Find iconic landmarks of Florida's early 1900s hidden among the waterfront city's sunny skyscrapers and modern steel structures. Although most of its hotels are new, some date back a century. Miami's historic hotels give you a glimpse of the city's colorful past while offering updated amenities and services to ensure a relaxing Miami vacation.
The New Casablanca on the Ocean
The New Casablanca on the Ocean (casablancaontheocean.com) bills itself as being one of the last historic condo resort hotels left in Miami Beach. The square architecture and muted color palette recall the hotel's early days in the 1950s. Book one of its 275 studios or 13 two-bedroom townhouses, all restored in 2008. All rooms include full kitchens, replete with dishes and appliances, designer bathroom products, 27-inch televisions and sweeping views of the Miami coastline or the cityscape. A complimentary continental breakfast is served in the hotel lobby. Gilia's, an on-site restaurant and bar, serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails daily. A fitness center and heated swimming pool are also available.
Lord Balfour Hotel
The 66-room Lord Balfour Hotel (lordbalfourmiami.com), formerly called The Wave Hotel, is a 10-minute drive from downtown Miami and was built in the 1940s. The hotel reclaimed its original name, Lord Balfour, a salute to a vain, eccentric British prime minister, and the hotel's 2012 renovations feature playful nods to Balfour, such as the many mirrors in the lobby. Lord Balfour Hotel's situation in Miami's historic district means numerous arts and culture hot spots, including the Lincoln Theater and the Bass Museum of Art, are just steps away. After a day of sightseeing, discover modern luxuries in each of the hotel's rooms, including bamboo hardwood floors, custom-designed furniture, 40-inch satellite television, and wired and wireless Internet access; bathrooms feature rain showers. The hotel serves breakfast and afternoon tea, as well as drinks at the bar.
The Biltmore (biltmorehotel.com) is in Miami's Coral Gables district, just south of downtown Miami. Built in 1926 on 150 acres of lushly landscaped grounds, the hotel is one of the area's oldest and biggest resort destinations. It was originally one of the state's tallest buildings, served as a World War II hospital -- during this time, many of the hotel's windows were sealed with concrete -- and was once one of the campuses for the University of Miami in the 1960s. Select from 275 guest rooms, 130 of which are suites. Each room has Egyptian cotton linens with imported European feather bedding, stone tile flooring, spa bathroom products and complimentary designer bathrobes. Enjoy four on-site restaurants, from the casual 19th Hole deli to the swanky Palme d'Or, or have afternoon tea, drinks at the Biltmore Bar or wine in the Cellar Club wine bar. Get relaxed at the Biltmore Spa or play a round of golf at the par-71 golf course that was designed by Donald Ross in 1925.
The Clay Hotel
Wind your way past pink-painted buildings in Miami's historic Spanish Village to the Clay Hotel (clayhotel.com), an iconic 1930s-era building that was once one of the headquarters of the gangster Al Capone. More reputable individuals, including Elton John and Sylvester Stallone, have also made this hotel their temporary home, and the hotel was used in episodes of the television show "Miami Vice." Today, the hotel's original building has been preserved, only two blocks from Miami's white sand beaches. Don't expect luxury amenities from this budget hotel's 120 standard rooms, which include satellite television and in-room refrigerators and safes. For the lowest priced option, you can book a private room with a shared bath.