Miami Beach has managed to be the world’s biggest playground for creative hoteliers and real estate magnates. And all of them try to revive the old spirit of this coastal strip. Sometimes it feels a bit staged, but most of them do a pretty good job.
Miami Beach has always been a place for creatives, born survivors and speculators, but never before have so many important hoteliers come together to compete for a single street – Collins Avenue – with new brands and designer pools. Almost every month there is a glamorous opening of a new place with a spectacular name. Although, behind these so called boutique hotels, you will find big hotel chains and if we look a little more closely, the guests are still staying in white concrete huts, but now pay double or triple compared to ten years ago.
While the buildings on the central strip are nearly completed, even more gigantic projects are springing up further north: the Argentinian Alan Faena is even constructing his own quarter – the Faena District – with numerous hotels, apartment buildings and an Art and Culture Centre. The whole investment will be more than one billion dollars and the investors are all big names in real estate and finance.
And the luxury chain Four Seasons has openined an enormous complex consisting of a hotel and apartment building in the north. It’s called The Surf Club, a mixture of cool and chic and it is intended to rekindle life into the old “Surfside” district.
The phenomenon Miami Beach is easy to explain: Everyone knows this place and you can fly from anywhere right into the middle of the action. Those who are looking for cool people, party and beach will really grow to love this strip of land. Also, or even because of these new hotels:
1. The Miami Beach EDITION Hotel
The new EDITION Hotel has a really big PR-advantage: it was designed by Ian Schrager who is something of a godfather in the creative hotel branch, and who, with the Morgans in New York, introduced a new era in the field of designer hotels 30 years ago. Besides that Schrager used to be a doorman and co-owner of the legendary New York club Studio 54. A few years ago the hotel chain Marriott recruited him and let him design the new brand EDITION hotels. The first one opened in London, the second was Miami Beach, and recently EDITION hotels have been opened in New York and Istanbul. All of them are indeed spectacular and have pretty furnishings. Of course there are many things in an EDITION hotel that you wouldn’t expect to find in a normal Marriott hotel: for example, in the cellar of the new palace in Miami Beach, there is a night club and a bowling alley.
Double room from about 250 euros.
EDITION Miami Beach
2901 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach / Florida
2. 1hotel South Beach
The most beautiful new property is the 1hotel Miami Beach. The Gansevoort-Hotel used to be located in the same building, but because of the 250 million USD renovation, not much of the former party hotel is recognizable. Everything now looks very “ecological-clean-chic”. Peaceful colours and shapes, a sensational inner courtyard with a pool and lounge with direct access to the water. The location is also superb, because it is within walking distance of the popular Lincoln Avenue and most of the bars and clubs are just around the corner from the hotel (the Mansion nightclub is directly opposite and the Wet Bar of the W Hotel is just one block south). Behind the new brand 1hotels stands a real heavyweight of the hotel industry: Barry Sternlicht was the CEO of Starwood Hotels from 1995 to 2005 (Sheraton, Westin, etc.) and is regarded as the inventor of the W Hotels brand (which also belongs to Starwood). Another 1hotel in New York has just recently opened and twelve further locations are to follow very soon.
1hotel South Beach
2341 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, Florida
Double room from about 300 euros
3. Metropolitan by COMO
The Metropolitan by COMO is located on 24th Street level in Collins Avenue, so it’s the middle of the action, but already in the “new” part of the holiday island. It has 74 rooms, two restaurants, a really chic pool, a spa on the upper floor and the largest selection of different sorts of gin. Because the Metropolitan belongs to the Asian group of COMO-Hotels, everything is very simple and tidy, but – to be honest – not really that spectacular.
Prices: Double room from about 250 euros.
Metropolitan by COMO
635 Collins Avenue
Miami / Florida
4. Casa Claridge’s
The Casa Claridge’s belongs to the imperium of the Alan Faena (Faena District). The guy definitely has lots of intuition for historical buildings and a great taste. Casa Claridge’s is a typical South American jewell in the crown and is a lovely contrast to the concrete boxes on Collins Avenue. The interior: tiled floors just like in a Spanish hacienda, as well as a lot of art installations and very comfortable rooms – all individually furnished. However, Casa Claridge’s isn’t on the beachfront, but in the second row where you have to cross the street to get to the beach.
3500 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach / Florida
Double room from about 180 euros.
5. Freehand Miami
Up front: The Freehand is a hostel, not a hotel. Most of the rooms have four to six bunk beds and the bathrooms and room service are not up to the standard of the previously mentioned hotels. Nevertheless the Freehand is perfect for young travelers. Chic pool, funny furnishings and everything more laid back. Yet, behind this is not – as stated on the website – a team of cool travelers, but the Sydell Group, who operate numerous such installations (for example the NoMad Hotel in NYC or the Saguaro in Scottsdale and Palm Springs). Their boss, Andrew Zobler, used to work with Barry Sternlicht (see 1hotels) for the brand W Hotels. Big advantage: favourable prices, young guests, good parties in the evenings directly in the hotel. Little bummer: Because of the parties at the poolside, it can get quite loud, up to 1.30 a.m.
2727 Indian Creek Drive
Miami Beach, Florida
Tel: 001 305 531 2727
Double room from about 130 euros.
Freehand Hostels are also located in Los Angeles and Chicago.
If you are looking for something special and need entry / guestlist / contacts to bars and clubs, call Jonathan from www.onelifeconcierge.com. He will help you.