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Miami Beach Art Deco Hotels

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South Beach's Art Deco district is an exciting place to spend a vacation. Art Deco Hotels, dozens of them, line up along Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue between 6th and 23rd Streets. Classic Art Deco details, such as wrap-around windows, neon signs, bas-relief friezes, and sleek lines combine with pure Florida whimsy, such as pastel colors, flamingos, and porthole windows to create a truly unique, truly Floridian design. Most of these hotels are furnished with period Art Deco pieces to complete the feel of the 1930s.

Staying in Miami Beach

Amenities vary from hotel to hotel, but many include continental breakfast, newspapers, and evening cocktails. Swimming pools are rare in this neighborhood, but the beach and the Atlantic Ocean beyond are only a short walk away. Most of the Art Deco hotels are low-rise, independently-run businesses and offer friendly, personal service. For something a little different in the center of spicy, exciting, trendy Miami Beach, an Art Deco themed hotel might be just the thing.

Miami Beach's South Beach area was first developed in the early 1900s when a bridge was built connecting the sand bar that was Miami Beach with the mainland. Real estate investors soon followed and by the 1920s, South Beach was a winter playground for wealthy northerners. Only temporarily deterred by the stock market crash in 1929, development bounced back in the 1930s with the construction of hundreds of Art Deco buildings.

Travelers are fickle, however, and by the 1970s, South Beach had deteriorated into something of a slum. There was talk of razing all of the fading Art Deco buildings to erect high-rise condos and hotels. But for the tenacity of Barbara Capitman, this might very well have happened. By founding the Miami Design Preservation League, Ms. Capitman set into motion a movement to save this neighborhood that would end with over 800 buildings being restored, all with private funding.

Film, Fashion, and Fun

South Beach today is home to fashion, film, and beautiful people from around the world. It's not unusual to see a photo shoot or a movie being made as you explore the streets of South Beach. The sunny weather, charming Art Deco architecture, and, of course, the beach make Miami Beach a very desirable location.

South Beach offers lots of activities. During the day, the action centers on the beach--a two-mile stretch with a boardwalk popular with roller-bladers, joggers, and those just out for a stroll. Across from the beach, Ocean Drive is home to all kinds of restaurants, many with cafe tables overlooking the action. Nightlife here is vibrant, spicy, and full of salsa. Clubs stay open until the wee hours of the morning here.

Shopping in South Beach is eclectic. Lincoln Road Mall, an Art Deco, mixed-use pedestrian mall is home to art galleries and artist studios, sidewalk cafes, trendy and mainstream clothing shops, and an independent movie house that specializes in first-run South American films. Along Ocean Drive, Art Deco home design stores, trendy apparel stores, and beachwear shops compete for tourists' dollars.

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