As a sprawling metropolis with scores of densely packed neighborhoods offering unique cultures, Miami offers a plethora of lively pockets to explore.
Choosing the perfect place to unwind after a long day of gallivanting, isn’t exactly an easy feat. You might decide to stay in Miami Beach for easy access to the shoreline and nightlife, or perhaps you’d prefer to be closer to the city’s artistic and cultural core. Maybe you’re more focused on amenities and want to find a place that offers attractive wellness facilities or a homey, community-type feel. Whether you’re looking for luxury or design-focused accommodations, something budget-friendly or a laid-back vibe, these are some of the best boutique hotels to check out in Miami.
Life House Little Havana
The rooms at Life House Little Havana are homey | Courtesy of Life House Little Havana / Hotels.com
Located in the heart of Little Havana, the Life House wants its guests to imagine they are fearless expeditionists on a worldly journey. Each room is brimming with exotic textiles, trinkets and treasures unique to Little Havana’s tropical, verdant landscape. Old Spanish mosaic tiles, crisp white bed linens, woven mahogany chests and black-and-white photographs transport guests into a Havana of yore. With a charming Cuban café plus a rooftop bar and restaurant that will open in fall 2019, Life House encourages its guests to make friends. Its prime location is just minutes from nightly live music at Ball & Chain and the indie-film haunt Tower Theater and is just a short drive from Wynwood or downtown.
Made famous by a legendary performance by Jim Morrison and The Doors, Coconut Grove is a hippie hideaway in Miami’s otherwise suburban South Miami community. Located in Cocowalk – Coconut Grove’s recreational artery – the Mayfair Hotel and Spa is a luxury boutique hotel. In addition to its world-class spa, the hotel also features a rooftop pool and lounge. With a tropical modern aesthetic, the Mayfair is a quiet respite from the somewhat buzzing streets outside, yet it’s perfectly located to access some of the area’s best dining, including seafood joint The Spillover and Giorgio Rapicavoli’s Glass & Vine. As Coconut Grove is known for its sailing community, staying at the Mayfair means you’re just a short trip away from climbing aboard a vessel of your own.
Think of the Gale as that swanky speakeasy hundreds of partygoers would be desperate to get into. Its classic-meets-cool cocktail bar is open nightly for both guests and Miamians and regularly invites local jazz musicians to play into the early-morning hours. Its celebrated three-star Italian restaurant, Dolce, offers rustic and simple Italian fare, plus an unbeatable daily happy hour. Upstairs in the hotel, you’re guaranteed some peace and quiet, with cozy bathrobes and beautiful Italian linens welcoming you in for a restful night’s sleep. Located along Collins Avenue, this hotel offers convenient access to all of South Beach’s most compelling nightlife destinations.
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Overtown is one of Miami’s most historic black neighborhoods, and the area is regaled for launching the careers of some of the world’s most prominent jazz musicians. The Copper Door B&B pays homage to Overtown’s historical roots, with 1940s-style appointed rooms, an Art Deco architectural aesthetic and frequent events. The in-room breakfast, however, is the real draw – the B&B offers guests chef-inspired meals, often featuring perfectly runny eggs, avocado toast and local bread from Zak the Baker. Perched just outside of downtown Miami, and conveniently located next to a major highway, The Copper Door B&B is a great option for travelers eager to explore the city from its historic core.
This 1950s Miami Modernist classic recently got a major revamp, taking the property from frumpy motel to bougie hotel. Its on-site pool is likely the biggest draw, with a Botticelli-esque sculpture welcoming guests in for a swim. The pool is a local favorite, as is the newly renovated sushi restaurant located near the lobby of the hotel. Situated in the heart of the MiMo District, The Vagabond is a perfect crash pad for exploring Miami’s more eclectic side. Little Haiti is just around the corner; you can check out its colorful Caribbean-themed town center, the Little Haiti Cultural Center for a show, the area’s many galleries or even try your hand at improv at the Villain Theater.
A bohemian hostel located on a quieter strip of Miami Beach, Freehand offers affordable and on-trend digs and plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle with other guests. Head down to the courtyard pool and snag some cocktails at Broken Shaker, repeatedly recognized as having some of the best libations in the city. Alternatively, grab a bite at 27 Restaurant & Bar, which fuses Florida cuisine with Caribbean favorites at dinner and brunch; the daily eggs benedict, an ever-changing mash-up of flavors to cure any hangover, is a must-try. With four- or eight-bed quads plus intimate suites, Freehand is perfect for solo travelers and groups alike.
This 1960s-era property got a dose of cool when The Standard took over, complete with a renovation that now makes it one of the most enviable stays in the city. There’s plenty to gush over at this unique hotel, including the mid-century modern furnishings, the pool deck overlooking Biscayne Bay or the lush garden courtyards and outdoor bathtubs perfect for soaking in the Miami heat. The spa, however, is the real draw. With a built-in marble hammam, arctic plunge mud lounge and Finnish sauna, it’s easy to spend your entire stay holed up in its quarters. The Standard’s Juice Café & Terrace is a perfect treat after a long soak.