A modern, artsy enclave on Ocean Drive
The Betsy — South Beach stands out on the skyline of Ocean Drive. Located in the Art Deco district, about a half a block from the northern end of the strip, the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel has reigned as a landmark for more than seven decades.
Originally designed in 1941 by L. Murray Dixon (behind famed art deco hotels like The Tides and The Raleigh), The Betsy remains the sole example of Florida-Georgian architecture in the area.
After a two-year, multi-million-dollar renovation, the oceanfront property known for its literary bent recently unveiled a massive expansion effort, merging with the historic Henry Hohauser-designed Carlton Hotel on Collins Avenue. The renewed property encompasses the original Ocean Drive building now known as the Colonial wing and the fully renovated Collins Avenue building, aptly dubbed the Art Deco wing for its jazz-era style.
The completed architectural masterpiece now features 130 guest rooms and suites, two restaurants by respected chef Laurent Tourondel and an expansive rooftop pool complex among other exquisite amenities.
Our Inspector's Highlights
• The Betsy’s rooftop Ocean Deck, located on the highest point of the Art Deco wing, is especially breathtaking with its 360-degree sea and cityscape vistas. Go there to enjoy a cocktail or a light bite under the stars.
• On any given day, you’ll find a stimulating lineup of cultural events, ranging from poetry readings to jazz concerts in the Lobby Salon, along with literary festivals, book signings and artist visits. The Betsy also has its own private art exhibits on display throughout the lobby, staircases and hallways and offers residencies in its Writer’s Room.
• The sprawling 3,200-square-foot rooftop complex is the majestic hotel’s opulent crowning jewel, situated 50 feet above the city and complete with a stunning (and popular) pool. The courtyard pool below is a more serene and secluded spot for a swim.
• The staff is highly attentive and caters to your comfort and enjoyment. Plus, dedicated Betsy beach attendants await with lounge chairs and umbrellas on the luxury hotel’s private strip of sand.
• The Wellness Garden & Spa at The Betsy is the only such outdoor facility in Miami Beach. The moon- and candle-lit Massage Under the Stars, which pampers you with mimosas, music and rose petals, comes recommended.
Things to Know
• While all guest rooms have picture-perfect views, not all face the beach or pool. If an ocean vista is a make or break for you, ask for a Deluxe Room or one of the Betsy Royal Suites in the Colonial wing or Skyline Level Bungalow Suites atop the Art Deco wing.
• Pooches are welcome and even get the royal treatment, as in side-by-side massages with their owner. Bonus: half of the added pet charge ($150) is donated to support dog shelters in the community.
• The Miami hotel is a hot ticket come Art Basel time in December. If you plan to attend the annual art festival, we highly suggest you book a room at least several months in advance.
• The 58 rooms, including 19 suites, in the Colonial wing are light, bright and charming, and whisk you away to a bygone era in Savannah. Think elegant white poster beds and plantation-style shutters, and crisp, white linens with chairs, curtains and bedspreads bordered in matching hues of lavender, mustard and green.
• The original interior designers of The Betsy, Diamante Pedersoli and Carmelina Santoro, were called in to refresh the Art Deco wing’s 70 new guest rooms, 30 of which have balconies. In keeping with the Carlton’s motif, you’ll see a color palette of white and ocean-blue tones with bursts of tropical corals and greens.
• The 130 guest rooms and suites all feature Thassos and Carrera marble bathrooms with luxurious Malin and Goetz amenities and mirrors with built-in LCD TVs, dark walnut hardwood floors and curated guest libraries.
• For large parties, the Skyline Penthouse & Terrace Suite can combine with adjacent accommodations to transform into an extravagant bi-level four-bedroom unit, complete with a 1,000-square-foot wrap-around balcony.
• The Miami Beach hotel hosts two signature restaurants by noted chef Laurent Tourondel: LT Steak & Seafood for American fine dining and Poeti for fast, casual Italian bites.
• LT Steak & Seafood is located in the Colonial wing off the Lobby Salon, with indoor and outdoor seating by Ocean Drive. Reservations are highly recommended; request a seat on the ocean-facing terrace and indulge in the buttery Alaskan king crab and tender filet mignon.
• Head to the trattoria-style Poeti (“poet” in Italian) for brick-oven pizza, gelato and crepes from a quaint walk-up window.
• The new Conservatory, an inviting lounge in the former lobby of the Carlton, also serves bites from LT Steak & Seafood. It’s meant to function as a multi-use space for guests to gather.
• The Ocean Deck is a sublime spot to catch the sunset while sipping on a frozen margarita. Early birds should visit to watch the sunrise and have a healthful breakfast — a menu of light fare is served all day starting at 8 a.m.
DETAILS - Insider Information About This Hotel
DETAILS - Insider Information About This Hotel