“Budget Art Deco hotel, 2 blocks from the sand in South Beach's buzzy SoFi area”
In stark contrast to the snazzy lobby, the 24 rooms are dressed in calming, muted tones such as tan, soft green and grey-blue. Furniture is minimalist - quilted bedspreads, Roman shades, small desks, chairs or padded benches - but the blonde maple-wood platform beds with rounded bases are a nice homage to the building's Art Deco bones. All rooms are very spacious (28-34 sq.m), and bed size determines category - queensize in the Classic Queens, kingsize in the Grand Kings, and a pair of double beds in the Quartier Doubles.
The star of every room is the bathroom, which runs the full length of one side. Two curtained entrances open to an oversized vanity unit clad in Saturnia stone, with a door to the toilet at one end and a multi-jet shower cubicle complete with built-in speakers at the other. The latter is big enough for 2 and converts into a steam cabinet, so select an aromatherapy product from the ‘spa bar’ in the corner and pamper away! The front desk can also book in-room massages to add to your bliss.
All rooms come with an entertainment tower, which includes a CD player, minibar, cable TV and DVD player. You also get WiFi, bathrobes, a safe box, a hairdryer and an iron. The quiet neighbourhood means there’s little in the way of street noise (windows are sound-proofed anyway, for good measure), but internal walls are rather thin so you may hear some sound from next-door rooms.
Though nothing fancy, the free continental breakfast served daily in the lobby bar (8am to 10am) is more substantial than the plate of pastries on offer at many Miami hotels. Expect a choice of cereals and yoghurts, along with croissants, Danishes, coffee and juice. If you love to linger over eggs or pancakes until mid-morning, follow the locals to The Big Pink, a diner-style café serving bagels, waffles, granola and omelettes.
If want to stay in for lunch or dinner, order a delicious dish from the room service menu provided by local Italian eatery La Locanda. Meals can be delivered from noon until 11pm - we enjoyed ours on the hotel’s curtained front porch.
South Beach is one of the USA’s culinary epicentres, so any stay should involve several epic meals out. Many of the area’s restaurants have world-renowned chefs, though the scene moves with some frequency - if you’re overwhelmed by the choice or need the inside scoop, place yourself in the capable hands of the hotel’s concierge. It’s an easy walk to Joe's Stone Crab, a local institution where (you guessed it) large stone crab claws are on the menu. And you can't go wrong with a steak at Smith & Wollensky or Chinese at Mr Chow's.
Finding a bar to toast the sunset or party the night away won't be a problem, either. In the SoFi area, we like Monty's South Beach for sundowners, Nikki Beach Club for music and cocktails, and La Piaggia Beach Club for chic Saint-Tropez style.
Kids of all ages are welcome - although there are no specific child-friendly activities on site, so plan to head straight for the beach.
Classic Queens and Grand Kings can fit a baby cot, though you'll need to reserve one well in advance as the hotel only has a limited number available. The Quartier Double rooms have 2 double beds and can fit a baby cot, too. Note that all rooms have showers only (no tubs).
The concierge can recommend insured babysitters.