Florida is well known for its natural beauty, tropical climate and Southern charm, not to mention such epic attractions as DisneyWorld, the Kennedy Space Center, endless miles of white-sand beaches and the Everglades’ tranquility. As a popular vacation state, Florida is not short of hotels, and there are plenty to choose from if you’re looking for something outside the resort or chain hotel scene. Here’s Culture Trip’s pick of the best boutique hotels in Florida, the Sunshine State, ranging from bed and breakfasts and inns to historic mansions, all bookable with Culture Trip.
Santa Rosa and its sugary sands are a pristine setting for the WaterColor Inn, which sits between the Gulf of Mexico and a coastal dune lake overseen by a longleaf pine forest. Sizable 500sqft (46.5sqm) standard rooms awash in soothing blues stir up oceanfront serenity at entry; outdoor cabana showers with impeccable sea views couldn’t be more relaxing on the first floor. With the beach and kids’ clubs, multiple restaurants and other big resort infrastructure, this isn’t necessarily an intimate choice but rather a rousing option for discerning families and groups.
It doesn’t get more Conch (the Key West colloquialism for locals) than this whitewashed tropical getaway whose rich history is rampant with astonishing detail. The home dates to the 1880s and sits surrounded by tropical landscaping which evokes a palpable sense of place. Some 87,000 century-old bricks from Cuba, Honduras, and England were used to build the winding pathways. Four one-ton earthenware jars called tinajones peppering the property were once used by Spanish settlers to catch rainwater for drinking. The 21 guestrooms, cottages, and suites are lavishly-appointed with Bahamian-plantation-style furnishings in yew and mahogany and feature private entrances and outdoor verandahs.
An industrial-chic seaside retreat may seem out of place in Key West, but don’t be so stodgy: The Perry gets the blend of contemporary and rustic just right and piles on a sea-fueled sensibility which leaves no doubt to the tropical location. Oversized private balconies, open-air outdoor showers, outdoor fire pits and two waterfront swimming pools frame marina and mangrove views in all directions; inside the 100 rooms, wood-paneled headboards, coastal-inspired furnishings, wooden ceiling fans and local photography nurture a nautical Stock Island vibe. And there’s fresh seafood with a Southern accent.
The one and two-story oceanfront bungalows at the Miami Beach Edition sit a comfortable walk north of the South Beach boundary (24th Street), allowing guests to tuck away in slightly less rambunctious environs without sacrificing being near the heart of the Miami Beach action. You won’t find the usual kaleidoscope of wild tropical colors here but rather more subtle earth tones still evoke a beach aesthetic (khaki, sand and light hardwoods). If you aren’t into the idea of a private plunge pool in your oceanfront bungalow, Edition features some 266 additional rooms, all of which honor a similar soothing color palette.
The Pearl calls the easy-on-the-eyes, West Indies-style community of Rosemary Beach home. Its peaked clock tower pointed turrets, sun-soaked terraces and black-and-white striped awnings offer a point of reference in the idyllic village which is less famous than its neighbor to the west, Seaside, but every bit as postcard-perfect. Though the 55 rooms, decked out in elegant coastal style, skew less than some boutique options, the spa, the adults-only pool, and Hemingway-inspired restaurant make the Pearl an upscale romantic getaway for choosy couples.
Located on Collins Avenue in the heart of South Beach, Marlin Hotel is a completely revamped Art Deco landmark in the center of the hottest hood in Miami and sits a tempting two blocks from its sun-kissed sands. The 33 contemporary rooms ooze style and homespun comfort across hardwood flooring, custom furnishing and fixtures and agonizingly-curated throw pillows, rugs and artwork instill a coastal-inspired ethos throughout. In-house restaurant Osteria Del Teatro serves up some of the best seafood-heavy Northern Italian cuisine in the city. Together, the rooms, the food and the architecture are a sizzling South Beach trifecta.
Redbury South Beach exudes old-school cool. This upscale boutique hotel brings the allure of its sister property in New York to the Sunshine State. You’ll be well looked after here; guest perks include a rooftop pool, beach club access and complimentary airport transfers. Retro chic guest rooms and suites come with record players, complete with a Capitol Records-curated vinyl collection to set the soundtrack to your South Beach getaway.
A luxurious beachfront boutique hotel, the Betsy exemplifies excellent attention to detail. Guest rooms and suites are tropical-luxe sanctuaries, while the two outdoor pools, wellness garden and spa help you unwind. Fitness fanatics can hit the on-site gym (complete with Peloton classes), while foodies are spoilt for choice with five dining venues – from steak and seafood on the grill to grabbing quick bites from La Ventanita. However, it’s the arts and culture program where the Betsy truly shines. The owners of the hotel – the Plutzik family – curate art exhibitions, readings in the Writers’ Room and the musical program, including live jazz and chamber music performances.
For a luxury coastal stay, check out the best resorts in Key West or even the best beach hotels across the Florida Keys, bookable with Culture Trip. If you’re traveling elsewhere in Florida, read our guide on the best resorts in the Sunshine State.
This is an updated version of an article originally written by Audra Clemons.
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