The Absolute Best Hotels in Miami

From boutique hotels in Wynwood to luxurious properties in Miami Beach, these are the best places to lay your head.

Arlo Wynwood
Photo courtesy of Arlo Wynwood
Photo courtesy of Arlo Wynwood

Miami will always be a vacation destination. Built on the grand dreams of Henry Flagler, John Collins, and other snowbird tycoons, Miami made its name as a vacationland for wealthy northerners, but has grown to become a vibrant, diverse playground for people all over the world. With all that notoriety comes a sea of fantastic hotels, ranging from grand luxury properties to cool boutiques in lesser-known neighborhoods ensuring that whatever your flavor, Miami has a hotel you’re going to love. So whether you’re visiting our city or live here and just want to get out of your house for a while, here are the best hotels in Miami for exploring, luxuriating, or immersing yourself in the local scene.

Acqualina Resort & Residences
Photo courtesy of Acqualina Resort & Residences

Sunny Isles
If it’s luxury you’re after, swipe your card at Acqualina. The Mediterranean-inspired Sunny Isles highrise feels like a villa on the Cote D’Azur was transported a couple dozen stories over the Atlantic Ocean. The oversized rooms (the smallest start at 750 square feet) emanate European elegance, and the ocean views somehow feel more exclusive than they do at sand level. Still, you’d be remiss to skip a meal at Costa Grill, where you can enjoy a beachside view of the ocean. For something more posh, do dinner at Il Mulino New York’s lone remaining Miami outpost, or sample the Beverly Hills hit Avra and its take on Greek fine dining.

Arlo Wynwood
Photo by The Dana Agency, courtesy of Arlo Wynwood

Wynwood’s first full service hotel is already turning heads, as it’s been more or less booked solid since it opened last fall. The colorful highrise blends in as seamlessly as a skyscraper can with the murals on ground level that bring the neighborhood’s famed street art to everything from the common area walls to the multi-colored restaurants. Rooms are a calming tableau of light woods and whites, with floor-to-ceiling views out over Miami’s art district and skyline beyond. Downstairs, you can enjoy food from noted local chef Brad Kilgore, who’s latest creation Mary Gold’s Florida Brasserie is already a citywide sensation. If you’d rather eat a little lighter, hit Higher Ground, a third-floor bar set among banyans and banana plants with crudos, oysters, and salads on the menu.

The Biltmore
Photo courtesy of The Biltmore

Coral Gables
Every city with an iota of history has that storied old hotel with decades of tradition—and in Miami, that hotel is the Mediterranean marvel The Biltmore. The Coral Gables landmark was originally built as a centerpiece for George Merrick’s master planned community. One hundred years later, it maintains ornate ceilings, grand archways, and an iconic exterior that’s visible from most elevated vantage points in the city. A stay at The Biltmore is a taste of what old money in Miami experienced, with one of the grandest lagoon pools in the world and an adjoining 18-hole golf course.

The Carillon
Photo courtesy of The Carillon

Miami Beach
If you’re looking for a rejuvenating stay on the water where you can pamper yourself all day and gaze out at the tranquil turquoise ocean in the evening, book a couple of nights at the Carillon. The wellness-themed hotel is home to one of the best spas on the planet, where you can alternate between massages and touchless treatments like floating in a silent salt bath or resting in a deep sleep chair. Rooms are more like oversized apartments where you can sprawl out in luxurious robes between spa and beach sessions, then hit the upstairs saltwater pool with elevated views of the Atlantic. Carillon also recently opened Tambourine Room, an intimate six-course dinner experience complete with a wine pairing that’s already one of the toughest tables in the city.

Citizen M Brickell
Photo by Richard Powers, courtesy of Citizen M Brickell

For visitors looking to get the most bang for their buck, citizenM’s Brickell outpost is a sure pick. The impressively efficient Dutch room design is cozy and welcoming, where a bed wedged into a windowsill and a shower that shares space with a toilet somehow still feel spacious. The accommodations may be snug, but you won’t want to spend much time in your room anyway. The ground floor features an art gallery and the upstairs common areas begin to feel like a luxurious youth hostel where you might miss the party if you go back to your room. The hotel’s bar is always buzzing, so get there early to snag one of the outdoor bar seats with a bird’s eye view of Mary Brickell Village. Oh, and things are only getting better, the citizenM will soon add a rooftop bar and pool literally taking the views up a notch.

Faena Hotel Miami Beach
Photo courtesy of Faena Hotel Miami Beach

Miami Beach
Lovers of fine art, top-notch food, and brilliant design may never want to leave after checking in to the Faena. The rich red walls and intricate paintings inside the entrance make guests feel like they’re spending the night inside a faberge egg. That’s not to say the Faena is over the top, it’s just to say that art dominates everything, from the Instagrammable mammoth skeleton in the back to the performances inside the Faena forum. The hotel is also home to a few luxe restaurants including Pao by Paul Paul Qui and Frances Mallman’s Los Fuegos. Those seeking something more casual need only cross the street to the Mexican estate-themed Casa Faena, where Tulum transplant Gitano and its rooftop margaritas await.

