Caveat emptor: Aside from the pool and guest-only cafe, there’s not much happening at the property itself.
Best for: Families; laid-back travelers who want their hotel to be an escape from the South Beach scrum.
Details: 1817 James Ave., Miami Beach; 305-341-2401; www.pestana.com/en/pestana-south-beach
Rates and deals: Starting at $168 for the weekend that begins May 31.
James Royal Palm
What’s new: Everything at the giant property has been updated in a $42 million renovation. The hotel, which reopened late last year, is now part of The James brand.
Bragging rights: The beachfront hotel tries to offer enough amenities to keep people busy even if they never leave: 393 rooms, three pools, two restaurants, a coffee bar, lobby bar, rum bar, nightclub, spa and kiddie play area. Designed by Lauren Rottet, the interiors are warm, modern and comfortable, with reclaimed wood and Art Deco inspiration. Through a “cultural collection,” the hotel has formed partnerships with local institutions including New World Symphony, Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami and YoungArts in Miami.
Caveat emptor: Vacationers looking for the quintessential small-boutique experience might be a bit overwhelmed. With 393 rooms, guests will likely have plenty of company on the property.
Best for: Families; travelers who crave options and activity.
Details: 1545 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-604-5700; www.jameshotels.com/miami/
Rates and deals: Starting from $319.20 a night on the weekend that begins May 31. Package for R&R retreat including spa treatments, customized dinner and bottle of wine starts at $329; book through Dec. 31.
Sense Beach House
What’s new: Formerly Sense Hotel, the property’s new owner brought in a new design and decor to make the “micro-boutique” feel more like a beach cottage. The lobby and first-floor restaurant, The Local House, take more cues from the Hamptons than the Caribbean. The porch is a designated game area, with table tennis, hanging chairs and foosball. Two floors of rooms are differentiated by color theme: sand and blue. A rooftop pool provides a view of the very nearby ocean.
Bragging rights: With just 18 rooms, the hotel focuses on service and fostering relationships with guests — or, rather, friends, as the owner says. All rooms have balconies, and the decor hints at a sense of humor: art adorning the walls features Barbie dolls.
Caveat emptor: Although it’s geographically in South Beach, the neighborhood is quiet, largely residential and a good hike from most nightlife scenes and Lincoln Road.
Best for: Couples seeking a cozy, romantic beach getaway away from the touristy buzz.
Details: 400 Ocean Dr., 305-538-5529, sensebeachhouse.com
Rates and deals: Starting at $209.25 a night for the weekend that begins May 31. Florida residents get a 25 percent discount between June 1 and Sept. 30, based on availability.
SLS Hotel South Beach
What’s new: Aside from a few historic details, everything at the old Ritz Plaza hotel is new. Los Angeles-based sbe brought in designer Philippe Starck of Delano fame, who turned the 140-room property into his own personal dreamscape. Rock star Lenny Kravitz also pitched in, designing a bungalow and penthouse suite. Offerings include two well-reviewed restaurants — one sushi, one tapas; Hyde Beach, a tropical-inspired lounge and two pools. While small, rooms are infused with whimsy, from the pencil-sketch wall tapestries to the mirrors on the ceiling and pink glass in the bathrooms.
Bragging rights: With quirky décor touches — the masked bull in the lobby, the video installation showing regal men morphing into monkeys and the oversized rubber duck out by the pool — the hotel is famed for its design. The chefs in both restaurants, José Andrés and Katsuya Uechi, have high profiles. SLS South Beach made both the Travel + Leisure 2013 It List and Condé Nast Traveler’s 2013 Hot List.
Caveat emptor: The historic hotel’s renovation didn’t allow for expansion of the rooms, which are tiny even by South Beach standards.
Best for: Travelers who want to experience the next big thing in South Beach — and can handle the accompanying prices.
Details: 1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-674-1701, slshotels.com/southbeach/.
Rates and deal: Starting at $475 for the weekend that begins May 31. Between June 1-Sept. 30, a Florida resident package offers rates starting at $285 with a complimentary upgrade if available, $75 food and beverage credit and free valet included. Booking code is FLRESIDENT; blackout dates apply.