The Top 10 Most Fabulous Hotels on South Beach

2001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139

The Setai is a quaint oceanfront hotel at the crux of South Beach. This is a  fabulous hotel because the rooms are infused with natural materials, space and light, offering a truly  Zen appeal. The Spa is pretty standard as far as 5 Star hotels go- over the top and gratefully, overly attentive. Each spa suite has an oceanfront view, a private bath and steam room so two people can enjoy “special” treatments in tandem, very sensual.

After a few mojitoes you will probably get lost out back in the tropical gardens. Thus, from an elitist’s point of view, the Setai is the center of South Beach. It is right next to Mynt Lounge where you can ball out, buy a table, a magnum bottle of Crystal, and get lost in transient house music all night. Ask for Oliver, he’s the Vince Vaughn look-a-like on a raging power trip. Or, do the low-key thing and head next door to Rok Bar. Grab a beer or two and rock out literally, the music is amazing with live music on Thursdays. Put it this way… if you crave luxury then you need to be in the Setai. You will feel right at home amongst the Aston Martins parked out front, emaciated fashion models, and high society people that reside here. Average Price: $475.00*



1901 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Where to begin…Shore Club is the ultimate place for the young, rich and fabulous on Miami Beach. Shore Club shares the 19th block of Collins Ave with legendary Mynt Lounge and Rok Bar. Skybar is the well-known name for the back pool and bar that overlook the beach, and is guaranteed to be the sickest pool scene by day or night.

Celebs are almost always found poolside and when absent are usually hiding out in the back bungalows, specifically in famed “bungalow 8” which boasts its own private secluded pool.

Red Room is the name of the inside area that is part of Sky Bar, it is usually chill and very chic, but tends to get a little too crowded late night. The seriously intense red ambiance gives the room it’s distinct character and name but might also give you a headache after a few drinks.

Nobu is also part of the Shore Club, it is exceptionally posh and the sushi is seriously top-notch. There is constantly a celebrity griping for attention in the main dining room. Most recently, Renee Zellweger looking scraggly and famished, Jay Z and Mary J, the guy who sings in Maroon 5, and Enrique Iglesias’ ex wife who pretends to play tennis sometimes.

The actual hotel rooms have a very minimalist modern feel, with cold, unfinished cement floors, which I happen to adore. The big, inviting, beds with huge down comforters will help you sleep last nights hangover away like a champion. I can’t forget to mention the lobby stores, Scoop and Me & Ro, they are absolutely adorable and worth checking out! Average Price: $315.00*

1685 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139

The Delano is right on the beach situated on Collins Ave. The combination of mirrors and white drapes give the hotel lobby a unique whimsical feel. The white hotel suites have ample space and will help you slip into a meditative, chilled-out state of mind. The most recent addition to the hotel is Florida Room, Lenny Kravitz’s uber-chic underground lounge.

Florida Room has remained the talk of the town since its grand opening during Miami’s annual Art Basal Festival a few months back. Only the extremely wealthy and beautiful will make their way into this 1980’s inspired piano lounge. The music is always fabulous, the place comfortably crowded, and the drinks made to order with fresh exotic fruit that lines the bar. If you aren’t granted access into Florida Room, go to the back bar, sulk a little and then drink your pain away, company doesn’t like misery! Average Price: $350.00*

500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami, FL 33131

The Mandarin is a stunning 5 star hotel that caters to business travelers, big-time celebs ( J-Lo, Michael Jackson and Will Smith), and wealthy vacationers. It is a high-end refuge for guests that are not in the mood for the South Beach spotlight. The hotel’s two restaurants, the upscale Azul and the more casual Café Sambal, are phenomenal; and specially staffed with employees flown in from Bangkok and Hong Kong, pretty high end wouldn’t you say?

The Mandarin’s waterfront view of the city is undoubtedly its best asset, throw back some happy hour drinks, and watch the sun set over the city. If that doesn’t bring you inner peace then hit up the 15,000-square-foot Spa, and I promise you will reach nirvana. For the spa-obsessed disciple like myself, check out the Thai massages and Ayurvedic treatments! Average Price: $325.00*

1144 Ocean Drive, 
 Miami Beach, FL 33139

Hotel Victor is located on famed Ocean Drive, adjacent to the equally if not more famed “Versace Mansion.”  This 5 star hotel, created by renowned Parisian designer Jaques Garcia, captures the glory, beauty and decadence of the 1930’s in a sophisticated and unique style.

Every room offers spectacular panoramic views of the Ocean and features custom designed furniture and plush Egyptian linens. The open bathrooms with infinity edge soaking tubs, outdoor rain showers and lucky bamboo plants are super sexy! Hotel Victor has a boutique and comforting feel with all the amenities of a luxurious hotel and none of the pretense commonly associated with South Beach.

My dad loves to emphasize the lack of pretention aspect.  A few months ago him and I even rocked out to Adrian Grenier and his band, don’t you wish your parents were that cool? The rooftop was so refreshing. Which brings me to the best part about the Victor, the Passage Bar and outdoor VIP lounge up top. The roof has easily become one of my favorite hideaways on the beach.  Between the movie-sized television screen playing the hottest fashion show on re-run, the groovy music or  $25 cheeseburgers that are to die for, it is chic meets calming up there! Average price: $276.00*

40 Island Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida 33139

The Standard Miami is a 3.5 star rated hotel but don’t let that be a deterrent. If you are a health freak like me, this is your sanctuary! The Standard retains the old glossy white terrazzo floors and Mod Morris Lapidus architecture. The motel-ish type guest rooms out back feature blonde woods, picnic baskets doubling as nightstands, cotton cozies covering wall-mounted flat screen TVs and organic options in the mini bar.

