W South Beach is a bit of an anomaly in the neighborhood—a sleek, glassy new shape soaring up and above the surrounding art deco–era hotels whose growth and exterior design are limited by historic landmark regulations. One of the benefits the W’s newness extends to guests is its unusual spaciousness; rooms here are huge, and all of them face the ocean. The hotel's common spaces include the lobby and the Living Room bar, featuring incredibly high ceilings, tall and wide walls, and a rotating selection of large-scale contemporary art pieces (most from the collection of the hotel owner). Generally calm during the day, the character of the hotel changes considerably at night, when the haute and hip descend upon Wall, the hotel's nightclub.
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W South Beach is massive enough to be its own mini-neighborhood, drawing many visitors to its restaurants, bar, and nightclub. But for those who tire of the scene or just want a change of pace, the hotel is perfectly positioned for quick access to major cultural institutions, including the Miami City Ballet and the Bass Museum of Art, which are directly across the street and take two minutes to reach on foot. There's also the beach, of course, and the hotel has its own private stretch of sand. The neighborhood can also be explored on two wheels; the W South Beach provides complimentary bikes to its guests.
Need to Know
Rooms: 349 rooms (the number fluctuates because of the room pool), 118 of which are suites; from $450. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The very upscale Mr. Chow is open daily for dinner. The other on-site restaurant is the Dutch, which often collaborates with the hotel to run special offers, such as a basket of ingredients selected by chef Andrew Carmellini that guests in full-kitchen suites can use to cook their own meal. Spa and gym details: As with all W Hotels, W South Beach has a Bliss Spa on-site. The 7,000-square-foot spa offers a full range of services and an outdoor terrace that overlooks Collins Avenue. Couples who want simultaneous treatments can arrange for services in their rooms. In addition to a gym that features Technogym equipment, guests can work out at SWING and HOOPS—the outdoor tennis and basketball courts—or swim in the pool, which is ringed by nine cabanas.
Who it's for: Travelers who want beachfront rooms, easy access to a gorgeous crescent of sand, and proximity to nightclubs and arts venues. Our favorite rooms: It costs a pretty penny, but room 1728, one of the appropriately-named “e-wow” rooms, has three bedrooms, a media room, and a massive living room with floor-to-ceiling windows and a gorgeous view of the beach. Insider service: W “Insiders” take concierge service to extraordinary heights, indulging guests' every whim with their “Whatever, Whenever” policy. One of the South Beach W Insiders has even used GPS to locate a guest's boat in the ocean so limes could be delivered for margaritas.