The US’s southeasternmost state has long been a holiday favourite, offering leading beach resorts, golf courses and theme parks, of which Walt Disney World in Orlando headlines. Those in the market for a city break can hit the streets of Miami, with a buzzing arts scene and nightlife, particularly in South Beach. And if you’re seeking a more secluded escape, why not take a trip through the Everglades, or head for a hidden beach to see marine life through a snorkel.
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
Having opened in 1991, the island’s Ritz-Carlton became an AAA Five-Diamond resort, with its Sandcastle Concierge and direct beach access, an 18-hole championship golf course and an ocean-inspired spa offering a signature “Heaven in a Hammock” massage. Salt is the seafood signature dining venue (so named as it incorporates 40 different salts in the dishes); Coast is a casual alfresco eatery; Coquina is a poolside/oceanfront restaurant; and there’s Tidewater Grill for Lowcountry fare. First Call in The Lobby Bar provides a daily bourbon-based libation and First Drop serves coffee. The hotel has its own signature scent; Votivo 52, which you can buy and take home to recall the feeling of staying on Amelia Island.
Royal Blues Hotel Relais & Chateaux
Perched on Deerfield Beach, this hotel was the first Relais and Chateaux property in Florida. Originally the work of film and theatre producer Edward Walson, it now welcomes guests in its 12 polished bedrooms, each with balconies and Nespresso machines and displaying Walson’s own curated collection of original art. The Royal Blues’ Chanson restaurant is something very special indeed, with fine food prepared using local ingredients, served beside wide open ocean views and a huge overhead saltwater aquarium. Beside this is a wine lounge, with an extensive array of wines and a tapas tasting menu.
The Ray Hotel Delray Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton
This recently opened design-forward property is found in the palm-flanked Pineapple Grove Arts District. The tropically inspired building by González Architects is accented with living walls, huge sculptures and a “floating glass cube” function space/yoga studio. Indeed glass plays an intrinsic part in its makeup, creating allowing the outside in. The Rosewood Rooftop houses a bar, restaurant and pool; Stingers is the coffee shop, Ember Grill serves US-style food and there’s a Japanese restaurant, Akira Back, led by a Michelin-starred chef. Bedroom interiors are by Virserius Studio and art installations are found throughout the public spaces.
Boca Raton Marriott at Boca Center
Two rows of underlit palm trees line the walkway to the Marriott’s entrance in a frontage that’s typically Sunshine State. The hotel is located in the downtown area of Boca Raton and boasts a gorgeous walled outdoor pool area with a hot tub and chic cabanas accented by vibrant cushions and loungers. Neutral bedrooms also have pops of colour in the form a wave-style blue wall panel calls to the nearby coast. The Marriott’s restaurants, Sonrisa and Drift, serve the brand’s own take on Caribbean food, described as “Floribbean”. There’s also a fitness centre and a wealth of amenities on the doorstep.
Baker’s Cay Resort Key Largo, Curio Collection by Hilton
A coastal theme blends with a Tiki style and contemporary island living at this resort on the edge of the Everglades. The family-friendly poolside has its own waterfall and a mobile food truck serving ‘snacks and sips’, or there’s an adult-only swimming area and guests can make use of the private white sandy beach with a host of watersports. Fishing excursions are popular – take part in the hook-and-cook programme to bring your catch back to the kitchen, where the chefs will prepare it for you. Pets are especially welcome too, the hotel even has its own Director of Pet Relations!
The Reach Key West, Curio Collection by Hilton
Facing out onto the Atlantic, The Reach has Key West’s only natural sand private beach – and the ocean is right beside the hotel’s poolside, which features a floating gazebo. Seafood, steaks and chops are specialities at the restaurant, Four Marlins, however, guests also have access to the dining options at its sister property, Casa Marina. Sunday brunch at The Reach is famous, taken indoors or on the patio (both have incredible sweeping views). 150 modern bedrooms feature shell headboards, bathrooms with abstract art, and private balconies. This resort is a short walk to the heart of the action, yet far enough away to feel peaceful.
