Our comprehensive Ocean Drive Hotels Guide includes a brief geography lesson to acquaint first time Miami Beach visitors to the area, and we also include a survey of hotel options at every price point from budget to luxury.
For First Time Visitors
Miami and Miami Beach are actually two separate cities connected by a series of causeways crossing Biscayne Bay. Visitors to the area can choose from a variety of hotels in the city or beachfront locations.
Miami Beach offers a long stretch of hotels facing the Atlantic Ocean from the trendy shores of South Beach (1-24 Streets) to the more sedate and residential Mid-Beach (25-63 Streets).
Vacations away from the beach in Downtown Miami provide direct access to the Port of Miami cruise ships, the business and financial districts and the urban centers of Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and the performing arts and design districts.
South Beach hotels are by far the most popular because of the large number of top restaurants and bars located in the central, tourist-friendly Art Deco historic district between 1-23 Streets on the ocean side of the island. Ocean Drive encompasses 1-15 Streets on the Atlantic shoreline and features a variety of new and restored hotels offering accommodations from modest to luxurious. An Ocean Drive hotel is within walking distance to most major nightclubs, fine and casual dining and the popular shopping promenade of Lincoln Road Mall.
Collins Avenue (A1A) runs the full length of Miami Beach along the eastern seaboard with smaller hotels at the south end and larger resorts running along the beach from 16-63 Streets. Hotels with an address ending in an odd number higher than 1601 are located directly on the ocean. Even numbered addresses are across the street from the sea. Any hotel on Collins Avenue from 1-23 Street provides easy access to the major attractions of South Beach on foot or via the South Beach Local shuttle bus service which costs just 25 cents.
Washington Avenue is the commercial heart of South Beach and runs between 1-21 Streets. Home to restaurants, bars and the nightclub district, the northern end of Washington Avenue at 17 Street is the performing arts district where you will find the symphony’s brand new City Center designed by Frank Gehry, the Fillmore Miami Beach Theater and the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Downtown Miami is just 20 minutes away from Miami Beach and the ocean. Most of the popular Downtown hotels are located on Biscayne Boulevard (US-1) and Brickell Avenue.
Hotels from Modest to Mid-Range to Mega-Resorts
Hotel options on Miami Beach can be simple and spartan or sumptuous and sublime. Finding the property that suits your budget and lifestyle can be overwhelming. At the modest end of the travel spectrum, guests can expect smaller restored properties with clean rooms and few amenities. At mid-range, rooms may include kitchenettes or lounge areas and a small pool or gym facility on site. Larger resorts often include direct beach access, attended pools with drink service, restaurants and bars catering room service and a luxurious spa and fitness facilities.
Popular low cost hotels along Ocean Drive may lack luxuries but definitely offer prime locations. Less expensive hotels on Ocean Drive include the Pelican, the Penguin, WinterHaven, the Century and the Colony. Mid-range hotels on Ocean Drive like the Savoy and Park Central Hotel add in simple luxuries like swimming pools and restaurants plus family-friendly suites. Larger hotels on Ocean Drive have even more resort quality amenities including the Hotel Victor, the Hilton Bentley Beach Hotel, the Marriott South Beach, the Tides, the Betsy and the Z Ocean Hotel. The Savoy, Hilton Bentley Beach Hotel and Marriott are all directly on the ocean. All the remaining properties are just across the street from the beach.
Staying on Collins Avenue from 1-15 streets is very affordable at the Aqua Hotel, the Kent Hotel, the Beach Plaza Hotel and the Carlton Hotel. Just one block from the beach, these properties are in the heart of the South Beach scene. Just north of 15 Street, Collins Avenue offers beach front properties that cost a bit more but add on amenities like pool and beach clubs. The Catalina, the Richmond, and the James/Royal Palm are good mid-range choices on Collins Avenue with direct beach access. At the top of the range of beach resorts on Collins Avenue in South Beach, the Ritz-Carlton, Loews, W Hotel and The Perry are popular seaside choices with pools, spas and fine dining.
The northern part of Collins Avenue called Mid-Beach features a number of top quality family-friendly resorts that are a short distance by bus or taxi to the attractions of South Beach. These properties have plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the beach, pool, spa and fitness facilities which makes it possible to check in and remain on site for the duration of a very relaxing vacation. The Grand Beach Hotel is the newest all-suite property at 48 Street on Collins Avenue. The newly renovated Eden Roc Renaissance is a Marriott property at 45th Street and Collins and the Fontainebleau Resort and Spa at 44th and Collins is the largest and most opulent of the hotels currently operating on Miami Beach.
If you are visiting South Florida and do not want to be near the beach, Downtown Miami hotels are close to the Port of Miami, the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the Design District and the cities of Coconut Grove and Coral Gables. Visitors can easily visit beachfront communities like Key Biscayne, the campus of the University of Miami and historic districts like Little Havana.
In Downtown Miami, lower-priced hotels include the Hyatt Regency, the Holiday Inn Port of Miami and the Hotel Urbano. Mid-priced hotels like the Epic and the Intercontinental are close to the Brickell Avenue Financial District. Luxury properties include the Viceroy, the Four Seasons, and the Mandarin Oriental. Downtown Miami hotels are about 20 minutes away from South Beach or the Miami International Airport by taxi.