August 20, 2021
Tablet is your source for discovering the world’s most exciting boutique hotels — places where you’ll find a memorable experience, not just a room for the night. For over twenty years we’ve scoured the earth, evaluating hotels for every taste and budget, creating a hand-picked selection that’s proven and unforgettable. Now, we’re the official hotel selection of the legendary MICHELIN Guide.
Here are the top 5 boutique hotels in Miami, Florida:
Alan Faena doesn’t do things halfway. The pioneering Argentinian hotelier didn’t just open a hotel in Buenos Aires — he transformed a piece of abandoned waterfront real estate into a glamorous urban destination, turning a once-derelict neighborhood into a thriving arts district. And now he’s brought the Faena brand to Miami Beach. It’s a place that, of course, doesn’t require the same kind of vision or transformation. This part of Miami is well-developed, to say the least. But in some ways the Faena Hotel Miami Beach is an even more ambitious project. That’s because Faena, just as he did in Buenos Aires, isn’t just opening a hotel: he’s taking over the neighborhood.
The Faena District occupies an eight-block stretch of prime oceanfront real estate. There are condominium towers, a high-end design bazaar, and a cultural center, but for the moment, the knock-out highlight is the newly opened hotel. Faena enlisted a dream team of designers, including architect Rem Koolhaas, to bring his fantasies to life, and the result is fanciful indeed. The grand entryway, nicknamed “the cathedral,” features gold-leaf ceilings, intricate mosaic floors, and a series of gargantuan murals by the Argentine artist Juan Gatti, plus a massive glass wall revealing views of the sea beyond. Upstairs, guest rooms and suites evoke Miami’s glamorous Art Deco past. It’s all curving lines, jewel tones, and retro-inspired decor, with luxe amenities and a distinctly Faena twist: bespoke bed linens made in Italy, Carrara marble bathrooms, and private butlers to attend to your every need. Suites have freestanding bathtubs, opulent dining rooms, and balconies with ocean views and plush furnishings.
For a little while there, Miami Beach’s hotels were in danger of losing touch with what’s unique about the city: not just the undeniable glamour of the place, but the backdrop of unhurried, quasi-tropical ease against which it’s set. KAYAK Miami Beach, however, is a timely reminder that it’s not just perfectly possible to combine stylish elegance and cheerful relaxation under one roof — it’s actually the essence of Miami Beach hospitality.
It’s set in a 1934-vintage Streamline Deco building, and its interiors pay homage to the era, along with a strain of warm, organic colonial-style design. The result is chic, but in a more approachable, welcoming way — no velvet rope here. The rooms have a handmade touch that was entirely missing from the old high-gloss Miami Beach boutique hotels, but they’re plenty plush all the same, with Revival linens and Le Labo bath products to set a decadent tone.
What’s Hyatt Centric? It’s the mega-chain’s new youth-oriented boutique sub-brand, aimed at a population of travelers for whom Park Hyatts and Grand Hyatts are perhaps uncomfortably pricy, and regular old Hyatts are a one-way ticket to dullsville. These are people who aren’t afraid of a bit of modernist furniture and the occasional bold splash of color — a fact which is reflected in the Hyatt Centric South Beach’s interiors.
It’s also a population for whom business and leisure blend effortlessly together, which is how the Hyatt Centric gets away with offering a proper desk in every room, free wi-fi, and plenty of formal and informal meeting space, without feeling like the dreaded business hotels of old. And of course there’s plenty about this hotel that’s purely resort-oriented. The rooftop pool deck is probably the hotel’s most desirable space — especially for canine guests, who have access to the adjacent Wooftop, which is, as far as we know, the only hotel-rooftop dog park in existence. And for (human) wellness there’s Exhale, a spa and yoga/barre studio.
In Miami the flash hotels arms race has escalated to a point where a hotel like the Betsy — South Beach is almost shocking in its restraint. We’re almost tempted to call it conservative, but with a disclaimer: the Betsy’s pre-deco style means it’s got a personality all its own, and can’t help but stand out from the poolside fashion shoots and celebrity-thronged nightclubs of its more attention-starved neighbors.
This was pretty much the last Georgian-style hotel to be built on Ocean Drive, and was, at the time, called the Betsy Ross. To be fair, the image of an old woman sitting in a chair sewing a flag is probably the wrong one for the hotel’s present incarnation, which folds in the former Carlton Hotel on Collins Avenue as its “Hohauser” wing. Interiors are contemporary but still classic, the palette sunny yet restrained, contrasting rich corals and greens with the ever-present Miami white. Bespoke fixtures and furnishings anchor the seaside ambience, picking up earthy notes of walnut, teak, raffia, and wicker.
If you’re expecting The Standard Spa, Miami Beach to be a carbon copy of the LA Standards, you’re in for a bit of a surprise. Still intact is the Standard’s house brand of low-key luxury — itself enough to raise an eyebrow or two in shamelessly glam Miami Beach — and unique to this particular Standard are a few novel solutions to the problem of shoehorning another big-deal hotel into the already packed South Beach scene.
First, the hotel is located off the main drag, on the quiet and mostly residential Belle Isle, along the Venetian Causeway just short of Miami Beach proper. You can find yourself very much in the thick of it within minutes, but The Standard makes the most of its slight remove, such that it may furnish the kind of peace and tranquility that’s long since departed Collins Avenue. Well, relative peace and tranquility, anyway — The Standard’s typical guests are not exactly wallflowers, and there’s always something going on in the bar; but compared to South Beach proper, this is practically transcendental meditation.