Miami – The Most Luxurious City in America?
If you had to pick one hotel—the hotel—that discerning travelers around the world have been buzzing about lately, it would be Faena. The 169-room property is the flagship of Miami’s new Faena District—a massive development that spans six blocks and cost $1 billion to create. Walking into Faena feels like a religious experience, and perhaps that was intentional: What other hotels call an “entrance” is, in Faena world, referred to as a “cathedral.” Guests are greeted by a 51-footlong red carpet upon entering, and colossal gold-leaf-covered columns run throughout. The Art Deco–inspired specialty suites are equally lavish; there are 111 of them in total, and the best, of course, is the hotel’s namesake Faena Suite, which has four bedrooms and sweeping ocean views.
For those with opulent taste who prefer something intimate, there’s no property more over-the-top than Villa Casa Casuarina, the 10-room beachfront estate on Ocean Drive, formerly known as the Versace Mansion. It’s the place that Gianni Versace—the original king of excess—called home for five years before his death in 1997, and has become a prominent staple of South Beach’s history.
The property sold for $41.5 million in 2013, and its new owners opted to reopen the mansion as a boutique hotel the following year. Everything about it still feels decidedly “Versace,” from the 54-foot swimming pool (lined with 24-karat gold and Italian mosaic tiles) to the hand-painted murals and custom marble bathrooms. Gianni’s former bedroom—now called the Villa Suite— even has a double king-size bed that measures nine feet long. (A standard king, by comparison, is just under seven feet.)
Just six blocks north is the Delano, another landmark Miami property, which has achieved the hotel-industry unthinkable: It’s as cool now as it was in the ’90s. Show up any day of the week, any time of the year, and you’ll find an enduring scene of beautiful people—a self curated mix of locals and out-of-town guests.
But choosing a hotel in the heart of South Beach is no easy task—there are an impressive number of hot properties within a few blocks of one another, like the SLS (known for its rowdy day parties), The Setai (ideal for high-profile travelers who favor privacy over pandemonium) and the 1Hotel, Miami’s new(ish) kid on the block that opened last year. While the hotel was designed to be ecofriendly, there’s nothing visibly tree-hugging about it—save for the keycards, furniture and ceilings, made from reclaimed wood. Its standout feature is the rooftop pool (one of four on the property), where you’ll want to book a private cabana and spend the afternoon lounging. The Miami Beach Edition, Soho Beach House and St. Regis Bal Harbour, further north, are also among the trendier places to stay, and come fall, the area will have new competition: Eden Roc is set to relaunch as the Nobu Hotel at Eden Roc, a restaurant-branded hotel concept that first took off in Las Vegas three years ago. And this summer, The Plymouth reopens in Collins Park, with its iconic art deco grandeur fully restored.