SOUTH BEACH MIAMI
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Most people don't realize that Miami Beach is not part of the City of Miami, but rather an entirely separate
entity with its own mayor and government. Miami Beach is a narrow island stretching from Bal Harbor in the north to South Beach in the south, bordered to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and to the west by the Intracoastal Waterway.
Photo by Cookie Kinkead
For Island Outpost
The area known as SoBe is located roughly between 17th St. south, with the hottest locales being below about 10th.
Hotels in SoBe run the gamut from economy a few blocks off the beach to glitzy brand-new structures to high-end renovated gems either on the beach or across from it on Ocean Avenue. Depending on your budget and your proximity to the beach, you can enjoy the adult playground that is SoBe from many lodging options.
Probably the hottest, hippest, "where to be seen" hotel is Ian Schrager's Delano, a large oceanfront building on the north end of SoBe. With 208 rooms designed by Philippe Starck, a rooftop spa, a restaurant owned by Madonna and a lobby where you can rub elbows with the glitteratti of both coasts and several foreign monarchies, the Delano is the né plus ultra of SoBe chic.
The National, another large hotel in the same general area, has been honored with several awards for its detailed renovation, and is on the National Register of Historic Hotels. The stunning public areas and grounds have been used in films and many top stars of screen and stage choose to stay at The National when in SoBe.
210 Foot Pool
At The National
photo courtesy National
Of the large hotels in the north end of SoBe, Loews South Miami Beach is the newest and largest, with 800 rooms and suites and a three-story concierge level. Built to pay homage to the Art Deco style of the area, the 18-story hotel is glamorous, chic, and elegant, with a customized swimming pool that is truly reminiscent of the era.
If what you want is Rock 'N Roll, choose one of the 11 suites at The Marlin, a trendy Island Outpost hotel, home to South Beach Studios. And even if you have no sound mixing to do on your own, you might bump into others who do... Aerosmith, for example, or U2. While the hotel is a block from the beach, you can use the facilities at The Tides, another Island Outpost hotel with a mezzanine-level swimming pool where topless sunbathing is allowed, and 45 luxurious units each with a telescope for... ummmm... stargazing.
Designer Todd Oldham's style suffuses The Hotel of South Beach with his signature bright colors, tie-dyes, and sleek styling. A Deco landmark, The Hotel was lovingly recreated and modernized. It boasts an award-winning restaurant and a jewel of a rooftop lap pool overlooking the ocean.
It has been said that Robert DeNiro will only stay at The Raleigh while in South Beach. Esther Williams used the pool at the Raleigh for several of her films, and Desi Arnaz got his start here, filling in for Martha Raye's missing drummer during the Grand Opening of the hotel in 1940.
The Cardozo, a squat but charming building with 44 rooms and suites, is owned by Gloria Estefan, and was most recently seen in the movie "Any Given Sunday." It was also featured in "Something About Mary." Both films starred Cameron Diaz... what could be the connection, I wonder?
For Dielsel-powered fun, take a peek at The Pelican, directly on Ocean Drive, with the funniest, funkiest rooms imaginable.
Cheaper, you say? Try Maxine Hotel, a renovated 74-room property directly across from the Delano. Or stay at The Beach Plaza at Collins and 14th, or at the recently renovated Franklin, at Collins and 8th, in the heart of it all.
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