Luxury hotels in Florida Main

Florida has hotels to satisfy party goers, romance seekers, island lovers and design cravers. There are over 300 resorts listed on the Visit Florida website so you are sure to find something that will make your vacation perfect. If you are after the best luxury hotels in Florida, here is a list of my hand picked selection.

1. For a true Key vacation – Ocean Key Resort & Spa

Ocean Key Resort & Spa

Ocean Key Resort & Spa. Source: Hotel website

Ocean Key Resort & Spa is perhaps the most stereotypically perfect Key West holiday destination oozing luxury at every corner. Harbour-front location, marina living and fine dining at your fingertips. Fill long vacation days with watersports and tours and then end them with sunset views and postcard perfect frames. This is a place to come for true old fashioned luxury.

Rates from USD450 a night.

2. For decadent luxury – The Setai

The Setai penthouse

The Setai penthouse. Source: Hotel website

The tallest building in South Beach, the Setai stands out as possibly the most expensive and luxurious too and complements a 1930s Art Deco structure that used to house the Dempsey Vanderbilt Hotel. East meets West with details such as teak or flowing water features that seem to be taken out of a Thai spa and reminded me of The Siam in Bangkok. The suites are a home away from home and have amazing views over the sea. Relax away from the endless South Beach parties in this elegant cocoon.

Rates from USD450 a night.

3. For a slice of the Happiest Place on Earth – Waldorf Astoria Orlando

Waldorf Astoria Orlando

Waldorf Astoria Orlando. Source: Hotel website

Talking of the best luxury hotels in Florida, the list could not be complete without mention to the Happiest Place on Earth and its offering. Adults will be exuberant at this luxurious escape a bit further away from the park where they can retire to after children-filled, smile-inducing times with Minnie and Mickey. Waldorf Astoria’s legendary service and luxury standards are present across the hotel. You may add golfing at the hotel’s course to the Walt Disney themed vacation.

Rates from USD250 a night.

4. For a colonial artsy stay – The Betsy South Beach

The Betsy Spa

The Betsy Spa. Source: Hotel website

A colonial landmark of the Art Deco movement, the Betsy is a cultural take on the party-filled evenings and has a philanthropic mission to the arts and culture with live jazz, literary events and other worthy pursuits. Although smaller and less focused on pampering, there is a pool and a rooftop bar with beautiful sea views. Finished in 1942 it was renovated in 2009 and the colonial feel revamped with white shutters, a low-key design and a familiar tropical setting.

Rates from USD250 a night. 

5. For an island escape – Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

Sunset private dining at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

Sunset private dining at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa. Source: Hotel website

A true island getaway like the ones we enjoy in Asia, Little Palm Island resort & Spa can only be accessed by an hourly ferry from Little Torch Key. Once on the island, the 30 thatched roof bungalows and the sand between your toes will make sure you have a truly barefoot luxury stay with a generous serving of romance. Service is friendly and all encompassing, starting from the moment you arrive at the ferry lounge. And tips are included so you don’t need to carry anything more than sunscreen with you. Four poster beds and mosquito nets will make you feel as if you were in a remote West Indies island only much closer to mainland.

Rates from USD1,250 a night. 

6. For a Polynesian meets Caribbean getaway – Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina

Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina

Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina. Source: Hotel website

Located in upscale Islamorada Key Postcard Inn beach Resort & Marina is only 1,5h from Miami but will make you feel right in a Magnum PI episode. Tiki bars, tropical vibes and a personal feel that may take you to some lost beach in the South Seas. Marine accents make sure you know you are by the sea.

Rates from USD250 a night. 

7. For over the top luxury – Faena Hotel

Style at the Faena

Style at the Faena. Source: Hotel website

What do reds, golds and tigers have in common? They are all the elements chosen to design the Faena Hotel in Miami, a newcomer that has already left an imprint in the city of ocean blues and breezy whites. The hotel is sea facing in the hip, up and coming district of the same name. Art comes out at you from every angle and the architecture and design are one that will not leave anyone impassive. Art Deco meets Cabaret effortlessly and service is expertly delivered.

Rates from USD400 a night.

8. To mingle with celebrities and VIPs – Delano South Beach

Dining on water at the Delano

Dining on water at the Delano. Source: Hotel website

The Delano South Beach is an institution credited with bringing Miami’s South Beach back to life in the 90s, and a swarm of celebrities the likes of Madonna, and VIP service with it. Alice in Wonderland was used as the inspiration for the hotel redesigned by Philippe Starck and party is a perennial element.

What most guests don’t know is that Delano is an original Art Deco building that used to be Miami’s tallest when it opened in 1947 to house the military. It was designed by a famous Art Deco architect, Ian Schrager, and should not miss the chance to admire its tower from outside. It is not a replica made to look from that particular style, but an original part of South beach’s Art Deco past.

In case you had too many cocktails and can’t discern, yes, that strange looking chair in the reception is an authentic Salvador Dali chair, a genius that could not have found a better home for his parallel universe. The sea facing infinity pool and the flowing cabanas are a staple at South Beach hotels and a signature element of the Delano. Contrary to the buzzing socialite-filled common areas, the rooms are a quieter shade of white that blends into the blue of the ocean and the sky.

Rates from USD400 a night. 

9. For elegant class – The St Regis Bal Harbour Resort

Spectacular views at The St Regis Bal Harbour Resort

Spectacular views at The St Regis Bal Harbour Resort. Source: Hotel website

If you are not in search of party but of classy shopping, food and relaxation, the St Regis at Bal Harbour Resort is for you. Located where the likes of Chanel and Louis Vuitton have their Miami homes this is a place to get away from it all at the beach, the pool or the spa. Old World luxury and elegant service replace parties and DJs.

Rates from USD600 a night.

10. For a unique take on “anything is possible” – Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa

Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa

Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa. Source: Hotel website

Formerly a Ritz Carlton with some of its signature grandness still showing, the Eau Palm is far removed from any civilization yet a lot of Florida’s best sightseeing options like the Everglades are easily reached by hired car. Adults-only pools, swings on the balconies and couples spa rooms make this a great romance destination resort. Uniqueness sets the Eau apart and there are a lot of details that will surprise and indulge even the hardest traveler.

Rates from USD400 a night.