Kimpton Shorebreak Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort
Stay right beside the beach, at the Kimpton Shorebreak Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. This was originally the Escape Hotel, opened in 1949, the first in the area to both have a swimming pool and stay open year-round. The interior design is coastal, modern and airy, with nods to its mid-century heritage and colour cues from the local ocean landscape. 96 bedrooms have Bluetooth speakers, yoga mats and pet-friendly amenities. Plus there’s a 24-hour gym, an outdoor pool, loaner bikes (to feel the Floridian wind in your hair) and La Fuga restaurant/bar with a terrace.
Four Seasons Hotel & Residences Fort Lauderdale
Offering a contemporary take on the classic yacht club lifestyle, this oceanfront property by Four Seasons opened its doors in 2022. The 22-storey building on Fort Lauderdale beach is the work of Miami-based architect Kobi Karp, with interior touches by the London-based Tara Bernerd and Partners and Martin Brudnizki Design Studio. It features 189 guest rooms and suites, a spa, multiple pool terrace, The Honey Fitz cafe and lounge (named after John F. Kennedy’s presidential yacht) and Evelyn’s restaurant (in homage to local luminary Evelyn Fortune Lilly Bartlett), serving eastern Mediterranean discovery menus and Levant-inspired cocktails.
Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale
The oceanfront location of this Ritz-Carlton property sets the tone for a more relaxed vibe than is found in some of the brand’s more formal city-centre hotels. Twelve storeys in height with a curved shape and furnished balconies attached to every bedroom, it looks and feels much like a cruise liner. This theme continues inside, with a ship-like lobby offering boutique shops, a pool table, a spa and a salon The sunbathing/ pool area overlooks the sea, while on the seventh floor, there’s a stunning infinity pool Guests staying here have access to the Grande Oaks Golf Course and can eat in the Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits or the poolside cafe.
W Fort Lauderdale
Fully renovated in 2017 to achieve a fresh and bright modern look, the beachside W accommodates well over 500 bedrooms, as well as a separate tower for residential guests. Wet East, the pool deck, is the place to be on Saturdays when the incumbent DJ plays the tuns, as the in-crowd sip cocktails on cabanas. But if you prefer a more chilled-out atmosphere, Wet West, the second pool area, provides it. However, few stay here for a quiet life and the Living Room offers the chance to party into the wee small hours. Food can be ordered at Steak 954, El Vez, the sushi bar or the property’s Grab and Go bar.
Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach
The post-modern architecture of this hotel is evocative of the area’s yacht culture. Inside, the design has been led by A++. Choice is a big deal with this brand – guests can select preferences for their pillows, bath products (namely Refinery, Shanghai Tang or Temple Spa) and their minibar treats, as well as having the option of seven different in-room dining options. Suites come with one, two or three bedrooms and beautiful marble bathrooms. And there are three eateries: Cornucopia Gourmet Market, the Spinnaker Pool Grill and Japanese-Korean fusion cuisine at Takato. Included in your daily stay are the use of two beach chairs and an umbrella, a two-hour bike rental and a discount in the spa.
The Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood, Curio Collection by Hilton
Recently refurbished to the tune of $100 million, this Hilton hotel takes its name from the adjacent Hollywood beach. It’s a little further away from the main Fort Lauderdale action, but well-placed for access to the airport. And with so many amenities on-site, it’s perfect for those not wishing to venture far. The 36-storey property houses 1000 rooms, ten places to eat and drink, two pools (cleverly constructed on crisscrossing levels), waterfalls, a Dip + Slide splash zone, a spa and a daily programme of activities (including watersports). The Diplomat was voted one of the top 10 resorts in Florida by Condé Nast Reader’s Choice and is 4 Diamond rated by AAA.
