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By: Angela Caraway-Carlton

Miami Beach’s world-famous Ocean Drive is a destination where Art Deco architecture and design shines beside the Atlantic Ocean, sidewalk cafes serve up every type of cuisine imaginable, and lively music tempts you to break into dance. To soak up the iconic street’s history, style and non-stop entertainment, book a stay at one of the many historic hotels that line the street, some of which have played starring roles in movies and date to the 1930s. It’s all just steps from the sand on South Beach.

Ahi Tuna at A Fish Called Avalon
Enjoy upscale dishes on Ocean Drive.

Iconic Boutique Flair at the Avalon Hotel

Presenting a front-row seat to all the excitement of Ocean Drive, the Avalon Hotel boasts an Art Deco facade, bright neon lights and an experience you won’t find elsewhere. Its 58 guestrooms are accented with pops of color and live orchids, and feature large windows that let the Florida sunlight stream in. After devouring the gratis daily breakfast, grab your complimentary beach towels and chairs and walk across the street to the beach. Don’t miss dinner on the street-side patio of longtime staple A Fish Called Avalon, where you can savor creative seafood dishes and sip handcrafted cocktails as you enjoy Ocean Drive’s unparalleled people-watching. 700 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach

Beacon Hotel Lobby Chairs
Art Deco chairs and terrazzo floors for a perfect photo op at the Beacon Hotel.

Beach Fun at the Beacon

At the Beacon Hotel South Beach, you can start your morning with an in-room Nespresso coffee before going downstairs for a free breakfast. In the five-floor, 75-unit hotel you can choose from elegantly designed guest rooms splashed in bright colors reminiscent of the ocean across the street. If you need more space, upgrade to one of the two one-bedroom suites. Enjoy a beach day with complimentary beach chairs and towels, then sip tropical cocktails at the on-site South Beach Mojito Bar and indulge in a laid-back meal at The Place restaurant. 720 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach

Live Jazz music at The Betsy
Live jazz at The Betsy.

Get Artsy at The Betsy – South Beach

This isn’t your ordinary luxury hotel – The Betsy – South Beach is an architectural marvel that’s a hub of the surrounding arts and culture scenes. But with its many amenities and 130 rooms showcasing walnut floors, marble bathrooms and elegant furnishings, you’ll be tempted to stay in. You might want to spend the day bouncing between the rooftop pool’s panoramic perch and the courtyard pool, or nestling in the hotel’s library to read a novel. For dinner, indulge in gourmet fare infused with international flavors in the on-site restaurant, LT Steak & Seafood. There’s piano music nightly, and the hotel plays host to a jazz festival every April. Built in 1942 as the Betsy Ross Hotel and designed by Art Deco architect L. Murray Dixon, The Betsy is the lone surviving example of Florida Georgian architecture on Ocean Drive. It has had periodic restorations, including one in 2017 that connected it with the former Carlton Hotel with an orb-shaped sky bridge. 1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach

Breakwater Hotel on South Beach
You can spot the Hotel Breakwater by its iconic Art Deco tower.

Hotel Breakwater: A Picture-Perfect Exterior

You may immediately recognize this historic hotel for its cheerful yellow-and-blue facade that’s often seen in photos and videos touting Ocean Drive. Inside, you can choose from a variety of chic rooms and suites spread across Hotel Breakwater’s two towers, including spacious, newly renovated penthouse suites with private pools. You can dip in the glass-enclosed plunge pool, explore the area on complimentary beach cruisers or zap calories at the 24-hour gym. For authentic Cuban cuisine, sip a refreshing mojito, the unofficial drink of South Beach, and dine on the sweeping terrace of Havana 1957. An extra bonus: guests have access to the amenities, including the spa, of Hotel Victor, only a block away. 940 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach

Oceanview pool at Hotel Victor
Relax in the pool while looking at the ocean. It’s possible at Hotel Victor.