Four Seasons Surf Club
Photo by Christian Horan, courtesy of Four Seasons Surf Club

No hotel in Miami combines our 1930s grandeur and 21st century cool quite like Surfside’s Four Seasons. Built atop the historic Surf Club, this luxury property pays homage to the wealthy guests of yesteryear, where a stroll through stucco porticos and under restored frescos feels like a trip back to the heyday of Henry Flagler. Belly up to the brilliant pink pastel and palm tree Champagne Bar, then settle in for a meal at the Italian hit Lido or Thomas Keller’s The Surf Club Restaurant, located adjacent to the hotel. After, retire up to your room of pure modern elegance, where floor-to-ceiling windows look out on the Atlantic, and technology dominates everything from the bathroom lights to the flat-screen TVs.

Kayak Miami Beach
Photo courtesy of Kayak Miami Beach

Miami Beach
Travel giant Kayak’s first-ever hotel transports guests from present day Miami Beach to a jungle safari in the 1950s. The rooms are done up in teak-inspired woods, with old time radios and woven fabrics giving the spaces serious Out of Africa vibes. The jungle safari immersion continues at Layla, the stunning onsite restaurant that serves Middle Eastern fare next to the Collins Canal. For intrepid travelers, the hotel feels like a base camp for exploring the wilds of South Beach. But fear not, with a rooftop bar and private pool it also offers a solid dose of seclusion.

Kimpton Surfcomber
Photo courtesy of Kimpton Surfcomber

South Beach
To the untrained South Beach eye, differentiating between the towering properties along Collins Avenue can be difficult. But the Kimpton Surfcomber has shot itself to the top of the list thanks to a massive renovation and creative new restaurant. The Surfcomber feels just as luxurious as some of its high-priced South Beach neighbors, with poolside cabana rooms and a long resort pool. Its nightly social hour brings guests together for a free drink in the evening before they move on to dinner at the Social Club. The chef-driven restaurant boasts some of the most original food in South Beach, with dishes like Sweet Potato Gnocchi with duck confit and a mango-filled Tuna Tartare.

Life House, Little Havana
Photo courtesy of Life House, Little Havana

Little Havana
Miami’s onetime Cuban enclave is the odd Miami neighborhood that’s managed to add popular new bars and restaurants without losing its soul. That’s why Little Havana’s lone boutique hotel fits the neighborhood seamlessly, where small, thoughtfully designed rooms offer a comfortable place to retire and recharge yourself (and your phone). While the lively common areas and prime Little Havana location make it an ideal place to land, what sets Life House apart is its rooftop bar. Terras uses ingredients from its sunny garden to flavor cocktails crafted by local drink maven Gio Guttierrez, and the views of the skyline and sunset make it one of the sexiest places to drink in Miami.

The Pelican Hotel
Photo courtesy of The Pelican Hotel

South Beach
This recently revamped Ocean Drive hotel is easily the most creative new property to hit South Beach in years, offering 32 themed guest rooms that use much of The Pelican’s original mid-century modern furniture. You can sleep like Don Draper in the Sixties Executive Suite, or surround yourself in repurposed airplane parts in the Up Up In The Air suite. Other themes include Vegas, Zebra, Bamboo, and the rattan fantasy “Go Bananas.” Downstairs, the Pelican Cafe serves Ocean Drive’s best Italian food, which may sound like a low bar, but trust us: it’s already landed itself on our list of Miami’s top restaurants.

The Thesis Hotel
Photo by Moris Moreno, courtesy of The Thesis Hotel

Coral Gables
Rare is the Miami hotel that’s as much a destination for locals as it is for visitors. But Thesis has struck that magical blend, where you’ll find Gables locals and UM students enjoying the amenities as much as out-of-towners. Much of that is thanks to Niven Patel’s stewardship of the Thesis’ restaurants, with the Michelin-rated Orno offering an upscale, wood-fired option and tropical-themed Mamey giving guests a brilliant taste of Miami’s diverse culinary influences. The rooms are nearly as exquisite as the restaurants they sit above, with sleek, modern design and provocative art lining the walls.

The Vagabond Hotel
Photo courtesy of The Vagabond Hotel

Don’t tell anyone, but the coolest stretch of Miami right now sits along Biscayne Boulevard and points west. And if you’re looking to explore the neon motels of MiMo and the live music and funky restaurants of Little River and Little Haiti, the place to stay is The Vagabond. The converted roadside motel has one of the coolest pools in Miami, complete with a mermaid painted on the bottom. Mr. Mandolin set up shop in the lobby, offering the same groundbreaking Greek and Turkish menu that made the original Mandolin a local legend. Hang around on weekends, and you might also stumble upon one of the best pool parties in Miami. It’s not the rager it was a few years ago, but it’s still quite the scene.

W South Beach
Photo by Chris Carter, courtesy of W South Beach

South Beach
Getting access to the W South Beach’s verdant backyard and sprawling pool is enough to make you book a room on its own. But the rest of the newly renovated hotel promises a luxurious environment with a dose of playful fun. Each room is downright sexy thanks to a welcoming sea of plush white furniture, expansive spa-like bathrooms, and balconies that are shifted toward the ocean for epic views no matter where your temporary home sits. The museum-like lobby showcases a sizable collection of Andy Warhol originals, so don’t miss taking a look as you run off to your beach cabana or session on the rooftop tennis and basketball court.

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Matt Meltzer was formerly a staff writer with Thrillist. Follow him on Instagram @meltrez1.