Marathon Key for Boat Lovers
Best For Boat lovers among the price-is-right crowd. Sleep Dock your boat by Coral Lagoon’s two-story villa units. Painted in cheery pastels and corralled by white picket fences and purple bougainvillea, these marina homes have big porches whose waterfront views and rocking chairs encourage conversations that start something like this: “Did you catch the big one yet?”
Eat Modern kitchens and dining areas allow for cooking in. On your night out, head to Butterfly Café for crab cakes with Key-lime mustard—and sunsets.
Play Meet Flipper’s relatives at the Dolphin Research Center. Book a swim with one of them, or watch the sea mammals perform high-flying leaps. No Boat? Capt. Pip’s Marina rents powerboats. You’ll also find rods and reels and snorkel masks and fins. Explore the Seven Mile Bridge and Bahia Honda State Park by boat. Game fishing in the Atlantic Ocean turns up marlin and sailfish, while Florida Bay’s flats and backcountry teem with bonefish, tarpon and permit.
Miami Beach for Spa Seekers
Best For Spa-minded individuals.
Sleep and Play The Fontainebleau. At the Lapis Spa each treatment starts with a mineral-enriched Water Journey: Sink into a warm pool replete with massaging jets; then lie on a bench beneath an overhead rain shower.
High-End South Beach
Best For SoBe splurgers. The Setai’s luxuriously minimalist Asian retreat has all the style, tranquility and over-the-top service you’ll ever want. Another World Leaving behind the bright and crowded city streets as you enter the hotel’s serenely low-lit lobby is like crossing a portal to the other side of the planet. You’ll sink into a cool leather chair with a mint tea in hand and never have to suffer the indignity of a formal desk-side check-in.
Relax Three gorgeous pools glisten one after the other as you walk toward the beach, each one getting cooler in temperature. Choose your idyllic degree and lay back on plush double lounges to enjoy the cold lemongrass towel that appears instantaneously at your side.
Pamper Breathe in the calming scent of warm ginger oil during your ancient Balinese massage and come back to consciousness as you enjoy the view of the ocean from the spa. Stepping Out Just in case you’ve forgotten, you are in the middle of South Beach! Walk to Lincoln Road to mingle with the fashionable café crowd, or catch a performance at the Fillmore Theater.
Sleep The rooms are a perfect extension of the Asian aesthetic with a black granite bathtub, dark teak floors and fading lights. The only bright color you’ll see is on the fresh oranges placed decoratively throughout the hotel—a reminder of the Florida location.
Eat Find handmade truffles, Taittinger champagne and an espresso machine in your room.
Hip South Beach
Best For The scene seeker.
Sleep Bentley Hotel South of Fifth Street (SoFi), the southern end of South Beach, is percolating.
Eat From your hotel, walk to Joe’s Stone Crab to dine on the freshest seafood Florida has to offer. Don’t miss stone crab season from October through May.
Glitzy South Beach
Best For The young hip crowd.
Sleep Delano. This benchmark hotel is where the SoBe glitzy scene all began. The lobby’s iconic white, floor-length drapes merge with hot Philippe Starck furnishings.
Eat Drink mango martinis at the Rose Bar, and dine on sushi & sashimi at Umi Sushi Sake Bar.
Art-Deco South Beach
Best For The true Floridian.
Sleep The Raleigh. Back in 1947 Life magazine referred to the art-deco pool here as “the most beautiful in America.” It’s the reason to stay at this famous Collins Avenue hotel where nostalgia meets hip.
Key Largo for Divers
Best For If you love to dive, this is the place. Jump in with both flippers with Quiescence divers. Six at a time, you’ll explore the outfit’s “signature” reef locations, which have been scouted over the past 33 years.
Sleep Stay at the romantic Kona Kai Resort, where you can pluck Key limes from a botanical garden.
New Hot Spot in Miami
Best For The luxury seeker.
Sleep JW Marriott Marquis Miami. Find pure luxury at this downtown property that screams Miami: sexy, sleek and urban.
Play An indoor golf school with views of Biscayne Bay wows. Above this newbie on the 39th floor is the very private sister property, Hotel Beaux Arts.
New Hot Spot in South Beach
Best For SoBe hipster.
Sleep Breakwater South Beach. SoBe hipsters will love the swanky rooftop pool and sophisticated simplicity of the rooms. Its Ocean Drive location puts it in the center of the action and steps from the bikini-clad beach.
Miami Film Festival (March)
Best For Film fanatics. When the film industry’s most progressive talent meets in Miami, the red carpets roll out for these filmmakers, directors and actors. Spanish- and Portuguese-language films dominate the scene.
Sleep Book a room with views of Biscayne Bay at the sleek 70-story Four Seasons in downtown for easy access to all the festival events.
South Beach Wine & Food Festival (February)
Best For Foodies. It’s the ultimate food and wine fest in Florida. You can expect cooking demos all day and nightly parties hosted by celebrity chefs.
Sleep Head up Collins Avenue to the Eden Roc Renaissance, fresh off a million-dollar redo.
Coconut Grove Arts Festival (February)
Best For Art enthusiasts.This huge display of art—wood, glass, paintings, digital art, watercolor—takes over the Grove’s banyan-tree-filled streets.
Sleep Find refuge from the crowds at the Mayfair Hotel’s rooftop bar with a Double 007. End your full day with a soak in your room’s Japanese hot tub on the very private balcony. Feb. 17-19.
Coconut Grove Arts Festival
Laid-Back Key West
Best For Love Key West’s laid-back vibe but still want high-end luxury?
Sleep The Casa Marina Resort sits just far enough away from the cacophony of Duval Street and draws a European crowd and fashionable New Yorkers.
Play Hit the beach, with its wooden docks and sandy shore studded with palm trees for hanging hammocks, and you won’t move for the rest of the day.
Ft. Lauderdale Favorite
Best For Ocean gazers.
Sleep Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale. With 10 Ritz-Carltons in Florida, it’s hard to decide which we like best, but the one across from Fort Lauderdale’s beach is a favorite. Book a corner room with a wraparound veranda for private sunbathing and views of the Atlantic.
Eat Be sure to dine at the waterfront Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits for an epic meal focused on modern-coastal fare and craft cocktails.
Miami Beach Shopping
Best For Shopaholics. It may be a double whammy for the pocketbook, but combining a shopping spree at Bal Harbour Shops with a stay at The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, where Couture Concierge Service takes personalized shopping to the next level, is heaven.
Sleep Pair designer collections with a state-of-the-art hotel room.
Worth Avenue, Palm Beach
Best For Big spenders. Fresh off a stunning renovation, Worth Avenue sparkles just like the diamonds in the windows at Tiffany & Co. on this elite shopping stretch.
Sleep At the Brazilian Court where you’ll find Jacuzzis super deep and mattresses extra thick.
Eat Lunch on poached salmon at Ta-Boo.