Miami is well known for its sandy beaches, non-stop nightlife, and year-round warm weather. Don’t forget the always-growing skyline, luxurious shopping malls, Art Deco architecture, and many, many hotels.
Miami is a great place to staycation if you’re in South Florida and visit if you’re not. The Miami International Airport is in Doral and the Fort Lauderdale airport is a short drive on 95 too.
In this blog post, I’m going to take you around Miami and tell you what to do, where to eat, and where to stay, but first – the hotels.
Here are my top picks for the best hotels.
Best Places To Stay In Miami
Best Overall Hotel
Four Seasons Hotel Miami
The Four Seasons Hotel Miami is located in Brickell. My sister lived in Brickell for a few years, and let me tell you, it is a hot spot! You can walk to just about anything when you stay here, but if you want to stay at the hotel, Four Seasons has a spa, two restaurants, a fitness center, a pool (obvi), and so much more.
If you want to be by all the action and walk around Miami, this is the place.
Best Luxury Hotel
Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne
Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne is in Miami but feels more secluded since you’re on an island… and not a crazy island like Miami Beach. This hotel has all the amenities you’d expect – spa, restaurants, fitness center, pool with cabanas… all the things, including a pantry. (I love snacks!)
If you want to relax on a classy beach and enjoy a small, luxurious beach town feel, then this is your spot.
Best Beachfront Hotel
Loews Miami Beach Hotel
For the hustle and bustle of Miami Beach, you want to be at Loews Miami Beach Hotel.
As a reporter, I covered The South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s Burger Bash and it was on the beach right in front of Loews. It’s a great location for all the events happening in Miami Beach.
Best for Business Hotel
Novotel Miami Brickell
We’re going back to Brickell for this one! Novotel Miami Brickell isn’t in the heart of Brickell where all the amazingness is right outside your door, but it’s pretty damn close. You will need to walk across 15th Road to access places, like the financial district.
Best Boutique Hotel
Mr. C Coconut Grove
If I could describe Mr. C Coconut Grove in one word, it would be adorable. It has an Italian flair with a great restaurant and bar in the very eclectic area of The Grove.
Most Historic Hotel
Stunning. That’s the word for Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. It’s also the only hotel on this list that has a golf course. When it comes to amenities, this one has the most on the list.
Fun fact: Scenes from the movie Bad Boys were shot here.
Those are just six hotels. There are so many more amazing ones around Miami. But listen, Miami is big and traffic is no fun, so if you’re planning a trip, decide what kind of things you want to do so you can stay close to all your adventures.
If you’re on Instagram, after you follow me of course, make sure you give Caro the tour guide a follow by clicking here.
Let me help give you a virtual tour. Our first stop is…
South Beach is a lot of things you’d expect: bold, colorful, sexy, and hot… in more ways than one. (Spring break is super busy, as you can imagine!)
While South Beach’s beaches and wild party scene are undoubtedly its biggest draws, this famous oceanfront neighborhood is full of world-class shopping, historic architecture with art deco buildings, and hidden gems, including unique bars, homes, hotels, museums, and some of the best restaurants in Miami.
Because of its reputation, this is one of the spots you need to visit. I suggest swinging by these places:
Lincoln Road is a walkable 10-block stretch of great shopping & dining in the heart of South Beach.
Now known as The Villa Casa Casuarina, on July 15, 1997, only 5 yrs after purchasing the home, Versace was killed on the front steps of the house on his usual morning walk home from News Cafe.
The only reason this hotel isn’t mentioned above is because it’s mentioned here. Situated on oceanfront Collins Avenue in the heart of Millionaire’s Row, Fontainebleau Miami Beach is one of the most historically and architecturally significant hotels on Miami Beach. Even if you’re not staying here, the nightclub and pool parties are very popular and open to the public.
Brickell is still the best area to stay in Miami for business travelers with quick access to downtown Miami, the financial district, and MIA.
Any semblance of old-style Miami that can be found in Miami Beach has all but been erased, replaced by shiny new skyscrapers and hotels, many of which are topped by vibrant nightclubs and rooftop pools and cocktail bars with live music.
The combo makes for nightlife in Brickell next to none, and in the daytime, everything you need is an easy walking distance away.
Coconut Grove is a peaceful area on the south edge of Biscayne Bay just south of Miami known for its charming market called CocoWalk where streetside cafes, old-time bookstores, and upbeat gastropubs intermix. Click here to check out CocoWalk.
Coconut Grove is a bustling neighborhood full of a rich culture that will have you close enough to Miami to get a taste of the vibe, but far enough away to relax too.
One of the oldest cities in Southern Florida is the scenic Coral Gables. Developed by real estate mogul George Merrick in the 1920s, the city has maintained Merrick’s original Mediterranean-style design throughout its streets.
Fun fact: There are no street signs here. Instead, you need to look down at the stones on street corners – a true sign you are moving away from the downtown area and the city of Miami.
Residential neighborhoods are covered in thick tropical canopies and lined with Spanish-influenced mansions guarded by formal gates.
The scenic Biltmore Hotel, resembling the Spanish cathedral of Seville, has stood tall since 1926. A few blocks away is the Venetian Pool, an aquatic facility carved from the coral bedrock below. Amazingly, the outdoor pool is filled with naturally flowing water from an underlying aquifer. Caro the Tour Guide posted about this here.
Other attractions in Coral Gables include the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, an 83-acre tropical oasis featuring thousands of rare species, and the Miracle Mile, an outdoor shopping complex and epicenter of activity in Coral Gables.
The village of Key Biscayne is along the island’s center, where The Ritz-Carlton is a destination unto itself with a beautiful stretch of beach, water sports, several swimming pools, and multiple restaurants.
Surrounded by ocean views, Key Biscayne is a must-visit during any Miami vacation when you want to escape the hustle and bustle of South Beach and feel like you’re on a secluded island.
The island is excellent for families with attractions like the Miami Seaquarium, beach activity rentals and snorkeling tours at Crandon Park, and kayaking trails featuring manatees on Virginia Key.
Plus, free parking and green spaces are easier to come by here.
Wynwood & the Miami Design District
If you are artistic, Wynwood and the Miami Design District just a hop north of downtown are going to be your jam.
The stark contrast between these two side-by-side neighborhoods is like night and day.
Wynwood, a once downtrodden corner of town, is now a revitalized subdistrict replete with all sorts of activity. Art lovers will appreciate the Wynwood Walls, a labyrinth of street art splashed along the concrete alleyways between abandoned warehouses turned breweries, coffee shops, and nightclubs. It’s such a cool sight to see!
A few blocks away is the modern and upscale Miami Design District. Contemporary art galleries, designer clothing stores, and celebrity chef restaurants are all over this neighborhood. The modern architecture and public art deliver visitors an appealing backdrop as they indulge in Miami’s high-end retail therapy.
More Tips for Staying in Miami
I could go on and on about what to do in South Florida… and I haven’t even touched on so much more to do in the Miami area like the best neighborhoods in Little Havana, North Beach, the American Airlines Arena (where the Miami Heat play is renamed to something else every other year), Calle Ocho, Bal Harbour, Lummus Park, Perez Art Museum, Sunny Isles Beach, and more.
Then, there is so much to do in nearby Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach County too!
While these places may look close on the map, as with any big city, it takes time to get from neighborhood to neighborhood due to traffic. For this reason, I’m a big fan of Brightline. It’s the best way to go up and down the east coast of South Florida.
The Brightline takes you to and from South Florida’s top events, concerts, beaches, or the office with high-speed rail service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
Service from Miami to Orlando begins in 2023, with stops at shiny new stations in Aventura and Boca Raton along the way.