Whether you’re after an homage to 1930s Havana glamour or a lovingly restored mid-century motel, Miami has a host of brilliant places to stay
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The Biltmore Hotel
Opened in 1926, this iconic Mediterranean hotel is Miami’s answer to Palm Beach’ Breakers Hotel. George Merrick built it as the centrepiece of his ambitious “city beautiful” vision for Coral Gables. Home to one of the largest swimming pools in the US, it once held aquatic extravaganzas featuring synchronised swimmers and alligators, and employed Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan) as a swim instructor. Famous guests include FDR, Ginger Rogers and Al Capone.
Once a deserted wasteland of dilapidated architecture, the MiMo district is now one of Miami’s buzziest neighbourhoods, and a legion of like-minded preservationists have given new life to the mid-century Miami Modern-style motels and restaurants that dot Biscayne Boulevard. Pick of the bunch is the Vagabond with its cute kitschy rooms and bold 1950s colour scheme. Be warned, though, the walls are thin and the music from the pool parties can be quite loud. Its restaurant, Mr. Mandolin, serves the best gyros in Miami.
The rooms are seriously good value at this handsome little hotel in Miami’s Cuban Quarter. A strong design ethos runs through the Mission Revival building: ’30s Havana glamour meets millennial eclecticism. There’s a hammock in the pretty courtyard for when it all gets too much, and yoga classes are on offer. Breakfast is served on the roof – there’s overnight oats for the virtuous and empanadas for everyone else.
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