Hotel Cheat Sheet: Insider Secrets On Miami's Hottest New Spots

We're settling into 2012 quite nicely, but it's obvious that here at R29, we can't help but daydream about our next getaway. While most of us aren't flying to Rio for Carnival (we used those precious vacation days for New Year's, ugh), that doesn't mean we're not already sweating Summer Fridays. But hey, the next long weekend (and last one for a while) will be here before you know it, and oh-so-coincidentally, Miami has some brand-new hotels that might make even Brazilians jealous. So, we've gathered up five properties that are worthy of your three-day weekend, whether you're planning a staycation or jetting down from up north. From a posh resort complete with butler service to a hip Ocean Drive aquarium pool (!), these haute hostelries are a guaranteed hold-over 'til your next big break. And, of course, we scored all the insider 411 on each. The best room with a view? Check. The meal that can't be missed? Duh. Just call us your personal concierge.
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Breakwater Hotel

Neighborhood: South Beach, Ocean Drive

940 Ocean Drive (between 9th and 10th streets); 305-532-2362.

Photo: Courtesy of Breakwater Hotel
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Originally built in 1939, this Art Deco gem has resurfaced after a $20-million renovation. With a prime location on Ocean Drive, guests and revelers alike will have a bevy of options for dining and drinking, including NINE, the hotel's Italian bistro, and a more chilled-out option, Ocean's 10.

For direct views of the water, you can always visit the rooftop's sexy Intimissi Lounge. Speaking of rooftops (aren't we always?), the hotel's VIP Penthouse Suite comes with its own private top floor terrace, complete with an elevator just for you. Private party perfection.

The most distinguishing factor of the property is the 40-foot long, aquarium-style pool with direct views of the Atlantic Ocean. But, if all you want is primo laying out time without the coral, then simply cross Ocean Drive and visit the hotel's guest-only beach zone with complimentary lounge services like chairs, drinks, towels, and more.

Still want more? The Breakwater recently launched an app—careful though, it plays Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" upon launching. Don't worry, you can make a reservation after listening once...twice...three times.

Photo: Courtesy of Breakwater Hotel
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Shelborne Hotel

Neighborhood: South Beach, Arts District

1801 Collins Avenue (at 18th Street); 305-531-1271.

Photo: Courtesy of Shelborne Hotel
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The Shelborne made its big debut during Basel with a party featuring dancing drag queens on stilts. Since then it's continued to impress locals and tourists alike with Vesper, its modern American restaurant, the see-and-be-seen Bar Tanaka, and a comfy row of cabanas leading from the pool to the beach. Once you're out there, grab some tacos at their poolside taqueria, Lucy's Cantina Royale. Oh, and they still haven't stopped partying. For their NYE rager, Grammy-Award winning Lauryn Hill performed (and was joined on stage by NAS for an impromptu cameo), while Miami Heat star Lebron "King" James popped the big question to his now fiancee. But perhaps the most endearing part of the property is Studio, the adjacent, divey karaoke bar. Stumble in here after a long night of excess and you never know who'll your find rocking the mic. Or who you'll propose to.

If you're not the blow-out type, indulge in some retail therapy at the in-house fashion boutique, Guy and Girl, which carries a slew of brands we love including We Are Handsone bathing suits, Del Toro shoes, and Tom Ford sunglasses.



Photo: Courtesy of Shelborne Hotel
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St. Regis Hotel

Neighborhood: Bal Harbour

9703 Collins Avenue; 305-993-3300.

Photo: Courtesy of St.Regis Hotel
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Most hotels have a concierge. Some have a 24 hour concierge. The St. Regis has a 24 hour concierge and private butlers. Maybe your new manservant can help you pack for the beach as you spend the day at your cabana. Then again, how much do you need? Your private cabana has its own wet bar, full bath and shower, day bed, and flat screen TV, perfect for spending the day on the white Atlantic sand.

If you were worried re: which room to book, we got you. All 243 rooms have an ocean-front view. But if you're sick of looking at those waves, head down to the ginormous spa, where the attendants dole out champagne and chocolate like it's, well, water, then take your pampered self shopping—you're staying directly across from the world-famous Bal Harbour Shops.

Photo: Courtesy of St.Regis Hotel
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Surfcomber Hotel

Neighborhood: South Beach, Arts District

1717 Collins Avenue, 305-532-7715. Photo: Courtesy of Surfcomber Hotel
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The Surfcomber is part of the world renowned Kimpton family of hotels, so you should expect an approachable, friendly ambience. Even your four-legged friend is welcome here. Just don't bring Fido to the daily complimentary wine hour.

Pet lovers aside, if you're actually traveling for business, we suggest you book this baby. Seriously. The hotel can hold your business meetings on the beach. This is Miami, where mixing business and pleasure is always the norm.

One more reason to like the Surfcomber? The Lantao. This lounge and club serves a menu of Asian street food and strong cocktails. Come on, you weren't planning on having Cuban food all day were you?

Photo: Courtesy of Surfcomber Hotel
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Impala Hotel

Neighborhood: South Beach, Collins Avenue

1228 Collins Avenue; 305-673-2021

This 1931 Art Deco space continues to thrive. Its latest incarnation is slated to open its doors at the end of this month. But we're putting it on your radar now, because it's sure to fill up quickly. The new 17 room boutique hotel is owned by the Santini family from Corsica, so naturally a Mediterranean influence will be seen throughout the property. A very glam one. Indeed, a mural of Empress Theodora designed by fashion designer Christian Lacroix greets guests in the lobby. As does an Italian floor mosaic of the sun that was originally intended for the Versace Mansion, but was instead gifted to the Impala by the late Gianni Versace.

The Impala is also an eco-friendly destination. One example is their use of eucalyptus sheets. Did you know eucalyptus sheets require less water and are hypoallergenic? Now you do.

Photo: Courtesy of Impala Hotel
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