4-Star Baroque-Style Boutique Hotel Steps from Beach
In contrast to the usual art-deco pastels found at South Beach hotels, the Riviera Hotel South Beach’s baroque interior incorporates dark-colored walls, espresso hardwood floors, and ornate, scroll-framed mirrors. The look pays homage to Dorothy Draper, the influential 20th-century decorator famous for her anything-but-minimalist aesthetic and rococo flourishes. Inspired by Draper’s lavish interiors, the Riviera’s designers mixed and matched styles and eras, using both gold-accented paisley prints and black-and-white cowhide rugs.
Consequently, Riviera’s guest rooms feel less like a hotel and more like rooms in an ultrastylish bohemian’s posh mansion. King studio guest rooms resemble apartments with organic pillow-top mattresses and plasma TVs. One-bedroom suites surround guests in luxury with a full kitchen with granite tops, a separate living room with a sleeper sofa, and two 42-inch plasma TVs.
Outside, private cabanas, cushioned beach chairs, and potted plants and palms surround the courtyard pool. The hotel sits just steps from the beach and Collins Avenue, where you'll find many of the high-end fashion stores and rooftop lounges that have defined South Beach. For drinks, check out the hotel’s Catalina Beach Club, where complimentary cocktails are served nightly from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
South Beach: Sunny Shores, Stylish Crowds, and Buzzing Nightlife
South Beach and style go hand in hand. That’s apparent everywhere you look—from the designer swimwear worn on the beach to the trend-setting crowds filling up dance clubs. A lot of the shopping is clustered on Lincoln Road, where some especially fashionable boutiques restrict access to their high-end wares using velvet ropes. For a less-exclusive experience, head 15 minutes north of Riviera Hotel to Bal Harbour Shops, an open-air mall built on the site of World War II barracks. In addition to its two stories of designer shops and retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Versace, the complex has a plant-studded courtyard with koi ponds and fountains.
Staying in SoBe proper definitely has its advantages, including easy access to Ocean Drive. Drive down the road and you’ll see the Atlantic on one side and historical art-deco architecture on the other. At night, this is also where people roam from club to club, lured by the beats of celebrity DJs. Though most bars are on the swanky side, you can also find a few low-key piano lounges and dives hosting live bands.
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