Historic Bed & Breakfast Hotels

By Jen Karetnick

Tour a handful of historic homes-turned-hotel accommodations in Miami.

If you prefer to rest your head at night somewhere that feels more like your own home — or someone else’s home — when traveling in an unfamiliar city, then read on for some of Miami’s bed and breakfast style inns.

Breathe Inn the River

Miami River Inn calls itself “Miami’s Only Bed & Breakfast... Fresh Squeezed Paradise Since 1910.” While the first part of that slogan is no longer really true, there are a few bed-and-breakfasts scattered throughout the city, the inn is the city’s oldest and most revered for guests who prefer low-key, personalized service.

Constructed between 1906-1910, the inn’s four cottages, featuring original hardwood floors and brass, wood and wicker antiques and period pieces throughout, were restored during Miami’s Renaissance in the late 1980s. Today, much like the Art Deco Historic District in South Beach another revitalized hotel neighborhood, it holds a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Forty individually decorated rooms offer a few options, including porches on the first floor that open on the sumptuous tropical garden (best during the winter) or, on the higher floors, views of the Miami River and Flagler Street’s Downtown Miami Shopping District, anchored by Macy’s

Enjoy an early morning, lazy afternoon or glass of complimentary wine at dusk watching the barges and boats—and the occasional manatee and great blue heron—navigate the Miami River. Nearby eat local Caribbean food like conch fritters, stone crab claws and grilled fish, at Garcia’s Seafood Grill & Market a Miami River mainstay.

Breakfast is served in the garden. Kids can rush and gobble the freshly baked gourmet goods and fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice then burn off energy with a jump in the pool or Jacuzzi or round on the cropped croquet green.

Absorb History Via Architecture

Welcome to Casa Carby, a historic home built circa 1924 on NE 72 Street just blocks away from Biscayne Bay. The area is sometimes referred to as the Upper East Side, or the MiMo District but the formal name for this particular section is the Bayside Historic District. 

Students of architecture will appreciate the Mediterranean Revival structure of Casa Carby as well as the surrounding in Art Deco, Frame Vernacular (bungalows), Mission Revival and Streamline Moderne styles and fans of homey hospitality and a beautiful, luxurious space attended to by a private chef, pastry chef, cleaning staff and two hosts who live on the premises will find the perfect serene spot at Casa Carby. 

This bed and breakfast and private home hybrid has both the amenities of a high-end hotel and the lovely quaintness of a bed and breakfast.

Casa Carby was first the home of J. Philip and Margaret Hermann, true snowbirds who commuted between Miami and Washington, D.C., where the Hermanns led a high-profile political life. The house was then sold to heiress Henrietta A. Dorner a decade later.

The property was once part of a former grove, as was much of the land around this part of town, and the house boasts a plethora of trees on its double lot, including avocado, Royal Poincianas, Brazilian Orchid and an assortment of native palms. Like the neighboring Morningside Park, Casa Carby is a dog-friendly destination for travelers devoted to their pooches. 

Owners and world-travelers Colin and Nathalie Carby, who bought the two-story house in 2006, live with their own dogs, rescued from Vietnam and Zimbabwe, in a cottage in the back of the property. Trained in Jamaican, Hungarian and Thai hospitality both experientially and culturally, the couple keeps their presence light, maintain the garden and pool, and assisting guests only when asked.

Staff members you at your disposal include the casa’s personal pastry chef, Linda Guillarte, of Linda’s “cakery,” and Andrés Orjuela, private gourmet chef devoted to clean, seasonal, local dishes. Many of his ingredients can be found at the Upper East Side Green market, which takes place every Saturday at Legion Park, and is an excellent option for provisions. Nearby restaurants include Ni.Do. Mozzarella Bar and The Federal Food, Drink & Provision.

In addition, Casa Carby has a yoga studio on premises, and 305 Yoga gurus come by for private individual or or group classes. Schedule a session with an on-call massage therapist, or head to nearby North Miami or Miami Beach spas and studios. Or book a tee time at the nearby 18-hole golf course at the public-private Miami Shores Country Club. Because truly, your Miami bed-and-breakfast vacation isn’t fully complete until you’re fully, truly relaxed.

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