The Standard’s spa is a holistic and hydrotherapy centered spa inspired by global bathing cultures, self-teaching and healing. Indoor and outdoor baths include a Turkish Hamam, Aroma Steam Room, Sauna and Mud Lounge, which is totally sensual with your significant other (so ladies drag him along, he will thank you later).

The Lido restaurant and bayside grill are inspired by the traditional Mediterranean diet and lifestyle, healthy, happy and sun-kissed. Hence, the Standard represents my philosophy of living and eating well in equilibrium.

Not to be outdone by the Raleigh, which is hosting Miami’s Swimwear Fashion Week this year, The Standard Miami has stepped up its game, and was the setting for the recent W Magazine photo shoot entitled “Summer Camp.” Featuring hot designers and way hotter models, my beloved Kate Moss, plus Daria Werbowy and Lara Stone. The girls are featured rolling around on Standard beds, lounging on a stack of pool chairs, and parading around half-naked near a massage table, seriously scandalous in a good way! Average Price: $180.00

1671 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

The Sagamore was selected by Conde Nast Traveler in 2003 as” One of the top twenty hottest beach resorts in the world”, and has since been the watering hole for Miami’s elite. Umm… well that was 2003 and its 2008 so two words for you, fell off. Social was the tapas restaurant in the lobby and I say was because it is now closed for good.  I once saw Derek Jeter finishing dinner there on a Friday night and asked him what he thought of it? He had nothing good to say and instead asked me where he should party that night.

Its not all bad, the private art and photography collection, at one time featuring tons of naked people, gives the lobby a new age ambiance and hipster type feel, think lower West Village, NY.  Last winter, Friday nights would always begin the same way, with a packed crowd of locals and tourists trying to push there way through the heavily manned velvet ropes. It was basically a war zone, elbows flying, high heels kicking but only the hot girls, and guys with deep pockets would be ushered in. I guess the back bungalows are pretty awesome and worth a night if you have some fantastically fun friends otherwise don’t bother.
Average price: $335.16*

2301 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida 33139

The Gansevoort is the newest hotel to join Collins Avenue.  Well sort of by and by sort of I mean that it’s not a newly constructed hotel but rather a renovation of an old hotel. A 1920’s playground for the rich and famous has apparently been reborn as a magnet for trendsetters in South Beach but I’m not that convinced, yet.

Guestrooms sport stupendous views of the Ocean, oversized bathrooms with separate shower and bath, and a blend of modern and dramatic design.   Suede walls are punctuated by splashes of magenta and yellow, custom designed tables, sofas, lounge chairs and oversized mirrors in a range of materials from wood to leather.

 The roof bar and pool is an amazing part of the hotel that helps attract people without the name. It is fierce up there and totally stunning; the only downside to the top is on windy nights. Ladies in short dresses beware because you will a) freeze their assets off and B) mess up your hair.

Besides the rooftop bar and pool there is one other high note that Gans hits. That would be, for you work-out-a-holics and meatheads, the DavidBartonGym.  You may just fall in love with state-of-the art equipment, well taught, totally trendy classes both indoors and on the beach. Oh and the overpriced t-shirts are absolutely worth splurging on. Don’t kid yourself; you know you want a DBG tee that says, “Look better naked.”  Get your workout on baby! Average Price: $383.00*

1775 Collins Avenue, 
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Travel and Leisure Magazine once wrote that, ” the legend which is South Beach began at the Raleigh hotel.” Maybe it began there and now the Raleigh is in major need of reconstructive surgery. Last time I stayed there the $700 a night closet-sized room just wasn’t cutting it. The shower was even broken and no the concierge was no help.

Hotelier André Balazs should have taken his renovations upstairs beyond the lobby and pool. The kiehl’s shampoos, shower gels and lotions were pretty badass and would have been nice to use in the shower lol. I will give this to them though, the Raleigh is a masterpiece of Art Deco grandeur a staple and relic on Collins Ave on the outside.

It is also a sister hotel to Hollywood’s famed Chateau Marmont and The Mercer in New York. With its regal façade and lagoon-sized pool heralded as a “jewel” of modernist design it’s worth checking out.  However, if you are looking to throw a haute party, take a page out of Paris Hilton’s book. She rented the duplex Penthouse and threw her own 2004 MTV Video Music Awards post show party.

The Penthouse is 6,000-square feet, has secure key-only elevator access, a huge living room, and three individually appointed bedrooms, each with their own private terrace and outdoor shower, as well as nearly 2,000 square feet of oceanfront terrace and a rooftop fountain. Ms. Hilton’s party was definitely haute, she, on the other hand, not so much. The Raleigh’s sister hotel The Standard is a better place to stay if you are in want of a Spa because the Raleigh lacks one.
Average price: $375.00*


We saved the latest and best for last, The W Hotel.  With the paint still drying on the chic walls, this luxury hotel has been all the chatter for months on end.

Innovative and luxurious, the W lifestyle is a unique brand and category buster, featuring 29 properties in the most vibrant world-destinations.  The W Hotels strive and succeed at being inspiring, iconic, innovative and influential.  Each individual W Hotel provides a flair for design and passion for fashion, music, entertainment, architecture, culture and modern living.  Contemporary restaurant concepts and nightlife experiences are topped off with signature spas.

In the playground of celebs that is South Beach, you will find the delicious W South Beach.  This oceanfront slice of bliss was designed by international tastemakers, and is framed by art deco and among the hottest spots in South Beach.  The ultra-chic Mr. Chow and Solea provide superior nosh.  There are 6 awesome bars at the W Hotel South Beach including the popular Living Room.  This is truly an exquisite selection for an upscale hotel in South Beach, but do not overlook the importance of a luxury rental car to top off the experience.


Post by Imagine LIfestyles Luxury Rentals