You know your backyard has really arrived when the new Philippe Starck-designed hotel and the hostel about 10 blocks north get serious national ink.
The past couple months have seen the arrival of a new-to-Miami chain, Starwood’s Aloft brand, which opened in Doral, as well as a totally new value-oriented brand, b2 in downtown Miami.
But most of the action has been centered — where else? — on South Beach, which continues to be a magnet for investors.
This year’s Condé Nast Traveler Hot List, which highlights the best new hotels in the world, features two recent Miami Beach openings: The James Royal Palm and SLS Hotel South Beach, both major renovation projects. The magazine also picked the SLS to host its Hot List party late last month.
“I think it’s nice that the beach doesn’t get stale,” said Lisa Gill, a contributing editor at Condé Nast Traveler who oversees the Hot List. “There’s always something new on the beach, which will always be a great lure.”
Here’s a closer look at this year’s newest lures:
Aloft Miami Doral
What’s new: Everything about the six-story, 145-room hotel. Open since March, it marks the arrival of Starwood’s rapidly expanding Aloft brand in Miami-Dade.
Bragging rights: Like all Aloft locations, this one is a “vision” of Starwood’s hip, pricier W Hotels. The lobby is known as the re:mix lounge, with a pool table and music and light that changes throughout the day. The bar, w xyz, offers a daily happy hour; a DJ spins every Thursday. Works by local artists are hung (and for sale) on the walls. WiFi is free and a pup-friendly policy allows pets 40 pounds or less to stay with no extra charge. (Bonus: They get a dog bed, treats, toys and a bowl for the stay).
Caveat emptor: Close to businesses in Doral, but far from typical Miami tourism spots. The surroundings, for now, also include a construction site for a neighboring hotel.
Best for: Business travelers; locals who want to check out a new nightlife spot at the bar.
Details: 3265 NW 107th Ave., Doral; 786-272-7200; www.aloftmiamidoral.com
Rates and deals: Starting at $99 a night for the weekend that starts May 31; summer rates through the end of August start at $99 for Florida residents.
b2 downtown miami
What’s new: The old Continental Bayside Hotel got a complete renovation to become the first property in the new b2 hotel brand. All 243 guest rooms and common areas, including the restaurant Biscayne Tavern, have been updated with a clean, modern look.
Bragging rights: Location, location, location. The property sits across from Bayfront Park and blocks away from PortMiami, Bayside Marketplace and the AmericanAirlines Arena. WiFi is free, and so is use of a hotel’s iPad, available as a loaner at the front desk.
Caveat emptor: Standard rooms are fairly small with cramped bathrooms. There is no pool.
Best for: Cruise travelers, locals who don’t want to drive home after a Heat game or visitors who want a downtown experience without paying Brickell prices.
Details: 146 Biscayne Blvd.; 305-358-4555; b2miamidowntown.com
Rates and deals: Starting at $123 a night for the weekend that starts May 31. Florida residents get 20 percent off if they use the code “resident” when booking.