Hotel St Augustine

South Beach, Miami, United States Book from

Budget Art Deco hotel, 2 blocks from the sand in South Beach's buzzy SoFi area
Dressed up to the nines in pastel Art Deco, Miami’s fabled South Beach is always ready to party - and SoFi (South of Fifth) is one of its most up-and-coming districts. Here you’ll find Hotel St Augustine, a 1937 Art Deco mansion. It's aimed squarely at the cheaper end of the market, but that doesn't mean it's a no-frills place to stay: the 24 rooms are huge, bathrooms are luxurious, and the concierge can get you on the VIP list at the hottest clubs. Best of all is the plum location, in a residential neighbourhood away from the crowds, yet a stone's throw from the beach, designer shops and some of the city’s top-rated restaurants.

In place of the desperate-to-impress glitz of many Miami hotels, we found a sociable Deco-modern lobby with a curved mosaic wall, a neon-orange Plexiglas bar with splashy modern art, and soothing, minimalist rooms with some specialist spa touches. Head to nearby Ocean Drive - 16km of buzzed-up beachfront - to see and be seen, then slink back to St. Augustine for some bliss in your lusciously oversized multi-jet shower, which cleverly converts into a steam room and comes complete with a built-in surround-sound stereo. A sweet surprise in a budget hotel!

Highs

  • A fantastic price in an unbeatable location - save money by staying here and you can eat at the finest joints in town, browse the collections of the rich and famous in the Wynwood Art District, and drink Cuban-inspired cocktails as the sun sets
  • Plenty of comfortable places to hang out if you want a break from partying, including couches in the bar and cushioned benches on the front porch
  • Authentic Art Deco architecture updated with all the mod cons (bathrobes, toiletries, DVD players, WiFi)
  • Huge spa-style bathrooms - order some products from the 'spa bar' and take your time pampering
  • Genuinely welcoming and chatty staff, including a 24-hour concierge

Lows

  • Best suited to younger travellers on a budget; if you’re looking for high-end designer glamour, stay elsewhere
  • The rooms are rather muted compared to communal areas, and most look directly onto neighbouring buildings
  • The continental breakfast is basic and there’s no pool or restaurant, though take-away meals can be arranged
  • Curtained doorways and glass shower cubicles mean bathrooms aren’t very private; thankfully, the toilets are hidden away
  • Noise travels between rooms (although windows are effectively sound-proofed against street noise) and the air con is rather loud

Best time to go

Miami's peak season is December to March, when the days are sunny and balmy. It's also great to visit in spring, but beware of spring break as the influx of students changes the atmosphere dramatically. By summer, the heat and humidity can be oppressive. Hurricane season runs from June through to November.

The city hosts many festivals (during which time rooms at this hotel are charged at peak rate). The best include the Ultra Music festival in March and Art Basel-Miami in December. While we were there in February, a large swath of beach was taken up by white tents for the South Beach Food & Wine Festival.

Our top tips

Rent bikes to see the city: it's a great way to get around without getting stuck in traffic jams, and there are plenty of routes to explore, from Art Deco trails to museum circuits. Reception can advise.

Great for...

Beach
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 24
  • Breakfast only (restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room: Grand King

Rooms

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.

Features include:

  • 'Spa bar'
  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Iron
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

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.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Hit the beach. It's 2 blocks to a 90m-wide slice of white sand, or you can lounge on a daybed at one of the many beach clubs in the area
  • Spend time on the water. Rent a jet ski or sailboat, go sport fishing or take kite-surfing lessons
  • Tour the Art Deco District. Simply stroll down Ocean Drive to see the world's largest collection of Art Deco architecture, or drop into the Art Deco Welcome Centre and book a walking tour with a guide
  • Take photos outside The Villa by Barton G, formerly Gianni Versace's mansion and the most photographed landmark in South Beach
  • Follow an arts trail. The Wynwood Art District is world-renowned and you can book guided tours by Vespa to take in the best of the best
  • Take the South Beach food tour, where you can try high-end delicacies as well as street food during a 3-hour guided walk. Reception staff can advise on all local tours
  • Go shopping. The Sunday Lincoln Road flea market is an institution, as is the Collins Avenue Fashion District, where you'll find international designers
  • Do yoga on the beach by the pink lifeguard stand at Third Street Beach; lessons take place all day long
  • Take a daytrip to the Everglades, just 56km from Miami, where you can see manatees and alligators in the subtropical wilderness

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Historical sites
  • Kitesurfing
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Well being
  • Wildlife
  • Yoga

Kids

Kids of all ages are welcome - although there are no specific child-friendly activities on site, so plan to head straight for the beach.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

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).

Babysitting:

The concierge can recommend insured babysitters.

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
7/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
8/
Overall

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