Champagne Taste: Miami's Luxury Best Five-Star Hotels

acqualina pool

The pool at the Acqualina Resort & Spa

faena lobby

Lobby at the Faena Hotel

Los Fuegos

Los Fuegos at Faena Hotel

Pao at Faena

Pao by Paul Qui at Faena Hotel

mandarin oriental view

The view from the Mandarin Oriental balconey

setai

The beautiful Setai

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By: Kara Franker

Check out Forbes Travel Guide’s 2018 Five-Star award winning hotels in Miami.

The hotel connoisseurs at Forbes Travel Guide know a thing or two about determining the crème de la crème of places to stay while you’re on vacation.

The original Five-Star rating system began in 1958 and today it’s one of the most coveted travel awards. Every year the Forbes experts visit hotels around the world and evaluate the properties based on 900 objective criteria. The global team of inspectors pay their own way, so no one can buy a rating, and they remain anonymous, so they have the same experiences as a typical guest.

In 2018, five hotels in Miami made Forbes Travel Guide’s Five-Star list. Let’s take a closer look at the winners.

Mediterranean Style in Sunny Isles Beach

Located in Sunny Isles Beach, Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach has the ambiance of a lavish Mediterranean villa by the sea. One of the best aspects of the resort is its prime oceanfront locale and its multiple swimming pools flanked by stately palm trees and bright red umbrellas. “The secluded Acqualina Resort & Spa makes an excellent getaway for honeymooners and those seeking a bit of quiet and romance,” says Forbes Travel Guide. “It’s also great for families, thanks to a separate swimming pool where the kids can cannonball to their hearts’ content or take part in a marine biology-focused kids’ club.” Other impressive aspects of the resort include spacious oceanfront rooms with private balconies, an assortment of relaxing treatments available at Acqualina Spa by ESPA, as well as decadent dining options like Il Mulino New York for formal Italian fare and the new AQ Chop House by Il Mulino for dry-aged meats and branzino crudo.

Over-The-Top Glamour in Miami Beach

Situated in the hub of the new Faena District, visionary Alan Faena opened Faena Hotel Miami Beach at the location of the former historic Saxony Hotel. Dripping with lavish décor and jaw-dropping artistic works, the property exudes an over-the-top essence imagined by Hollywood royalty Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin. “The experience starts as you walk into ‘The Cathedral,’ an expansive great hall lined with the Saxony Hotel’s original columns (now gold-leafed), vivid floor-to-ceiling murals by famed Argentine painter Gatti and an intricately patterned mosaic floor made from 632,000 tiles,” says Forbes Travel Guide. “At the far end of The Cathedral, back doors open out into the terrace, where the hotel’s signature art piece — a 10-foot-high woolly mammoth skeleton encased in 24-karat gold by artist Damien Hirst — will take your breath away.” High-end dining options include Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann for savory South American dishes and Pao by Paul Qui for modern Asian cuisine. Start your day and indulge in rest and relaxation at the hotel’s spa, Tierra Santa Healing House then finish strong with a late-night live performance at the Faena Theater.

Celebrity Hotspot in Brickell

Tucked away on a tiny island called Brickell Key, Mandarin Oriental, Miami is a luxurious hotel that manages to emanate the calm of an oasis while still situated in the heart of all the action near Downtown. With its lavish guestrooms decked out in Asian-inspired décor and gorgeous views, it’s no wonder movie stars flock to this urban jewel. “The waterfront property is a favorite of celebrities (think Will Smith) and it's no surprise why,” says Forbes Travel Guide. “Rooms and suites offer panoramic views of the water and Miami skyline; the lobby and public areas are flooded with natural light and offer plenty of space to move around and the location offers easy access to all the city has to offer.” The hotel has an idyllic private beach and The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Miami is the only Five-Star spa in Florida. Visit MO Bar + Lounge to enjoy nightly live entertainment and dine on Peruvian cuisine at La Mar by Gaston Acurio, a celebrity chef-owned restaurant that’s popular with locals and travelers alike.

Seaside Serenity in South Beach

Offering a tranquil escape, The Setai Miami Beach is undoubtedly South Beach’s most serene and soothing hotel. “The design concept of The Setai, Miami Beach is ‘Design Art Deco fusion,’ a philosophy that melds the Art Deco architecture of South Beach with the influence of the Art Deco period in Asia,” says Forbes Travel Guide. “The tasteful décor has an underlying Asian aesthetic and values, from the antique bricks on the lobby level salvaged from Shanghai’s Old City to the Asian-style teacups used in place of regular glass tumblers in the guest room bathrooms.” Stand-out amenities include three swimming pools with varying temperatures, The Spa featuring THÉMAÉ products from Paris and multiple restaurants including Jaya with its Pan-Asian food presentations.

Elegant Meets Chic in Bal Harbour

Located in one of Miami’s fanciest beachfront neighborhoods, The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort rolls out the red carpet for its guests. With a drop-dead gorgeous stretch of sand in its backyard and some of the most upscale shopping across the street, this resort is a showstopper. “Yet what really stands out about the Miami hotel is the high level of personalized and considerate service,” says Forbes Travel Guide. “Whether it’s getting a plate of macarons and a handwritten note with turndown service or having a long and thoughtful conversation with the excellent concierges about where in the city to find the best stone crabs, you can rest assured that the staff here really excels in making your stay as enjoyable as possible.” After spending the day at the beach or Reméde Spa, make sure you head to the bar at 7:30 p.m. where you can witness the bartender open a bottle of Champagne with a saber, a nightly tradition that the St. Regis is famous for.

Check out more great places to stay in Miami.

Learn More About Miami Hotels

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