Miami is known for hot sand and sun, toned bodies, and one of Will Smith’s best 90s singles ever. It’s also one of the country’s biggest party towns. If you’re visiting Miami and looking for nightlife, these are the hotels that will surely deliver.
The Delano is one of the coolest and most popular spots on South Beach, drawing a wide range of clientele. The party begins in the the lobby’s crowded and red-lit Rose Bar, and then the crowds continue out the back and around the pool, and also underground to Lenny Kravitz’s Florida Room nightclub, where Miami club promoter Tommy Pooch hosts a weekly party every Saturday night. There are live DJs, $17 mojitos, and tight security — a well-known, see-and-be-seen party scene.
Built in 1954, it was the hangout of the rat pack in its heyday, but it had fallen from the headlines until its $1 billion facelift in 2008. Every restaurant has its own bar, the most popular being Bleau Bar, which features a panoramic view of the pools by day. In the evening, head to LIV, which many consider to be the only real nightclub in this area of Miami Beach. True, celebs ranging from Maria Sharapova to P-Diddy have dropped by to party, but the stars usually only come out for closed door events, like Ocean Drive magazine’s anniversary party. On regular nights, it’s like any other club with neon lights flashing over a crowd of striped shirts cozying up to high-heeled blondes.
The chic Gansevoort hotel is a bit removed from the action on the north edge of South Beach, but it still attracts plenty of attention with its rooftop pool parties and two chic nightclubs. The hotel’s nightclub Louis, off the hotel’s lobby, is where velvet, neon lights, and chrome skulls meet 17th century Paris, and the rooftop hotspot Plunge was the backdrop for Bravo’s reality series “Miami Social.” Despite techno in the elevators and vintage-looking portraits of women wearing lingerie on the walls, the Gansevoort also draws a good number of forward-thinking families and is a good (and generally more affordable) choice for all walks of partier.
Built in 1938, the Clevelander has been a South Beach landmark for more than 70 years, known as much for its come-one, come-all parties as for its official duties as a hotel. Many consider a stay, or at least a stop at the patio bar, to be one of the quintessential SoBe experiences. The property has only 60 rooms, but because of all the bars, clubs, and terraces, and the huge plot of land it occupies, it feels nothing like a boutique hotel. Essentially a party complex, the Clevelander is to blaring music and Bud Light what golf resorts are to piano bars and scotch.
The beachfront Shore Club prides itself on being a be-seen haunt, with celebrity-fueled restaurants and bars, and a boisterous infinity pool where DJs spin the latest hits. Nobu and Ago (two of Miami’s most expensive eateries) are the highlights of the hotel, but the poolside parties and restaurant bars still manage to make this a favored hangout for party-ready college kids, celebrities (like Ashlee Simpson-Wentz and Christina Milian), and couples in their 30s looking for a lively Miami weekend.
The typical SoBe party scene isn’t the only thing drawing crowds, but so is… Sunday Bingo! Sprawling across the denim sofas, bare feet up on the cushions, 20-somethings have rekindled the cool in Grandma’s favorite pastime. But don’t be fooled: Considering the weekly party nights at The Standard Miami Beach Bar (with promotions like “ladies and bottoms drink free”), the rather raunchy pool scene (especially once the body paint gets flying), and the coed sauna (no need to explain anything more), it’s probably for the best that kids under 14 are not allowed on the property.
Although this is not the craziest of the SoBe hotels, it is still a great destination. The bar by the pool serves drinks during the afternoon, and also during some evenings when there’s an overflow from the Sunset Lounge, which is the lobby’s popular bar and lounge (right near the trendy Asia de Cuba restaurant). The Sunset Lounge is extremely packed on weekends; a line eventually forms outside the hotel. Hotel guests are at an advantage, though, as you merely need to wave your hotel keys at the bouncer to be waved right in.
A refined and high class place to party, The Setai gets the job done with The Bar and Courtyard. It is also popular place for celebrities. Everyone from Jay-Z to Cat Power has laid down tracks at the Lenny Kravitz-designed recording studio, and the hotel regularly plays host to major fashion and entertainment events.