“Fresh no-frills hotel in buzzy South Beach with brilliant service and a hip, happy vibe”
Steps from the shore, in South Beach’s Art Deco District, and within walking distance of the famous, glitzy Ocean Drive, shopping and nightlife hotspots, this is a hip and cool 69-room hotel with a mixed crowd of beach-bums, fashionistas, party animals, film producers, business travellers and young families - pleasingly children under 18 stay free of charge. Dating from 1939, but renovated in the Noughties by Parisian designer India Mahdavi, the 5-storey hotel has clean, white and spartan décor, with dots of playfulness such as the swing on the porch and inflatable beach balls on the beds. And it all creates a very relaxed and light feel, in line with its impact on the wallet. The roof terrace is the perfect spot to chill out to cool beats after dark. Now, if I could just see one more trick, please...
- Great value for money; basics are included (breakfast, WiFi, essential toiletries); all else can be purchased at very reasonable rates at the reception-cum-minimart
- Casual, friendly and exceptionally efficient staff
- Lounge-style roof terrace with city views and loungers, where fun-loving guests mingle
- Great location, with the beach next door and many of South Beach’s attractions within walking distance
- No pool, but the beach is just a minute away
- Due to its central location, it can be noisy, but we slept fine without earplugs
- The tiny bathrooms might feel claustrophobic; some rooms are a bit on the scruffy side
- The 2 penthouses get booked up quickly, so forget about getting one of these at the last minute; be aware that your proximity to the rooftop bar means a noisy night on the weekends
- The hotel is often booked out for photo and film-shoots
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Breakfast, snacks + bars
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
- Bicycles Available
The 69 ultra-minimalist, all-white rooms create a fresh and calm atmosphere, yet avoid feeling sterile. Scarlet rugs, baby-blue body cushions, inflatable red beach balls and pink flowered lampshades add colour and a subtle hint of mischief, while white candles and fresh flowers create warmth. Rooms are kept spotless but some show signs of wear and tear.
Most rooms are Standard or Superiors - both categories are a rather compact 20 sq.m, but Superiors have an extra window. Equipped with WiFi, a flat-screen TV, iPod dock with alarm clock, data port, an iron with ironing board, a fridge and a safe, they have been cleverly designed and are surprisingly comfortable. All rooms are now non-smoking, with queensize or twin beds, a simple white table and chair, and beige, L-shaped cube couches-cum-crash-pads for an extra overnight visitor. A rollaway bed can also be added (just where, I wonder?) and baby cots are available.
Marble bathrooms are minuscule yet functional, with rain showers, white cotton towels, basic own-brand toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, soap) and a hairdryer. Additional items such as flip flops, toothpaste etc. can be purchased at reception.
We stayed in a Standard and felt its combination of monastic, white décor and a large window was very bright, making the supplementary charge for a Superior room unnecessary.
If, however, you are happy to splash out a bit, try to score one of the 2 penthouses. Though only marginally larger, they feature private terraces with comfy pouffes, Atlantic or city views, and bigger, brighter, breezier bathrooms. Penthouse B has indoor living area with space for up to 2 extra guests, while Penthouse A has 2 terraces that overlook the ocean. They are very popular, so book early.
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Internet access
- Ipod dock
- Safe box
A simple, complimentary breakfast with croissants, bagels, boiled eggs, rolls, jam, and fresh orange juice can be picked up in the pantry, which can be a bit of a bottleneck on busy mornings. Take your time and enjoy breakfast in the bright sunroom, an extension of the lobby, with its white shutters and fresh flowered cushions. There's a choice of different teas and an espresso machine where you can make your own very nice lattes. The kitchen/pantry area is open 24 hours for you to make tea or get fresh cold water.
Snacks are available at the reception snack bar, and takeaways from nearby restaurants can be ordered in.
If you feel like venturing out and love Mexican food, you are in for a treat at über-cool Rosa Mexicano (upscale, sophisticated, modern Mexican). Expect pomegranate frozen margaritas and the yummiest guacamole, freshly prepared at your table. Carnivores should try the insanely popular steak haunt Prime 112. Further afield, modern American culinary temples Michy’s and Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink in the Design District are both definitely worth the schlep. On the other side of the spectrum, ultra-basic I love Calle Oche and El Rey de las Fritas are local faves for authentic, hearty Cuban fritas (burgers). For the all-American burger, try Five Guys (yes, it’s a chain, but it’s great). And you're just next door to the acclaimed Nobu.
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Hop over to the beach for a swim and tan; if that’s too sedate, rent a bike and ride up the boardwalk
- Give that credit card a workout in the nearby shops and boutiques, or at chic Aventura Mall in North Miami, with all the usual suspects under one (big) roof
- Indulge in an in-room massage or head over to the Delano and go full-on spa-glam at the Agua Spa on the roof, followed by a drink in the sleek Rose Bar in the lobby
- Take a historic Art Deco walking tour and explore the beauty of this pastel, glitz and glam neighbourhood; check out the bars and restaurants of the 'Mediterranean village' sited around Espagnola Way
- Go all Miami Vice and take a spin on the jet skis
- Check out Miami Beach’s quirky Wolfsonian Museum of modern art and design. If you are up for more art, take the scenic Venetian Highway to the “mainland” and browse through the studio spaces in trendy Wynwood and the Design District, Miami’s official art neighbourhoods. Many galleries are only open on certain days, or by appointment, so call ahead
- Go wild on the cocktail-front at Miami’s vibrant nightlife hotspots; start with the ultra-cool bar at the Shore Club, then work your way up the iconic Ocean Drive (where you also find the Versace mansion) and finish off at LIV club
- Explore the quiet beauty of the Everglades, but skip the swamp buggies as they harm the environment. So a canoe or boat trip or a bit of a hike it is. Just watch out for the 'gators and snakes...
- Take the kids (or your inner child) to the happiest place on earth; Disney World is a few hours’ drive away - Mickey’s waiting for you...
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Plantlife / flora
- Shopping / markets
- Well being
The hotel is child friendly. Children stay for free up to 17 years of age. Baby cots and rollaway beds are available; kids could also sleep on the sofas. Connecting rooms can be requested.
Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
There are some connecting Standard rooms which are best for larger family parties. Penthouse B and the Standard and Superior rooms all have a sofa suitable for an extra guest and space for an additional rollaway bed.
Kids Activities nearby:
Families will love the close proximity to the beach, just a minute away
- Airport: 30 minutes
- Shops: 2 minutes