When top-tier mixologists bring their A-game to hotel bars, it’s time for cocktail hour. Think infused vodka, drinks prepared tableside and specialties of the house that are genius because of ingredient pairings. Whether these hotels are established nightlife icons or must stops because of the heritage and beauty of their architecture, all have something that makes them stand out as SoBe marvels. Offering stylish interiors, swimming pools that are glistening wonders, and city or ocean vistas from balconies that are unmatched, these hotels are made for locals opting for staycations, out-of-towners and stunning A-list globetrotters.
Living Room, W South Beach
The Living Room bar at the W South Beach hotel knows how to amp up its glamorous scene with a heightened energy level that is constant. This nightlife icon pairs a posh vibe and gorgeous décor with cocktails that are both artistic in appearance and divine to taste. Ranked repeatedly as one of the top cocktail spots, guests are as swanky as the surroundings, where white Mongolian alpaca chairs and comfy Italian sofas dot the floor space. On the terrace, balmy breezes accompany drink orders. The latest imbibing innovations here include concoctions from Scott Beattie, a famed San Francisco cocktail designer and author of Artisanal Cocktails. Sourcing local seasonal produce from the Verde Gardens Farmers Market in neighboring rural Homestead, he creates cocktails that incorporate herbs, essential oils, edible flowers and top-shelf spirits.
The Crimson Cooler is vodka infused with essential oils of ginger, shiso and galangal; it’s served with marinated blueberries and mint. The Barrel, using a liter of your choice spirit, is prepared tableside for a group of at least four; the Moroccan Night is a favorite Barrel choice made with mandarin orange blossom vodka, fresh lime, cardamom syrup and pomegranate. As for hotel accommodations, the W offers studios, suites and a penthouse, which are enhanced by private balconies that provide bird’s-eye views of the Atlantic shoreline. The W king bed is amazing and plush with a pillow-top mattress and 350-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets.
Hyde Beach, SLS Hotel South Beach
Hyde Beach and the streamlined hotel where this eye-popping lounge resides is indulgence personified. Located where the art-deco Ritz Plaza once sat on Collins Avenue at 17th Street, this is where drinks, food and style are taken very seriously. The SLS is another win-win by prolific boutique hotelier, Sam Nazarian, who partnered with what reads like a Who’s Who list: interior designer Philippe Starck, pop icon and interior designer Lenny Kravitz, and James Beard award- winner chef José Andrés. Curated for high drama by Starck, the sleekly designed Hyde Beach accommodates more than 1,000 guests in its timber wood surroundings and spans 8,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, flecked with beautiful bodies.
It travels from the interior to two exterior pool decks, cabanas and the Hyde Garden. Disc jockeys are on duty, and after dark, the swell of the beat takes over. Being swept up visually is part of the plan. There’s vintage-y whimsy thanks to Starck, who integrates a white backdrop with plenty of miscellaneous bric-a-brac and tropical slipcovered sofas in muted foliage hued prints, plus vintage sand and surf wall art, and breathtaking glass chandeliers. Guests seeking signature sips request the cucumber watermelon margarita composed of El Cartel, Cointreau, watermelon and lime or the Hyde Beach Mojito, with flavor options presented daily by servers. Room interiors are resplendently romantic with the influences of historic French aristocracy, as evidenced by the beauty of the headboard and cabinetry detailing. Mirrored ceilings are a bonus.
Rose Bar, Delano Hotel
The Delano Hotel is a 1947 art-deco icon that was once the tallest building on Collins Avenue. Its swanky watering hole, the Rose Bar, pays homage to one of the hotel’s builders, Rose Schwartz. Situated off the glamorous Philippe Starck-designed lobby where a single silvery-toned chair invites guests to stop, sit and playfully take selfies. There are also diaphanous drapes flowing against the walls, coupled with framed mirrors that demand a glance. To a backdrop of dimmed lights, deep-set cushy couches are set back for privacy and are idyllic people-watching posts. It’s a given, this discreet sophisticated and sexy hideaway is rendezvous central.
Model-like guests and hipster locals chill over cocktails with hefty price tags. The house favorite matches the rose hues of the bar, with an intoxicating concoction of rum, Prosecco and fresh strawberry puree; it goes by the name of “Bella.” The ambience of gorgeous deco chandeliers, jetsetters and a rear bar mirror for eyeing all the beautiful people make this bar a must stop. After, continue the party with DJ tunes at FDR at Delano, the subterranean nightclub. Rooms at the hotel face the sea and the city and are available in an array of configurations from suites and bungalows to oceanfront king rooms. Interiors are elegant with a nuance of barefoot chic; originally designed by Philippe Starck, the white-on-white room concepts have been refreshed with moss-colored Connemara marble, Monstera plants and apple green-edged hand-felted rugs.