With its oceanfront mansions, designer shopping and gourmet dining, Miami is a dream destination for the super-rich. Yet its opulent hotels give everyone a chance to (briefly) live like a VIP in this city. Check into one of these luxury hotels and expect to be wowed with lavish decor, world-famous restaurants and exclusive spas, along with staff ready to make almost any dream come true.
Prepare to be spoiled at this Downtown Miami hotel. Every single room in the sparkling 54-story tower has floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony to take in jaw-dropping views over Biscayne Bay. There’s also a private marina for those arriving by yacht and an upmarket spa for award-winning massages. Be sure to make a reservation for brunch at Zuma, where bottomless champagne accompanies fresh sushi, lobster and unmissable miso black cod.
It really is all about you at the Standard Spa. Health and wellbeing are priorities at this trendy adults-only property on the Venetian Causeway, which connects Miami to Miami Beach. Rooms have organic bath products, snuggly hooded robes and minibars stuffed with organic treats, while the pool and tropical gardens conceal an arctic plunge pool, a waterfall hot tub and a mud lounge. However, only you can decide whether to order a virtuous wellness shot or a frozen piña colada at its popular Lido Bayside Grill.
Laid-back luxury is the focus at the Palms Hotel and Spa. Set in tropical gardens that merge blissfully into the beach, this 1940s property encourages you to feel at home with its colorful decor and relaxed vibe. The friendly staff won’t bat an eyelid if you stroll barefoot through the lobby or order stacked-high burgers poolside. If you’re looking to be pampered, the hotel has a slick Aveda spa, an excellent craft cocktail menu and spa-inspired rooms.
Staying at the glitzy Faena feels like being inside a movie – which makes sense given that celebrated film director Baz Luhrmann and his costume designer wife, Catherine Martin, helped design this mind-bogglingly elaborate Mid-Beach property. Every corner is unashamedly over the top, with splashes of animal print against ruby-red leather, candy cane-striped beach umbrellas and conversation-starting art, including two Damien Hirst sculptures. The hotel’s theater is an equally glamorous affair, with cabaret performances held under elaborate chandeliers.
Pampering is part of the package at Acqualina on Sunny Isles Beach. Whether you want to dine à deux by the ocean’s edge or linger over a gourmet picnic basket in the gardens, nothing is too much trouble for the staff here. You can lounge by three oceanfront pools, sip cocktails on the white-sand beach or retreat to the 20,000sqft (1,858sqm) Acqualina Spa by ESPA, but there’s also a host of family-friendly activities, including painting lessons and ping-pong for those who prefer to stay active.
In the heart of chi-chi Millionaires’ Row, 1mi (1.6km) from South Beach, the oceanfront Fontainebleau attracts big spenders, celebrities and poolside posers. This 1950s resort cost a whopping $1bn to restore and is now home to a dazzling lobby, a beautiful spa and the achingly hip LIV nightclub. Want a private yacht chartering, a poolside cabana with butler service or a chance to cruise down Ocean Drive in a rented Ferrari? The concierge service can make magic happen in moments.
Glamour comes with a side order of fun at this Ian Schrager-designed resort north of South Beach. Think beach movies, organic popsicles by the pool and a Studio 54-styled nightclub in the basement, along with a bowling alley and an ice rink. You will be suitably spoiled with the largest hotel beach in the city, Michelin-star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten in charge of the food and a cutting-edge spa offering 24k gold body scrubs and oxygen inhalation.
Those in the city for work don’t need to put up with bland business hotels. This Philippe Starck-designed property in Miami’s financial district doesn’t stint on the glitz, with a wealth of modern art, slick minimal rooms and a rooftop pool deck with private cabanas and skyline views. For added luxe, there’s a complimentary house car for use within a 3mi (5km) radius and a state-of-the-art fitness center with free yoga classes. The hotel will even launder your workout gear on the house afterward.