Miami: Sleep

By , Monday, Dec 5, 2005, 3:57 PM


Gables Inn
730 S. Dixie Hwy., 305/661-7999,
A comfortable Mediterranean-style motel with arched, deep-ocher walkways and marble-tile floors. The downside: The highway location can make it noisy, so bring earplugs if you're a light sleeper. Doubles from $68.


Holiday Inn Port of Miami Downtown
340 Biscayne Blvd., 305/371-4400 or 800/526-5655,
Recently renovated, with a nice view of the Port of Miami. Large, light rooms and easy access to public transportation. Outdoor pool. Kids eat free. Doubles from $109.


Miami River Inn
118 SW S. River Dr., 305/325-0045 or 800/468-3589,
An offbeat charmer with 40 guest rooms in a cluster of cottages around a courtyard and small pool. Rooms have hardwood floors and antique beds and dressers. "Well-behaved" pets welcome. Doubles from $69 in summer, $89 in winter.


Aqua Hotel
1530 Collins Ave., 305/538-4361,
Funky motel conversion a block from the beach with spartan-chic rooms (concrete floors, modern furniture) overlooking a courtyard. The private sundeck makes a terrific (and quiet) sunbathing spot. Doubles from $99 in summer, $150 in winter.


Hotel Astor
956 Washington Ave., 305/531-8081 or 800/270-4981,
The beige rooms are huge for an old deco hotel, with nice touches like TVs on swivel poles and rain-head showers. The staff is reliably friendly. It's a two-block walk to the beach. Doubles from $125 in summer, $190 in winter.


Royal South Beach Condo Hotel
758 Washington Ave., 305/673-9009 or 888/394-6835,
A funky bargain with a candy-colored lobby and futuristic accents. White rooms have injection-molded plastic bed frames, curvy chaise lounges, and other Jetsons-style furniture. Every room has a microwave, coffeemaker, and free toothpaste. The beach is two blocks away. Doubles from $89.


South Beach Plaza Villas
1411 Collins Ave., 305/531-1331,
A shady group of buildings crowded together and outfitted with dark-wood furniture and handsome, tone-on-tone fabrics. One of the best low-cost options near the water, with a lush tropical courtyard just a half-block off the beach. Doubles from $129.


The Standard 40 Island Ave., 305/673-1717,
A scene-y hotel on South Beach's western side, 10 blocks from the beach. There's a sumptuous spa with Turkish baths, waterfall hot tubs, nude mud baths, and an on-site yoga center. Rooms are small and basic. Doubles from $150, opens Oct. 2005.


150 20th St., 305/534-3800 or 877/534-3800,
The best boutique hotel near the beach, with an attentive, laid-back staff; small, beautifully minimalist rooms; and an inviting roof deck with crimson water beds for sunbathing. A two-minute walk to the water. Doubles from $135.

Appreciating Art Deco

Miami is famous for its art deco architecture, especially the hotels that dominate South Beach's skyline. Deco comes in different styles that are easy to spot.


  • Art deco boasts bas-relief murals, neon lights, "eyebrows" (3-D concrete shades) above the windows, and details designed to look like ships, right down to their porthole-shaped windows.

  • Depression moderne is less ornamental, and most of its decorations are on the interior. A prime example is the Miami Beach Post Office building at 1300 Washington Ave.

  • Streamline moderne is marked by rounded-off corners and curves that make buildings seem to move.

  • To learn more, take one of the walking tours run by the MDPL (see the Essentials page).