Dreamy Days at Hotel Victor South Beach

Hotel Victor offers something no other hotel can: The Hotel Victor Group also owns the former Gianni Versace Mansion next door. The designer’s former home now is the Villa Casa Casuarina, a 10-suite hotel. The Victor Hotels group’s purchase for $41.5 million at a 2013 auction makes the mansion’s Gianni’s restaurant one of the dining options at Hotel Victor. Though both were built in the 1930s, the mansion’s Mediterranean Revival architecture contrasts sharply with that of the Art Deco hotel, which feels like a tropical beach house that offers a mix of relaxation and revelry. Choose your pleasure: Spend your days at the rooftop pool, surrounded by private cabanas overlooking Ocean Drive and the beach. Or retreat to K’Alma Spa, a hidden sanctuary that will pamper you. Or unwind at the Oceanview Terrace, which has plenty of seats meant for soaking up those ocean views. This boutique hotel, restored in 2013 by designer Yabu Pushelberg, features a great selection of rooms with sleek wooden floors and beachy-chic decor, including two spacious penthouse suites boasting private terraces with hot tubs. In addition to Gianni’s, on-site restaurants are Café Americano and Rehead Sandwich. 1144 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach

Courtyard at the Cardozo Hotel
Stay at the Cardozo, an Art Deco hotel featured in Hollywood movies.

Hollywood History at the Cardozo Hotel

The Cardozo Hotel has been featured in several Hollywood movies, including “The Birdcage,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Any Given Sunday” and “Marley & Me.” Owned for 30 years by Miami-based music royalty Gloria and Emilio Estefan, who spent $15 million on a renovation that was unveiled in 2019, this gem dating back to 1939 now boasts a modern, white motif sprinkled with some furniture, art and accessories from the Estefans’ homes. The King and double-double rooms and luxury suites have been completely redesigned with sparkling mother-of-pearl headboards, glossy cabinetry and bathrooms decked out in gold fixtures. If you want to splurge, reserve the opulent Penthouse Suite, which stretches across this corner property’s entire length on the top floor and offers sweeping views of Ocean Drive and the Atlantic. Start your day with breakfast at the Call Me Cuban cafe, which also serves lunch and dinner, and cross the street to spend a sun-drenched day on the beach. 1300 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach

Clevelander Hotel poolscape at night
Enjoy the fun on the Clevelander's patio.

Party Poolside at the Clevelander Hotel

When you think of hotels on Ocean Drive, you probably think of the Clevelander, known for its party-centric vibe and street-side pool patio meant for dancing under the sun and stars. It's where ESPN set up shop for its pre-Super Bowl LIV coverage. With plenty of open-air space, sun-seekers can spend the day on the SPF4 fourth-floor sun deck or escape on Friday and Saturday nights to the C-Level rooftop terrace on the sixth floor for epic views and creative cocktails. Sports fans flock to the Game On Sports Bar to catch big games on one of the flatscreens there. Keep an eye on all the action with a pool-view room or book one of the Rock Star Suites with beach and pool views. 1020 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach

Leslie Hotel facade
For a more intimate place to stay, try the Leslie Hotel.

Low-Key at Leslie Hotel

If you’re looking for an intimate stay, this canary yellow-and-white boutique hotel built in 1937 is your match. With 35 rooms and three room styles that range from King to ocean suites, the Leslie Hotel will treat you to spa-like bathrooms, some with Jacuzzi tubs, as well as in-room mini-fridges and free Wi-Fi. Other amenities include a business center, a gym with weight and cardio machines, and a rooftop oasis with a pool, hot tub, covered cabanas and beautiful views of the beach and ocean. Dine on-site at La Trattoria, which offers street-side dining with a Mediterranean-style menu. The Leslie is small, but it’s part of the Alquimia Hospitality Group. 1244 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach

The Local House: A Quiet Hideaway

Tucked away in the upscale South of Fifth neighborhood, away from the buzzy nightlife scene, The Local House is a boutique tropical oasis. Choose from 18 rooms, all draped in Zen-coastal hues with breezy private balconies and ocean or city views. Escape to the rooftop pool deck, or share a meal at the hotel’s popular restaurant, known for its happy-hour specials and a decadent brunch that draws a local crowd. 400 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach

Hilton Bentley South Beach
Take in Hilton Bentley's stunning view of the ocean.

Sunny Fun at Hilton Bentley Miami/South Beach

Call this longtime hotel in the quiet South of Fifth neighborhood your beachfront paradise. With 92 plush all-suite units in a 10-story building, the Hilton Bentley Miami/South Beach is considerably larger than the typical Art Deco hotel on Ocean Drive. Offering more conventional luxury, befitting a Hilton property, it also features a great pool and sundeck. Beach lovers can snag one of the chairs, umbrellas or cabanas at the hotel’s Beach Club, while others can spend the day being pampered with treatments ranging from massages to manicures at Spa 101. Enjoy Greek cuisine at on-site restaurant Santorini by Georgios, which serves authentic Mediterranean dishes. Stroll to nearby South Pointe Park to watch the sunset or play in its green spaces along the waterfront. 101 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach

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