Luminary Hotel & Co., Autograph Collection
Stay downtown at this AAA Four-Diamond resort perched on the Caloosahatchee River. The 12-storey building was completed in 2020 and is just a couple of blocks from the beach with views across the marina. Terraces house the fourth-floor pool and a bar, while 243 rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and urban chic decor, with artistic nods to the city’s illustrious “luminaries”. There are five places to eat and drink on-site; a seafood restaurant, a coffee shop, an American diner, a top-floor river-view cocktail bar and the latest addition, Oxbow Bar & Grill. The Luminary also accommodates a culinary theatre and indoor and outdoor fitness areas.
The Mayfair House Hotel & Garden
Stay in the city’s colourful Coconut Grove district, within easy reach of the beaches and downtown area. The Mayfair House has many impressive features, including an outdoor atrium garden, an Art Noveau lobby with a mini-rotunda and curved walls, and a the pool area, where you can recline on a circular cabana beside an open-fire. Of its 179 bedrooms, most have balconies and some have rolltop clawfooted tubs. The colour palette revolves around earth terracottas and turquoise, reflecting Miami’s natural landscapes, while the interior aesthetic blends vintage styling with contemporary flair. Dine at the Grill, and pop into one of the wellness sessions (yoga, meditation and sound baths are available).
Loews Coral Gables Hotel
Located close to the Miracle Mile on a buzzing multi-functional plaza, the Loews Coral Gables Hotel has 242 bedrooms — book one on the higher floors for the best views. Guests can dine and drink at its locally-inspired venues; The Americana Kitchen, The Americana Bar, Miami Joe Coffee Co. and Phineas, an alfresco rooftop lounge nine storeys up. It has a health club featuring Peloton, an outdoor pool with cabanas, 2,787 square metres of meeting space (including an “event lawn”) and a striking, modern aesthetic.
The Arlo Wynwood Hotel
Designed by NBWW Architects and Meyer Davis, this brand-new neighbourhood hotel is a cultural meeting point, as well as a place to stay. Art is a big deal at the property, whose exterior walls are emblazoned by the work of Miami-based artist Hoxxoh and interiors showcase over 250 innovative pieces, including specially commissioned, site-specific work. The building rises nine stories, topped with a rooftop deck that accommodates the pool, private cabanas, a bar, a café and a yoga deck featuring a plexiglass mural. Dine indoors or out, at its 2,666-square-foot restaurant, in MaryGold’s and at its bodega.
The Setai Miami Beach
The Setai, Miami Beach, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, features 87 Art Deco rooms in the original building, 50 Ocean Suites in the tower, and one exception Penthouse with a pool. Facilities include the Valmont Spa and a Clefs d’Or Chief Concierge. The gardens, punctuated with water pods, sculptures and tropical plants, are where guests will find three temperature-controlled pools, and then the private full-service beach. Dining is led by Executive Chef Vijayudu Veena, and includes the vibrant Jaya restaurant, and on the beach, The Ocean Grill. It is a fusion of intimate, boutique personalised hospitality with the flair and style of one of the best Florida resorts. Staying at The Setai is to experience something truly unique in Miami Beach. This is undeniably a landmark breach resort, yet the landmark architecture and ingenious design creates a welcoming boutique feel that reflects the hotel’s commitment to exclusive, personalised hospitality.
The Mandarin Oriental is situated on a distinctive island, an enclave off the mainland financial district of Miami. This famous five-star property is a real destination resort with a high-end Peruvian restaurant and a world-class spa. It Offers stunning views of the Biscayne Bay, while its outdoor dining venue and lobby bar gratify a buzzing after-work multitude. Its man-made beach and stylish pool, on the other hand, gives the guests an ideal environment to soak up the sun at the South Beach scene. All the rooms are furnished luxurious items as well as classic furnishings in moderate tones of cream and honey. The spacious accommodation also includes large terraces and marble bathrooms that have soaking tubs.
