miami Travel Guide
There's no shortage of hotel options in Miami these days but the newly-opened b2 miami downtown, across from the Bayfront Park and less than a 10-minute walk away from the American Airlines Arena, is one hotel that won't break the bank.
All 243 rooms at the b2 miami downtown offer either city or bay views and feature modern furnishings and amenities such as the B-branded Blissful Bed, interactive HD LED TVs with web capabilities, built-in docking stations with USB port and MicroSD cords and Aveda bath amenities. And don't forget the free WiFi!
The b2 hotel is the second hotel from B Hotels and Resorts. The first B Hotel opened two years ago in Fort Lauderdale while The B Hotel Disney World will open this Fall. b2, however, is the more affordable B brand, promising guests all the signature services of a B Hotel like free WiFi, in-room dining, mood-lighting and more but at more affordable prices.
This b2 also features a new eatery from restauranteur Jeffrey Chodorow of China Grill Management called Biscayne Tavern. The spot is now serving up "the next evolution of comfort food" such as grass-fed beef burgers, oyster po-boys, short-rib pot roast and truffle popovers. (Don't fret, vegetarians. The menus has array of salads and pastas too.
We found a Chic City King for tomorrow night with free parking (normally $25) for just $128.15. Un-B-lievable! Perhaps we can trust this B after all.
Somfh. Yup, we are dropping expletives, cuz we're crazy perplexed at this new breed of twentysomethin' Hollywood Brat Packers. They all seem hella intent in being filmed with “suspicious looking cigarettes” in hand. And again, we don't judge their downtime habits, we just get tired of the damage control they feel they need to go through, when they could just say "screw it, this is what I do." Certainly worked for Willie Nelson, Snoop, Woody Harrelson and plenty of other up-front chronic smokers.
Anyhoo, our latest offender/denier would be Blondie-in-training Miley Cyrus, who decided the perfect place to light up a spliff-like cigar, would be the balcony of her Miami hotel.
Now, do celebs smoke outside because they fear a hotel's $200 in-room smoking fee? BTW, that's us being smartasses.
See, they light up these big ‘ole "cigarettes", knowing the papps are watching, then have pictures like these show up...
The Pestana South Beach Art Deco Hotel opened this morning in Miami where the old Hotel Milejan used to be (don't we sound like your grandparents?), becoming the first Portuguese-owned hotel to open in the States. The property offers 97 rooms and suites throughout four historically preserved Art Deco buildings, a retro cafe (see photo below) and a pool bar set on a 1940’s inspired patio with an outdoor pool (see above).
Pestana picked South Beach for the location of its initial US property because of the area's existing reputation and popularity among its current clients in Europe and South America.
“North America is a very attractive and strategic market for the Group Pestana. This is our first investment in this market and Miami is a natural starting point because it is a gateway for Europe and South America where our brand is quite strong,” said José Roquette, Pestana’s development director for the North American market.
The other week, The Aloft Miami Doral opened just east of the Miami International Airport. With rates starting at about $169 the first weekend of April, or $229 if you need a room tonight, the spin-off brand of W Hotels brings a (somewhat) affordable option to the area. It also brings funky design, free WiFi and a pleasant lobby scene for folks tired of the same ho-hum highway and roadside inn options.
But if you're worried this Aloft might be too far away from the South Beach action, don't fret too much. Another Aloft Hotel is opening in Lower Brickell on May 16. This Aloft will look like other Alofts with a w xyz bar, a re:mix lobby lounge, a 24/7 pantry, an outdoor pool and free onsite parking. But it's just steps away from the American Airlines Arena and the Miami Marlins Ballpark. Reservations are not open now, but we're gonna guess room rates will be close to $200-$250 a night.
But if that still isn't good enough for you, again, don't fret. A third Aloft hotel is expected to open by the end of 2014, this time in Miami Beach proper.
...Miami's Epic Hotel!
When this Kimpton hotel does a pool party--they do it up right, as you can see. Last night, this benefit party, called "A Sound for All The Senses" was for a cause--to support The Starkey Hearing Foundation. The DJ of the night was none other than "That Deaf Dj", aka Robbie Wilde. Wilde, who's been playing clubs for more than a decade, has been 90% deaf since age 11. He didn't let his disability detract him from his love of music, and he has soared to, well, epic heights in the DJ world.
Apparently his music not only inspires people to get on the dance floor, but groove in the pool as well.
So we say "Salute!" to Wilde and his wild, funky style! Looking for a place to party this weekend? Check out the Epic!
SLS Hotels are really feeling Miami these days. Almost a year after opening the SLS South Beach and just a few months after snapping up The Raleigh, the boutique hotel chain from sbe and Sam Nazarian has just announced a third hotel for the area--SLS Brickell, an up and coming nabe in downtown. And this one is gonna have residences attached, thanks to a partnership with the Related Group development company.
Ground-breaking is expected to happen soon on the property and will yield 133 hotel rooms and suites, along with 450 SLS-branded condo residences. The spot will open sometime in 2015.
SLS usual design and food partners, Philippe Starck and Chef José Andrés, will also be on board to round out the retail, spa, and food and beverage concepts. In total, SLS Brickell will house over 20,000-sq.ft. of food and beverage outlets, all programmed by Andrés, mixed in with some of sbe's well-known concepts (Katsuya, Hyde) and a few new "experiences."
