South Beach or Miami Beach?

Jun 3rd, 2004, 04:09 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
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South Beach or Miami Beach?

We're going on vacation to Florida for the first time. We will be flying into Miami from Seattle, then driving up to West Palm Beach area for the week. We'll be driving back down to spend the last two nights in Miami, and I'm wondering where I should book a hotel: South Beach (I've always loved those art deco hotels) or Miami Beach? We won't have much of a nightlife where we are staying all week (Jensen Beach) so we want to have a hotel that's in a good area for entertainment and things going on..we want to get a feel for Miami. It will be my brothers and I, all in our early 20's. Any suggestions? Should I stay in South Beach or Miami Beach? Thanks in advance!
tikigoddess is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2004, 05:29 PM
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South Beach is the southern most part of Miami Beach. South Beach, Mid Beach, North Miami Beach, Surfside, Bal Harbour, and Sunny Isles all make up Miami Beach.

Are you speaking about the difference of staying on Miami Beach and Miami mainland beaches which would be Coral Gables and Coconut Grove? The beaches of Biscayne Bay are beautiful and CG & CG are thriving wonderful areas.

South Beach is fun and you don't need a car.

By the way, there is lots of great nightlife in the West Palm Beach area. Just do a search for Palm Beach.
Jun 3rd, 2004, 06:56 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,336
Get a place on South Beach for a couple of nights. The rest of the beaches are nice but if you've never been, it might be nice to put yourself into the heart of what made Miami Miami.

Tandoori_Girl is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2004, 07:15 PM
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RE: Go Travel- We're actually staying in Jensen Beach which doesn't have much going on at night. We will check out West Palm Beach, but it's not close enough that we can walk to from our resort.

According to the maps on hotel websites it shows Miami Beach just north of South Beach, that's why I was curious if South Beach or north of that a bit (perhaps the main part of Miami Beach then) would be better for us. Thanks for the clarification and advice!

RE: Tandoori_Girl- That's exactly what I was looking to hear! Thank you! Is there any certain hotel (budget) that you would recommend? I'm hoping to stay in one of the Art Deco hotels, which seem like a good deal ($89 per night).
tikigoddess is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 05:40 AM
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Definitely South Beach. Make sure to stay somewhere between 17th and 5th St, preferably closer to 10th to be in the center of the action.
Brian_in_Charlotte is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 06:26 AM
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Check into the Winterhaven, the Blue Moon and the Clinton Hotel. You can check and, which have deals on South Beach hotels.

You should be aware if you stay on South Beach (which is what I recommend, although I personally prefer Coral Gables and Coconut Grove which has it's own party scene from UM) that all the rooms are small. Basically anything more than 2 people in a room might be cramped. You can also do a search on this board for more help!

Also check for reviews on hotels. A lot of times you get what you pay for, especially in Miami.
missjanna is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 09:47 AM
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Being in South Beach is an event totally separate from being "at the beach". The architecture of South Beach is un-paralleled anywhere else in the world. And it is an exciting place, a world-class experience. I haven't stayed in South Beach in a long time because when I've been in Miami of late I stayed with friends in Coral Gables. But it is a great experience. When I did stay there (1986), I stayed at the Cardoza for about $35/night. It had just been renovated and there still was no one but old folks hanging out at the beaches. I have no idea what the Cardoza cost today, nor if it's your best choice of hotel (when I went it was about the only choice). I suggest you take someone else's rec. on that.
Tandoori_Girl is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 09:49 AM
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A no-brainer.......South Beach!
HowardR is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 09:54 AM
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South Beach is the best choice by far. And there are dozens of hotels, good and not so good.

Tandoori_Girl, I had to smile at your description of the Cardozo. You wouldn't recognize the old place now since Gloria and Emilio Estefan bought it. It's got a sexy vibe and it's the only place I stay at when I'm in South Beach (I'm going there to celebrate my 40th-- in August).

