One of only two hotels right on Biscayne Bay (the other is the Standard), rooms at Mondrian South Beach are coveted by guests wanting a stellar view. Designed by Dutchman Marcel Wanders, the hotel's decor is intended to evoke a sense that one is floating around in an underwater world, and the property is described as an homage to Sleeping Beauty’s castle. The slightly whimsical and slightly creepy mermaidlike woman whose face appears on walls throughout the hotel is the “keeper” of this “castle,” where incongruous elements—traditional blue-and-white Dutch porcelain juxtaposed with busy black-and-white patterned wallpaper, say—somehow work in odd, unexpected harmony. Everything about the hotel feels spacious, including oversized rooms, many of which are flooded with sunlight and enjoy bay views.
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West Avenue isn't Collins Avenue, meaning that guests at Mondrian South Beach can't just wander out of the hotel and cross the street to find more action, but that's ok—the hotel is its own hub of activity. For guests who want to check out other restaurants, nightclubs, and neighborhoods—such as Wynwood, the heart of Miami's edgy street art scene—it's easy to call a cab or request a ride with Uber, the car service that launched its Miami branch in the summer of 2014. The popular South Beach scene is also a short ride away.
Need to Know
Rooms: 206 rooms (the number fluctuates slightly because the hotel includes varying numbers of residential units in its room pool); from $329. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The not-so-creatively-named Restaurant is a modern American brasserie that also serves sushi; the menu is as international and sophisticated as the hotel's clientele. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served here, either at the 20-foot communal table indoors or at the open-air dining room. Sunset Lounge, meanwhile, is a luxurious living room dragged outdoors. Set right on the bay, it's crowded in the evenings as guests and visitors wait to watch the sun slip below the horizon, usually with a special house cocktail in hand. Spa and gym details: On-site spa Agua is a shimmering silver-and-white cocoon; all the usual services—from manicures to massages—are offered in its six treatment rooms. The bayside views of the 24-hour gym make working out easier, though many guests prefer to take advantage of the complimentary bikes and enjoy open-air exercise.
Who it's for: Design-savvy travelers; lovers of whimsy. Our favorite rooms: Mondrian's two-bedroom suites have their own balcony and a kitchen area that even has a stovetop and oven. Pucker up:Check out the hotel's “Kissing Garden,” which is always open for wandering through, but can also be reserved for romantic dinners.