In South Miami Beach’s Art Deco neighborhood, the sherbet-colored buildings and neon hotel signs reveal a Miami that never left the 1920s, '30s, and '40s. Built in 1937, the whitewashed and intricately carved Hotel St. Augustine seamlessly blends into this retro world. Originally, the building's designers conceived it as a spa before its owners renovated the space as a hotel that feels like a spa. Gauzy white curtains, cypress trees, and elegant brick walkways throughout the hotel exude a peaceful feeling the moment you step through the lobby doors.
There are only 24 rooms in this highly lauded boutique hotel, which has been mentioned by Elle, Vogue Italia, and Travel + Leisure. A blond-wood platform bed and understated natural décor fill the loft-style superior queen rooms. Inside spacious marble bathrooms, a glass-enclosed, European-style steam shower features multiple jets and a waterproof speaker for turning up the radio and air-violining along to Mozart’s 4th Symphony while scrubbing. Before exploring the city, swing by the hotel’s complimentary continental breakfast for coffee, pastries, fruit, and juice.
Miami Beach, Florida: Art-Deco Architecture and Historical Beaches
Jutting out into the Atlantic east of Miami proper, Miami Beach contains the world’s largest collection of art-deco structures. Between 1923 and 1943, hundreds of houses, hotels, and apartments were built in this symmetrically linear style, best appreciated on a guided art-deco walking tour. Knowledgeable guides lead 90-minute tours of the buildings each morning, leaving from the Art Deco Welcome Center.
The Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, a small, undeveloped island off the coast of Miami, was once Miami’s only designated beach for African Americans during segregation. The city closed it in 1982, but the beach reopened in 2008 after adding an antique carousel, an old-fashioned train ride, and nature trails along its sandy shoreline.