataport, safe, iron, and hair dryer, while some of the other facilities are: 3 bars, 3 restaurants, spa, health club, outdoor heated pool, salon, watersport equipment rentals, 24-hour room service, 24-hour business center, beach service, babysitting service, and laundry service.
The Sanctuary Hotel of South Beach
This all-suite, deluxe hotel is situated a little off the beaten path, which quite lives up to its name. If you fly into town, a Bentley will be sent to pick you up. But don't let the bling-bling style of the car mislead you into thinking that the Sanctuary belongs to a tacky class of hotels. Far from it. Comfortingly modern, each room comes with wireless Internet connectivity, flat plasma TVs, and Italian style kitchens with state-of-the-art equipment. Plus, the fridges in each room are stocked with whatever you specify before you check into the hotel and every bathroom has a Jacuzzi tub. You can sun-bathe on the roof deck or sink into a wading pool. At nighttime, the roof buzzes with hipsters gathered around the small bar. Located at 1745 James Avenue, The Sanctuary is the last word in swanky-chic, one of its other hot-spots being Sugo, which dishes out delicious Italian fare and can be found right in the middle of the hotel's posh lobby.
The amenities in each room include TV, DVD/VCR/CD player, A/C, mini-bar, dataport, iron, hair dryer, coffeemaker, and fully equipped kitchen. Some of the other facilities in the hotel are bar, restaurant, rooftop pool, poolside bar, room service, concierge service, spa and fitness center.
If you want to hark back to the nostalgia of the '50s ambiance, then this hotel, a favorite among youthful hipsters and Europeans on a budget, is the one for you. It can be best described as a Jaws meeting the Jetsons kind of place, with a friendly staff thrown in with the Hollywood special effects. The rooms come with Ikea-chic, which means they are ultra-modern but cheap. While the regular deluxe rooms are comfortable with high-tech amenities and not-too-small bathrooms, you also get suites and a really nice penthouse. The hotel has undergone a sprucing up and its small pool, courtyard garden, and sun deck are great places to hangout in if you don't feel like getting into the sand close by. There is also a small but nice lounge inside where you can grab a quick bite or sip a cocktail.
Located at 1530 Collins Avenue, the in-room amenities include Web TV, TV, CD player, A/C, and mini-bar, while the other facilities are the small pool, bar, and lounge.
One of the best things about this hotel is that although it is bang in the middle of the thronging Ocean Drive, it manages to stay aloof from the chic hoi-polloi outside. There is a private front entrance which leads to the main lobby via an elevator. Within this enclave, redolent with old world charm, you will be pampered by a professional and accommodating staff. The 53 suites of the hotel are both condos as well as rooms, with some of them being available on rent all year round. The rooms have lovely marble flooring, spacious bathrooms that have steam showers, and well-stocked kitchens. Although it is advisable not to take a corner room, or you will find out more about your neighbors than you would probably want to. Since it is bang in the middle of all the hustle-and-bustle of the neon lights of South Beach, for all its attempts at standing apart from it, the Bentley is not completely soundproof to noise. But, if you want deluxe ambiance in the middle of all the South Beach action, then the Bentley is the best choice.
Located at 510 Ocean Drive, the Bentley's in-room amenities include TV, DVD player, A/C, dataport, fax, mini-bar, kitchen, coffeemaker and hair dryer. Some of the other facilities are 24-hour room service, dry cleaning service, and concierge service.
Of course, there are many more hotels that dot this tip of Florida. As Florida beach resorts go, South Beach in Miami is the most hep-and-happening. So check out some of these hotels and head there for some great fun and sun!