This historic Surf Club on Miami Beach has been renovated owing to the Four Seasons. The original Mediterranean Revival clubhouse has been restored and an additional 12-storey glass tower has been built. All these have made this luxury resort bring a little bit of the Old Florida charm back to Surfside. This resort offers sublime rooms, each with luxurious finishes and a plush white bed. The services and facility are also on point. The dark, atmospheric Shiseido Spa tops among its top facilities. Other facilities include Bar, Beach, Kids’ club, Fitness centre, Laundry, Pool, Parking and Restaurants among others. The food and drinks all offer a great dining experience at this resort. To top it up, the staff is efficient and courteous.
A stay at EAST, Miami is to feel the urban pulse of Miami. This strikingly contemporary upscale hotel blends modern aesthetics with South American flair, and Asian zen, within the sparkling leisure and business hub of Brickell City Center. EAST, Miami captures with the energy of this remarkable city, and with its signature restaurant, Quinta de Huella, immerses guests in a compelling South American dining experience that’s all about the authentic open-fire parrilla and wood-fired oven – and top-quality produce. There are some 350 guest rooms and suites, including fully-equipped residential suites.
Faena Hotel Miami Beach
Located in the Faena District, this luxury hotel overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Its look is that of a theatrical fantasia, covered in gold, red and tiger print and dusted with stunning contemporary art. The service and facility are of high standards. There is a fitness centre, a bar, a pool, a steam room, spa and room service among others. The attendants are hospitable while the food and drinks are outstanding. Master chefs at the Los Fuegos restaurant are there to offer great meals while exceptional cocktails are available at the Saxony Bar. This hotel generally offers value for money and is family-friendly.
The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
This hotel is located at the northern tip of Miami Beach. This 227-room hotel offers unrivalled service and amenities which includes a fitness centre, a bar, child care services and room service among others. The interiors consist of high ceilings, enormous crystal chandeliers and glass walls. The beach villas have their own butler and each villa has its own wet bar, bathroom, dining patio and indoor lounge. There is serves lunch and dinner throughout the week while the Wine Vault and St Regis Bar offer tea, cocktails and evening music events. This hotel offers access for guest with disabilities, it is family-friendly and offers great value for your cash.
The Miami Beach EDITION
This hotel occupies a revived mid-century grand dame along the Atlantic Ocean. The design of this hotel tows the line between restrained modernity and sumptuous mid-century glamour with its sprawling, all-white marble lobby. The service and facility are excellent. Some of the facilities include sauna, laundry, beach, room service and spa. The rooms all maintain their clean lines with some of them having private oceanfront balconies. Bluetooth speakers, as well as data-port connections, are available in every room. Food and drinks are offered by the eminent chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The Matador Room is the place for all the great delicacies.
SLS Brickell Hotel
This spacious and fancy glass tower, located at the centre of Miami’s financial district, comes with fantastical interiors and an impressive trendy art collection. The service is offered by friendly and professional staff and there are plenty of facilities including laundry, sauna and a fitness centre. The rooms are modern and spacious cover in white, pale pink and slate colours. Award-winning chefs provide outstanding meals at Bazaar Mar and Fi’lia restaurants. This hotel is family friendly and offers value for your money.
W South Beach
This hotel occupies an oceanfront space on Collins Avenue and the 22nd Street. It has massive and fun public spaces. The entrance lobby consists of Mongolian fur-covered chairs, huge brass screens, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst artworks on rotation and huge purple leather pouffes among others. The labyrinthine poolscape provides inspired lounging in an exuberant, expansive backyard. In its 408 rooms, there is a more relaxed luxury mood grey and with cool white interiors, chandeliers and mirrored surfaces. Every room has a balcony looking across the beach. There is also a kitchenette, Bliss toiletries, Bose sound system, and a docking station among other amenities. The Dutch and Mr. Chow restaurants offer incredible delicacies, while Living Room provides all the pre-dinner drinks. Wall, on the other hand, is Wall is a hotspot for the late-night revelry.
