Art-Deco Hotel Steps from the Beach
If the façade of Hotel Breakwater South Beach looks familiar, it might be because it frequently appears in movies and commercials filmed on this historic strip of South Beach’s Ocean Drive. The famous ads for Calvin Klein’s Obsession perfume starring Kate Moss were shot on the rooftop terrace here—a campaign that helped cement South Beach’s popularity in the 1980s and the hotel’s status as “the crown jewel of Ocean Drive,” as Frommer’s calls it. And it’s just across the street from a white-sand beach along the ocean.
Built in 1936, the iconic hotel recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation to preserve its art-deco exterior as well as the lobby’s colorful marble floors. Everything else received a 21st-century upgrade, including the installation of a plunge pool with an infinity edge. Brand-new guest rooms come furnished with white patent-leather benches and elaborately patterned headboards, as well as 42-inch flat-screen TVs, free WiFi, and bathrooms with rainforest showers. Choose a junior suite for the most space, or a deluxe room for a balcony.
Just steps away, you’ll find Lummus Park and its popular beach—a hangout for the likes of Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, and other celebrities. The palm-studded pathways lining Lummus Park are perfect for cruising on one of the hotel’s complimentary bicycles. After working up an appetite playing beach volleyball or touring the surrounding art-deco district, you can grab dinner at one of the hotel’s two restaurants. Il Paparazzi specializes in Italian cuisine prepared with pastas and cheeses made in-house, while Ocean’s 10 serves an eclectic mix of American food at indoor and outdoor dining areas, with nightly live entertainment.
Miami’s South Beach: World-Famous Nightlife and Art-Deco Icons
Just east of downtown Miami, on the barrier island that forms Miami Beach, you’ll find one of the world’s nightlife capitals: South Beach. The clubs along Ocean Drive are legendary for their boisterous, all-night blowouts—and for good reason. With all the rum-soaked mojitos, colorful neon, and celebrity sightings, it can feel like an endless party. Perhaps that’s why the area pops up so often in film and TV shows, including Burn Notice and The Birdcage.
The coast of South Beach is known as Lummus Park, which Frommer’s calls Miami’s “best beach for people-watching.” While the bleached sand and curving palms are gorgeous, they’re almost overshadowed by the chiseled beach-goers dotting the sand. From here, a wood-slat boardwalk runs all the way up to North Beach, attracting joggers and roller bladers. Head across the bay, to South Pointe Park or Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, for quieter, more secluded shores.
It’s easy enough to spend the entirety of a trip to South Beach face-down on a beach towel, but that would mean missing out on the city’s other offerings. The famous art-deco district, with its iconic, streamlined hotels in pastel shades, was the first 20th-century neighborhood to be recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Every morning at 10:30, local experts from the Miami Design Preservation League lead a 90-minute walking tour that highlights the neighborhood’s signature architecture.