There are many good hotels in Miami. If you are coming to Miami for the first time and you want just to relax and lie on the beach, you should stay in Miami Beach to see “that same Miami”. Miami Beach is a city (a part of large Miami), located on the island, the eastern part of which looks to the Atlantic Ocean, and the western part looks to the Biscayne Bay. The bay separates the island Miami Beach and Miami itself with its downtown.
If you want to stay in the downtown of Miami, you will probably need to rent a car to get anywhere else, the beach for example. The best downtown Miami hotels are Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, Epic Hotel, Viceroy. Make choice of the basis of luxury level, reviews and your budget.
If you look at the map of Miami Beach, you will see the horizontal streets and vertical avenues. It is very easy to orientate. The area below the 5th street is called the South of Fifth, it is the most southern part of South Beach. This area is quieter, there are few hotels and people on the beaches. At the southern end of the island a large park and marina and located, there are enough bars and restaurants, all clubs and entertainment cites are near at hand.
You will feel the whole zest of South Beach between the 5th and 23rd streets. Hotels for every taste and budget are concentrated mainly along the ocean, from luxury ones only Mondrian looks out to the bay. There is no concept of “first / second line” in Miami, all beaches are municipal here. The advantages of staying at the hotel on the coast are sun beds, umbrellas and waiters on the beach (though not always, check the information on amenities). There are no bars and restaurants located right on the sand (except Nikki Beach, but it’s not even a hotel), so waiters will bring you anything you want from the hotel bar.
Most of the hotels located on Ocean Drive (in general between the 5th and 15th streets) are rather old, with small rooms, well or poorly renovated – for example, Cardozo. An exception may be The Tides and limitedly open The Villa By Barton G. (Versace mansion in the past). However, the area is very atmospheric, everywhere you can walk or rent bikes at numerous stations DecoBike. Outside of the hotels the streets are noisy day and night, especially crowded during national holidays, student holidays or local festivals.
In the area between 16th and 18th street you will find new hotels of higher class as well as Collins avenue, Ritz-Carlton, Delano, Sagamore. This part is also famous for local promenade, Lincoln Road. The class and quality of hotels are gradually increasing as we move to the north, with the noise of South Beach subsiding. You certainly should see much-vaunted Setai and popular Gansevoort here.
You will definitely need a car if you stay above the 24th street. Everything seems to be near at hand, but it is hard to go on foot somewhere in Miami heat. Generally, Miami luxury hotels of this area will be suitable for those who seek for quality and appropriate star rating, as well as for those who do not want to stay on the noisy South Beach. Another hotel cluster is located in the area of the 40th street: the famous Fontainebleau, which you may not even leave, as everything is provided there, the Eden Roc…
The principle seems to be clear. Read reviews, consider ratings and take a look in Google Maps. Haggle and offer your price on Priceline. A good alternative to hotels is renting an apartment.