Kimpton EPIC Miami
This 54-storey tower situated in downtown Miami comes offers sweeping views of the Biscayne Bay and Miami River. It features London transplant Zuma for a fine Japanese dining. On the 16th floor pool deck is chocked with amenities consisting the Exhale Spa and two angular infinity pools. The 411 suites and rooms each has a private balcony, floor-to-ceiling windows, honey-coloured wood furniture and sumptuous bedding.
The 5-star hotel is an excellent choice for a luxury holiday in Miami. Guest rooms and suites offer modern interiors designed in the Hollywood Regency style and feature floor-to-ceiling windows presenting beautiful views across the city or Miami River. The hotel’s 15th-floor is the place to bask in the sunshine, splash in the pool or enjoy a sociable cocktail or two. The hotel’s signature restaurant serves a truly international menu with a backdrop of panoramic Miami views. Hotel guests can also take full advantage of the state-of-the-art fitness centre or indulge in superb spa services at Iconbrickell Spa. The hotels’ convenient location means guests can easily access many of the local Miami attractions too.
Offering villa living within a hotel complex, each of the 37 residences here has at least three bedrooms and a pool. The resort provides guests with a full-service spa, an 18-hole Greg Norman Signature Golf Course, 11 restaurants and bars, tennis courts, children’s activities, babysitting services, water sports and fishing in the neighbouring Grande Lakes. Covering 500 acres, the venue has been inspired by its natural surroundings and provides on-site eco-tours. And for those wanting some adult-only time, there’s a child-free pool area. It’s a relatively new addition to the Orlando hotel scene (and the Ritz-Carlton portfolio), having opened its doors in 2018.
JW Marriott Orlando
Standing tall on the city’s horizon, the JW Marriott is just across from the Ritz-Carlton. A lazy river and family-oriented pool with plenty of sunloungers contrast three peaceful hydrotherapy pools found in the full-service spa (but even this caters to kids with a menu of children’s treatments). There’s a whole retail avenue inside, including shops, a Starbucks and a healthy cafe. Large bedrooms have Revive bedding in soothing colour schemes, coffee makers, iHome docking stations, Aromatherapy Associates toiletries and 65 inch TVs. Farm to table cuisine is served in the many on-site eateries, ranging from fine dining to a sushi bar and poolside grill.
Waldorf Astoria Orlando
If you’d like to stay as close to Disney as possible – but not in one of their themed hotels – this is the place to book. Part of the Bonnet Creek complex, it’s a short drive from the theme parks, yet a beautifully calm oasis to escape the tourist bustle. Featuring local artwork, a Rees Jones-designed golf course, fancy boutiques and a glamorous cocktail bar, it’s deeply refined. However, kids are warmly welcomed too, kept occupied with their own programme of activities and dedicated pool – allowing the adults to enjoy some freshly baked croissants, in-room Nespresso coffee, beauty treatments or even a poolside Prosecco Popsicle.
Four Seasons Orlando
A brand renowned for its culinary offer, this Four Seasons holds up its reputation. Ravello serves fine Mediterranean cuisine alongside fine vintages – as well as hosting a bi-weekly Disney character breakfast. Stay here and you can enjoy the early entry theme park privilege otherwise reserved for Disney’s own on-site hotels. You’ll be transferred via private coach service from this gated community to the four parks. The architecture is reminiscent of Spain, while interior decor echoes contemporary Italian style. Two infinity pools enable families and adults to enjoy some sun-time separately – the child-friendly one has waterslides and a lazy river.
The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
With all of its 266 rooms overlooking the bay, this hotel carries all of the classic elegance and British sensibilities you’d expect from the Ritz-Carlton group. The freeform pool features palm tree islands, thatched pagodas and provides views across the marina (the ideal spot to watch the sun set) and there’s a separate kids pool and club to entertain younger guests. Tennis courts and a Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole golf course are available and there’s a complimentary shuttle to the resort’s Lido Key Beach Club located. All bedrooms and suites at the AAA Four Diamond resort have balconies and are decorated using fine art, and contemporary and vintage furnishings.