tikigoddess: missjanna has also listed some good hotel choices. How much are you wanting to spend? If you want a bit more lavish experience, you could try one of the "tall" hotels on Collins like the National. The Delano is maybe a bit too decadent, but what the hey. And the Ritz-Carlton is the latest luxury hotel in the area (I'll be checking it out when I go).
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 10:06 AM
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tiki- we are doing the same thing before a cruise out of ft.lauderdale next Feb. We are staying in Southbeach for a night and are using Priceline. Have fun!
stormygirl is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 11:44 AM
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I remember oh too well when they were all closed and that Koppelman woman was trying to get ANYONE to save them. There were ancient people on South Beach then, so many that some photographer friends and I went down to photograph them in all their wrinkles. Thank god someone came to their senses. It's hard to get people excited about saving post-modern architecture. I'm sure if this were a different day, there would be ramblings on fodors from some tourist who'd been to S. Beach and "all that was there were these tacky old run-down buildings". Sometimes I guess it's hard to see the forest through the trees.
Tandoori_Girl is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 04:21 PM
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If staying in South Beach you should consider the Casa Grande Hotel. Great location on Ocean Drive at 8th Street. Two and three room suites are available, which include full kitchens.
nohomers is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 05:24 PM
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We are staying in SoBe at the end of this month and I booked a suite at the Sagamore (smack dab in between the Delano and the new Ritz South Beach) for $99/night on Quickbook. The rooms are huge - 600 sq. ft. w/ a seperate bedroom area and a full kitchenette. You can see the floor plans on the Sagamore website at I think they have flat screen TV's in both rooms too. $99/night is a steal for this level hotel (was on the 2003 Conde Nast hot list). It is considered a Luxury hotel. Good Luck!
tracy1329 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 07:06 PM
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South Beach is one of our favorite weekend getaways.

We've stayed there twice. First time at Casa Grande - right in the middle of all the fun restuarants, bars etc. Wonderful little boutique hotel.

The 2nd time we stayed farther north at the WinterHaven. Not as upscale, but still nice.

Our favorite restuarant is the Blue Door at the Delano Hotel. Expensive, but so relaxed. Food and Service are excellent.

Opium Garden is an awesome night club. Doesn't open in 11 pm and I don't when it closes. The cover charges is $25 per person, but I've never seen such a "cool" looking night club before.

If you want a great beach scene, go to Nikki's Bar at the very southend of south beach - You can walk there from the beach. They have a great brunch - $25 a person but has everything. Get there early. By chance we were there at around 11 am. Paid our $25 for brunch and hung out in the nice louge chairs and enjoyed the music. When we left around 2 pm, they had closed the access down the path to the beach and where then asking for a cover charge of $25 and then $25 for buffet to boot.

Warning - there will be some topless people sunning at the beach but not walking around. It didn't bother us, but some might be offended.

Have fun!!!
Nancy03 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2004, 08:13 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and advice...I wish it were easier to reply to each comment personally. I have been looking everything up and have many options at this point. Never being there before, it's hard to decide when I have so many mixed reviews. We have decided to stay in South Beach though, and I'm looking at some of the art deco hotels on Ocean Drive. I've read a lot of mixed reviews on these...they are cheap, but that's what we want. I mean, we don't want a dive but we are not going to be at the hotel the whole time. We basically want a convenient place for nightlife- not too loud, but right near the action. Ocean Drive is right across from the beach, so thats nice...and I am aware that it is a noisy area. There are a few of the neon lighted hotels that I've been checking out, but there's so many mixed reviews. My first choice was the Colony, but Im not sure now..there is also the Beacon, and Boulevard, the Avalon, and South Seas are all in the same spot. The Blue Moon looks good too...and has better reviews. It is a little more than the others, and it's on Collins Ave...and I'm not sure if that would be better or worse than Ocean Drive. We are looking at spending less than $100 per night, (yes this is possible, I've found all of the above except Blue Moon for under $100) as this is the tail end of our trip and we have already been at a wonderful resort before coming here. We'll be tight for money, so whatever I can save on a hotel is important. We are here to get a feel for Miami. Any more suggestions or info? Thanks!
tikigoddess is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 10:04 AM
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tiki, there are three types of hotels in South Beach.

There are very expensive *destination* hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton, Delano, Tides, and Shore Club.

Then there are moderate hotels like the Surfcomber and South Seas.

The third category are dismal motels you need to stay away from.

Most hotel rooms in South Beach will be very small and have no view. The motels were built in the 1950s and the room sizes have not changed.

The oceanfront hotels are so far from the ocean that even if your room is oceanfront, it is still a long ways away.

All the hotels on Ocean Drive north of 4th Avenue are across the street from Lummus Park which is oceanfront.

I like to stay on Collins Avenue north of 13th Avenue because of the proximity to Lincoln Road Mall.
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