South Beach

Forget logo branded t-shirts and shot glasses. These hotel gift shops forgo stocking their shelves with those usual tchotchkes in favor of products that raise their retail status as high as the penthouse suite! The six shops that make our list make it so you don’t even have to leave the hotel to score some seriously awesome merchandise. After shelling out some green, you can head back to your luxe digs to admire your vacation loot. Now how to pack it all in your suitcase…

The Plaza, New York City


Heard of the children’s book series Eloise — about a little girl who lives in The Plaza? Well, some clever retail folks made the storybook character come to life. The Eloise Shop at The Plaza offers one-of-a-kind merchandise based on the book series. But you don’t have to be a bookworm to enjoy the hotel’s charm. The century-old, 282-room Plaza is a New York landmark. A $400 million overhaul in 2008 gave the huge rooms gold-plated bathroom fixtures, but it also converted most rooms overlooking Central Park into privately-owned residences (akin to how Eloise lived). The hotel even has an Eloise-themed suite.

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Spring break is fast approaching — thank goodness! We’re ready to say “goodbye” to the blizzards, tornadoes, you name it, of this winter and “hello” to fun in the sun. Well, plenty of fun in the sun can be found in Miami, where thousands of college spring breakers choose to spend their week off. But whether you’re a crazy co-ed, or of a more sophisticated crowd, there’s a spot for you in scene-y Miami. And why visit Miami if you’re not going to stay in South Beach? [Ed. note: There are actually plenty of reasons why one would choose to stay somewhere like Coral Gables or Fisher Island instead, but Spring Break in South Beach has a nice ring to it, right?] So we’ve hand-picked hotels for every kind of spring breaker: Want a 90%* chance of spotting a celeb? Want to party all night and sleep all day? Want to bring the whole family along? We have a spot for you.

Our Pick for Celebrity Sightings: Delano Hotel

Catch Bradley's eye at the Delano Hotel.

It’s harder to think of celebs who haven’t stayed at the Delano than those who have. Everyone from George Clooney to Beyonce, Sandra Bullock to Matthew McConaughey, Chris Rock to Justin Timberlake have all called the Delano home, at least for a night or two. The most recent sightings to add to the roster? Less than two weeks ago, Gerard Butler (sigh), Leonardo DiCaprio (double sigh), Bradley Cooper (triple sigh), and even Mel Gibson (uh, not so much) were spotted dining together at the hotel’s Bianca restaurant before heading downstairs to the FDR nightclub.

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The Gale South Beach

In the 1940s, Gale South Beach and Regent Hotel stood on Collins Avenue, one of South Beach’s main Art Deco drags. Two months ago, just in time for Art Basel, the two properties re-opened as one very hip, very retro hotel. From the young team that remodeled the historic Shelborne Hotel (just down the street), Gale’s brand new interiors  – the restoration clocked in at $35 million — manage to maintain the vibe of a bygone era, while also reaching modern luxury standards. Black-and-white photos (many pulled from ‘40s and ‘50s archives) line hallways and adorn rooms; terrazzo lines the lobby floor; and outdoor signage replicates the hotels’ originals to a T.

Along with a flurry of other hip, boutique openings on Collins Avenue lately (SLS Hotel South Beach and The James Royal Palm, for example), it’s clear that Gale’s serious focus on cocktails, socializing, and retro style will make it a major player with the in-crowd.

Take a photo tour after the jump and keep your eyes peeled for the full review, coming to soon!
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While there are plenty of luxurious hotels out there, some hotels take luxury to a whole other level (which means prices on a whole new level, too). But when you really need to unwind away from home, there’s no better way to indulge than heading to a luxe hotel with an equally luxe spa for some much-need pampering. Whether they’re offering oils of gold, creams of caviar, or bathtubs of wine, these hotel spas aren’t shy about offering their guests the royal treatment – and charging them royally, too.

Treatment: Evian Bath for $5,000

Spa: Spa V at Hotel Victor, South Beach

Hotel Victor pampers guests with the finest bath water in South Beach

Not many of the treatments at Hotel Victor in South Beach come cheap, but the Evian bath is particularly pricey. The bath, consisting of 1,000 bottles of the French mineral water, is only available to guests of the $10,000 per night penthouse suite, and includes champagne, dessert, and an additional treatment of choice for two.

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Foto Friday: Caption This Photo!

by Devon on September 21, 2012

Expect the unexpected on the streets of Miami.

From the looks of this pic, it seems that opposites really do attract. We ran into our tough-meets-fluff friends on the streets of Miami, where playful Foofers and her mean-muggin’ buddy took some time to enjoy a walk around the gorgeous South Beach neighborhood. Though we aren’t exactly sure where these two are headed, we’re positive they’ll be able to turn some heads no matter where they end up.

Read our caption after the jump, then enter your own in the comments section below!

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Rooftop Bar at The Perry South Beach; Miami, FL
Rooftop Bar at The Perry South Beach; Miami, FL

There’s nothing like a rooftop bar to kick off the warm months, and with the crazy weather patterns of the last few weeks, there’s nothing that sounds more appealing right now than getting a drink with a view. If you’re daydreaming about sipping on a perfectly made cocktail a few stories above street level too, check out our selection of the hottest hotel rooftop bars across the country now.