Miami Madness

Faena Miami
Ahhh, Faena.

I’m from LA so you’d think I’ve seen it all. But Miami is a whole different breed. From the endless miles of white sand beaches, to the fabulous Latin music blasting from every corner, to the short shorts, deep tans, and fake body parts, this city is truly something to behold.

But what really stands out to this travel geek is the plethora of incredible hotel options. There’s something for everyone here and I was lucky enough to get to see some of the best.

Soho Beach House Miami
View from the rooftop at Soho Beach House.
Soho Beach House bathroom Miami
Bathing in luxury at Soho Beach House.

The Soho Beach House is nothing short of perfection. This Art Deco building in the heart of South Beach has a Cecconi’s Restaurant (with a killer brunch), a Cowshed spa, 2 pools, a beach club, a screening room, a library, a rooftop taqueria, a vintage bar, oh, and the rooms? Beyond. There are over 50 keys and each room is independently designed, but all with exquisite tiling and most with to-die-for bathtubs. If you want to see and be seen, or even if you don’t, this is the place for you.

Poolside at Acqualina Resort & Spa.
Poolside at Acqualina Resort & Spa.

If you’ve got kids in tow, do yourself a favor and head north about 30 minutes to Sunny Isles, check in to Acqualina Resort & Spa, and stay for as many days as you possibly can. This beachfront Leading Hotels of the World property feels like an elegant Mediterranean escape, complete with 5-star service, miles of powdery soft sand, beach butlers, a luxurious spa (I am still dreaming of the hot stone massage), pools for everyone (kids, families, adults only, you name it), a Children’s Center, a Teen Scene, Il Mulino restaurant, a newly launched kosher-to-go marketplace, and so much more. There’s fine dining, beachside dining, in room dining, poolside dining, and did I mention the brunch here is delicious, too? It’s also 3 miles away from the famous Bal Harbour Shops. OK, I’ll stop now.

Lobby of The Edition miami
The all white lobby of The Edition.

Ever wonder if there was a beachfront, luxury, boutique-style hotel that feels intimate, but in fact boasts 294 guest rooms and suites, including 28 private bungalows, and an unbelievable rooftop penthouse? There is, The Miami Beach Edition. The all-white lobby is sleek, chic, and on fleek. The rooms are light and airy, with natural woods, calm lighting, and Le Labo bath products (which is a huge selling point for this Le Labo le lover). Relax in the spa, at the private beach club (for guests only), in a hammock while watching an outdoor movie, or at the impeccably restored pool. And at night, head to Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Matador Room for Latin-inspired cuisine, then sneak off to the basement for some bowling (in a 4-lane bowling alley), ice skating (yes, ice skating in a 2,000 square foot indoor ice skating rink), or clubbing at Basement Miami, Ian Schrager’s homage to Studio 54. This property is very kid-friendly, but it’s a playground for adults as well.

1 Hotel's lobby.
1 Hotel’s exquisite lobby.

Known for their eco-conscious properties, 1 Hotel is another great choice in South Beach. 80% of the materials they use are reclaimed — their room keys are made out of recycled wood, their bedside glasses out of recycled wine bottles, their hangers out of recycled paper — all without sacrificing style. With 600 feet of pristine beach, 426 rooms (including private, oceanfront homes complete with a Personal Guru), a happening roof top bar, a holistic spa, a SoulCycle (are you sold yet?!), 4 pools, restaurants by James Beard-winner Tom Colicchio, and Teslas at your service, you can feel good staying here and feel good about staying here.

An ocean view room at Faena.
An ocean view room at Faena.
Damien Hirst's sculpture at Faena.
Damien Hirst’s famous gilded woolly mammoth sculpture at Faena.

And finally, Faena Hotel Miami Beach. Um, WOW. The colors, the artwork, the fabrics, the rooms, the restaurants, the bars, the theatre with live cabaret performances… there is no shortage of eye candy at this new(ish) Miami Beach gem. All done in reds, teal blue, splashes of leopard print, and lots of gold thrown in for good measure, Faena is a combination of modern style mixed with vintage, Old Hollywood glamour. A visit to the 22,000 square foot spa, otherwise known as the Healing House, is a must, the bespoke, handcrafted cocktails can (and should) be consumed at any time of day (it’s Miami!), and the 100,000 square foot beach should not be missed. Also, no trip to Faena would be complete without snapping a photo of Damien Hirst’s Instagram worthy, 24-karat woolly mammoth skeleton sculpture, which stands nearly 10 feet tall, is encased in four layers of hurricane-proof glass, and is worth a mere $18 million. Some people say this property isn’t for everyone, I disagree.

So grab your sunscreen, your bikini, and your heels, and head straight to Miami where the sun never stops shining, the music never stops playing, and the drinks never stop flowing. Isn’t that what a vacation is all about?

To plan your next trip to Miami, follow @DASherer on Instagram or email dsherer@elitetravelinternational.com.

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