Singapore-based GHM hotels oversees some pretty cool properties (the elephant-themed Chedi Club outside of Ubud, Bali is a particular favorite), and The Setai has long been considered the brand's flagship. It's a serene, Asian-inspired sanctuary amid the hub-bub of Miami's South Beach. (Side note: Did you know the word "Setai" is actually a made-up combo of the Balinese words for "south" and "beach", or SoBe? It's the Brangelina of hotel names...)
So as fans, it was with some trepidation we took the news that The Setai had left the GHM roster for the management of Dallas-based Trevi Luxury Hospitality Group. (Especially given the way it all went down.) With all the hotel buzz in Miami—including the arrival of instant-hotspot The James—was The Setai looking to pump up the volume? Were DJs going to appear in its mellow courtyard—or worse, would it make like its neighbors and start charging for beach chairs?
Seems like this is the week for Miami, as the southern city rolls out more hotel news. This time we’re told a new kid on the block wants to play with the big dogs. It’s called the b2 hotel, a new concept hotel from B Hotels & Resorts.
We have to remember not everyone wants to be beachside when visiting Miami, so this Downtown property, which opens in March, is of interest, especially to those who want to be in proximity to Biscayne Bay, the Port of Miami and the American Airlines Arena. Reservations opened yesterday for the 243-room hotel, which will court guests with its Blissful Bed (anyone ever slept on one of these?), free WiFi, and in-room Smart HD LED interactive televisions.
B2 will also feature a new restaurant from Jeffrey Chodorow of China Grill Management. Called Biscayne Tavern, the casual resto will have over 30 craft beers available that will go along with dishes like Oyster Po-Boys and short rib pot roast with truffle popovers. Special introductory offers will give up to 25% off on the best available rate for stays from March 1 through September 30, 2013.
So far, we've reviewed two of the hotels featured in our "6 Miami Hotels Under $200" guide. And while we enjoyed our time at Cadet Hotel slightly more than Clinton South Beach, we also got to take a look at the new Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Brickell, a simple but tasteful mid-range joint right in the heart of downtown Miami.
Hampton Inn & Suites officially opened in October 2011, but it's still making waves as the city's first LEED-certified hotel, and ranks pretty high on TripAdvisor. And though there about a billion eco-friendly reasons to like the hotel (35,000 gallon rainwater cistern, electric vehicle charging stations, low-flow water fixtures, biodegradable cups and plates), what we found most appealing was the hotel's cool art collection (see above) and its efficient use of space.
Check-in: The hotel is incredibly easy to get to. Though it's not recommended, we relied solely on public transportation getting there from Miami Airport, and we walked from the Brickell Metromover station to the hotel in two minutes.
After showing up around 7pm, the hotel was helpful, professional, and very welcoming. As usual, we made sure to request a high-up floor, and the Front Desk clerk offered room 1405, a Standard King near the top of the building. And after informing us about the complimentary breakfast the next morning (wahoo!), they handed over our key and sent us on our way.
After the recent craziness that was Art Basel, we're guessing you're in one of two boats: either you were there, and can confidently say you've gotten Miami out of your system for a while, or all the stories about Jay-Z and Beyonce sipping champagne in galleries and dining at Soho Beach Club have inspired you to do a little beachside cavorting of your own.
In which case, we're here to help you save a little dough. With Miami's peak season just beginning, rates tend to skyrocket from now through April. But it's not all bad news: here are a few decent hotels with peak season rooms for under $200...
1. Cadet Hotel—We've already sung this hotel's praises after our recent stay there last month. With the hotel's classic style, gorgeous courtyard pool area (with decent WiFi!), and cute attention to detail (the lavender sprigs in the curtains made a great first impression), it's no wonder why this place goes straight to the top of our list. Be sure to ask for a corner room at the end of the hall, as those are the quietest and most peaceful. Rates from $170.
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Whether you're driving into Miami or sailing out of it on a cruise ship, keep your eye to the skyline at night as the InterContinental Miami just celebrated the completion of a $30 million dollar renovation (remember those Venus Williams-designed suites?) by introducing a new light show on its two main facades.
The 19-story LED show has several scenes; it varies from spelling out "WELCOME TO MIAMI" letter-by-letter to a lava flow to a dancing girl (video below). No music will accompany the dancing girl, but playing songs like "Lights" by Ellie Goulding and "Miami" by Will Smith sync extremely well.
Entourage star Jeremy Piven did the honors of turning the lights on, but it was really a night to celebrate Warhol contemporaries Ultra Violet (a painter/sculptor) and Patrick McMullan (the famed photographer), both of whom contributed their creative juice to the lobby of the hotel.
Click through to see our video!
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You know those instances when you're in a hotel and you have some simple questions about the area you're staying in, but don't feel like dealing with some peppy concierge who's just going to draw a bunch of lines and circles on a paper map and regurgitate the same tired, old recommendations?
Well, here's one nifty thing about staying at the InterCon Miami. The newly-refreshed hotel has installed an arsenal of giant touch screen coffee tables in the lobby that provide guests with a fun, user-friendly way to plan local outings, make restaurant reservations, or even book an appointment at the spa.
If you want, you can even use the screens to order a cocktail without having to walk over to the bar!
Yes, technically, that's what waiters are for. But this is 2012, and giant touch screens are just so much more fun.