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New South Florida hotels bring buzz, options

The newest hotels in Miami-Dade County are already making a name for themselves.

Open just since March, Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach has earned the top spot for the city on TripAdvisor, followed in second place by another newcomer, the Redbury South Beach. That hotel, sister to the Hollywood Redbury in Los Angeles, also made the Travel + Leisure 2014 "It List," which highlights the world's best new hotels.

This fall, the long-awaited Edition Miami Beach, a collaboration of hotelier Ian Schrager and Marriott International, is expected to open, followed early next year by the first phase of the massive Faena development in Miami Beach.

"Miami just has so many options that it's so hard for travelers to pick the right hotel," said Juliana Shallcross, managing editor for the online publication HotelChatter.

Which is where we come in. For out-of-towners looking to sample what's new, here's our roundup of the latest additions.

The Redbury South Beach

What's new: The former Fairfax hotel sat vacant for years before being brought to life as the Redbury, sister hotel to the Hollywood, Calif., hot spot. The 69-room property with an emphasis on old Miami Beach glamor opened in December.

Bragging rights: Rooms have a rock 'n' roll vibe, complete with record player and vinyl curated by Capitol Records. A rooftop pool offers ample space for sunbathing. Lorenzo, the restaurant from James Beard Award-winning Chicago chef Tony Mantuano, serves handmade pasta, pizza and other Italian staples. The Redbury made the 2014 Travel + Leisure "It List."

Caveat emptor: The property is not directly on the beach, but guests can use the beach amenities across the street at the Raleigh.

Best for: Young travelers who want a hip beach experience without the outsized rates; families; business travelers.

Details: 1776 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; (305) 604-1776;

Rates and deals: Weekend rates at the end of June start at $221; earlier weekends start higher. Using promo code FLRES, Florida residents save 25 percent off the room and restaurant (and the resort fee is waived) through Sept. 30, with blackout dates. Also through Sept. 30, promo code MERRY is good for 20 percent off rooms, dinner for two at the restaurant and a waived resort fee.

Courtyard Cadillac Miami Beach Oceanfront

What's new: The Art Deco hotel, built in 1940 and expanded about a decade later, unveiled a $25 million expansion in February. The new wing includes a 93-room tower, extended lobby decorated with vintage Miami Beach posters, meeting space, new pool and cabanas.

Bragging rights: Two pools (the large original with an 8 1/2 -foot deep end and a new infinitylike version). The 356-room property is separated from the beach by only a boardwalk. One of the suites in the new section has a balcony spacious enough to host small parties — and even has a hot tub outside.

Caveat emptor: The older sections of the 356-room hotel have not been renovated in years, so make sure you know what section you're booking. The location is a few blocks south of the clubs and restaurants at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach and a long walk (or short cab ride) from South Beach. Construction ongoing next door.

Best for: Business travelers loyal to the Courtyard by Marriott brand; families who want quality pool and beach time.

Details: 3925 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; (305) 538-3373;

Rates and deals: Weekend rates for most of June start at $239 a night in the older tower, $289 for the newer section; Florida residents with ID get a 20 percent discount, subject to availability.

Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach

What's new: The Traymore Hotel was stripped to the bare structure and rebuilt with interiors heavy in mint green and gray. When it opened in March, the property became the first U.S. presence of the upscale COMO brand. (Other locations include London, Bangkok, Maldives and the Turks & Caicos.)

Bragging rights: Most rooms have a water view — either of the ocean or Lake Pancoast across Collins Avenue. Locals and guests alike pack the small COMO Shambhala Urban Escape spa. A rooftop hydrotherapy pool adds an option for pampering; the ground-level pool is next to the ocean. The Traymore Restaurant and Bar boasts more than 40 kinds of gin.

Caveat emptor: The hotel is quiet and not suited to partiers. It is well removed from most of the South Beach action.

Best for: Couples seeking a romantic getaway; families who want to take advantage of one of seven suites (there will be 11 available by September, including the 1,113-square-foot COMO Suite).

Details: 2445 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; (305) 695-3588;

Rates and deals: The hotel says the best summer rates start at $319, though we found midweek offers in June as low as $261 a night. Through Sept. 30, Florida residents get free overnight parking and 15 percent off the best available rate.

EB Hotel Miami

What's new: The former Wells Fargo bank building just north of Miami International Airport has been transformed to a high-end hotel. The six-story, 133-room property opened last June, the first U.S. location for a company that has several hotels in Venezuela and Argentina.

Bragging rights: From the marble floors in the lobby to smart-room technology that uses motion sensors to know when rooms are occupied, the hotel is unexpectedly posh for its location. Extra-thick windows make for quiet surroundings.

Caveat emptor: Despite the amenities, guests are still a drive away from downtown Miami or the beach. The pool view is of traffic speeding by. Still to come are a spa and gift shop.

Best for: Business travelers; anyone needing a place to stay before or after a flight through MIA.

Details: 4299 NW 36th St., Miami Springs; (305) 324-6835;

Rates and deals: Weekend rates start at $189 a night for a standard double, $199 for a deluxe suite.

Grand Beach Hotel Surfside

What's new: Built from the ground up, the 268-room hotel on the ocean opened in December.

Bragging rights: Two pools and hot tubs beckon on the ground level, and the rooftop SkyPool and hot tubs offer an oasis for adults 21 and older. The gym has an ocean view. The hotel was sold out when we visited, but promotional material says most rooms include two full bathrooms and a balcony. A sandy walkway winds through palms to the beach.

Caveat emptor: Scaffolding surrounded the entrance on a recent visit, and the spa is not yet open.

Best for: Families looking for a beach vacation away from the South Beach scene; couples who want a resort feel with privacy; luxury shoppers looking for a getaway near the Bal Harbour Shops.

Details: 9449 Collins Ave., Surfside; (305) 534-8666;

Rates and deals: Weekend rates in June start at about $263.

Lord Balfour South Beach

What's new: The former Wave Hotel, built in 1940, has undergone a complete gutting. The 64-room property was originally called the Lord Balfour, after onetime British Prime Minister Lord Arthur James Balfour. Far from stuffy, the boutique hotel is a cheeky, art-filled affair.

Bragging rights: Funky design sensibilities include a giant image of a tattooed woman on a wall in each room. During Art Basel Miami Beach last year, an artist painted a giant geisha in the courtyard.

Caveat emptor: See: tattooed lady, if that's not your thing. A restaurant is still to come in the next few months, and construction will begin on an 18-room addition with pool next year. Though the hotel is in the hip South of Fifth neighborhood, it's not directly on the beach and has just a small workout space.

Best for: Guests who appreciate playful touches and don't mind fewer on-site amenities.

Details: 350 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; (786) 228-7217;

Rates and deals: Weekend rates typically start at $279. Through Sept. 30, Florida residents can save 20 percent when staying four nights (resort fee included).

New South Florida hotels bring buzz, options 05/29/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 29, 2014 10:17am]
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