Art Ovation Hotel, Autograph Collection
Celebrating all things creative and close to the Ringling College of Art and Design, the Art Ovation Hotel is a unique boutique property. Bedrooms and suites come equipped with sketchbooks, colouring pencils and a ukulele, there’s an Artist’s Studio for makers to work onsite, and an enthralling programme of installations, performances and workshops. Guests also benefit from the use of loaner two beach chairs, coolers, bicycles and kick scooters while staying. The Perspective Rooftop Bar provides views across the city, marina and park with a warming fire pit, while the Overture Restaurant is the place for modern American dining.
The Sarasota Modern, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel
Striking and minimalist, The Sarasota Modern has been inspired by midcentury architecture. With 14 room categories, it caters to a diverse range of guests; from digital nomads (desks with USB ports are provided in each), to honeymooning couples and groups seeking self-catering facilities. It has a playful spirit, with its Wink Wink Modern Lounge and Wink Wink Modern Pool Bar, with the adjoining Tiki pool bar with overhanging palms. Order Polynesian-inspired or vintage-style smoking whisky cocktails. Beach chairs, beach towels, beach blankets and bicycles can be borrowed and there are ping pong tables, deck games and a pool table.
Epicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection Tampa
As the name would suggest, it’s all about the food here. The Epicurean specialises in foodie packages, celebrating its dining venues. Élevage Soho Kitchen and Bar serves dishes inspired by Mediterranean and Asian cooking; Chill Bros Scoop Shop is a gelato paradise; Edge Rooftop Cocktail Lounge offers handcrafted libations with tasty snacks; there’s a theatre dedicated to culinary discovery and sister restaurant Bern’s Steakhouse is across the road. When you’ve had your fill you can book some treatments at Spa Evangeline, swim in the pool and visit the fitness centre. Following the food theme, bedrooms have butcher’s block style furnishings, stocked artisan pantries and some even have a private bar.
Le Méridien Tampa, The Courthouse
As its name reveals, this was once a Federal Courthouse (guests can stay in the ex-judges office or an ex-holding cell), but the century-old building now serves as a most unique hotel; the Four-Diamond rated property is on the National Register of Historic Places. Found Downtown, just across from the theatre, its imposing Grecian style frontage gives way to sophisticated contemporary interiors combined with original features. It has a palm tree flanked pool area, a courtroom-turned brasserie, an espresso bar, 130 bedrooms and offers a free shuttle service. Look out for Le Méridien’s 14 points of discovery while you’re here – each provides a flavour of its past life.
The CURRENT Hotel, Autograph Collection
A coastal resort on the peninsula of the city’s bay area, The Current Hotel has a stunning contemporary rooftop bar (the tallest one in Tampa Bay), with an infinity-like outdoor pool and its own private beach. 171 bedrooms and nine suites have floor to ceiling windows to maximise the panoramic views of the ocean. Plus there are two restaurants, a curated gift shop, an in-house art gallery displaying work by local-award winning artists and a fitness centre on the ninth floor. Part of the Marriott portfolio, The Current is a four-star establishment.
The Westshore Grand
If you’d like to stay somewhere surrounded by a modern Florida style, pick The Westshore Grand for your trip. Take the complimentary airport shuttle to this Tribute Portfolio Hotel — it’s found in the business district and has 325 rooms, as well as a gorgeous ninth-floor rooftop pool with sea views. Guests can fine-dine at the alfresco lounge, or grab a coffee and a light meal in the IIly Cafe. Hotel amenities include a business centre, meeting rooms, a gym, salon services, shoeshine, dry cleaning and express checkout. It’s ideal for those travelling for work but is equally well set up to delight the leisure traveller.