The Standard Spa & Hotel
Miami's Standard is a spa first and hotel second. Very few guests stay here without enjoying a treatment or two. The hotel is ideally located on Belle Isle, a five-minute drive from the party central that is South Beach. So you can enjoy yourself there and then escape back to the hotel for some peace and quiet.
How they rate it
This is a hotel that screams Miami. "The pool scene at The Standard really is rather beautiful, and people really do loll about as if in an ad campaign," says Katie Bowman in The Sunday Times Travel Magazine. The spa is "one of the best we've ever seen" and guests are free to use the various facilities even if they are not having a treatment.
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"It's not a bad hotel either, though rooms can feel a bit spartan" because the hotel used to be the '50s Lido Spa, and retains its motel style.
The bar/restaurant overlooks Biscayne Bay and is "buzzing". Dishes include chargrilled octopus and mussels la grecque with fries.
A double room costs from £148, room only. See www.standardhotels.com or call 00 1 305 673 1717.
If you would rather be closer to the action on the South Beach, check in to the Hotel Astor just two blocks away. It was built in 1936 and retains some original art-deco features including geometric floors and curved trimmings.
How they rate it
The current owners have introduced an ocean-liner theme with polished chrome, portholes and quirky lights. These updates have "chipped away at the authentic historic appeal, but with glamourous competition on all sides, renovations are a necessary evil", says Stephanie Plentl in The Sunday Telegraph.
The rooms are simply decorated using neutral tones and blonde oak and the bathrooms are a good size. Each room has an iPod docking station and "bountiful mini bar". When booking, opt for either room 107 or 308 as they are the best. And make time to relax in the "peaceful patio garden", which has a fountain and lanterns.
The hotel has a Cuban restaurant serving tapas, cocktails and Cuban dishes. The menu options include crispy skirt steak with tomato chimichurri and pistachio-crusted guava cheesecake.
A double room costs from £93. See www.hotelastor.com or call 001 310 531 8081.
What the travel writers are saying
Europe has been "invaded by a bunch of superstylish hotels and guesthouses", says Susan d'Arcy in The Sunday Times. Here are three of the best.
Checking into the Seven Hotel in Paris "is like walking into a supercool sci-fi movie". The rooms are full of perspex, backlit in psychedelic colours and have beds that "appear to levitate (psst, they don't really, they're attached to one wall)". The televisions even release a range of perfumes depending on your channel choice. A double room costs from £126 (sevenhotelparis.com).
Cap Rocat in Mallorca is a 19th-century clifftop fortress situated on a private peninsula surrounded by a marine reserve. "Interiors draw on its military past" with bullet casings for door handles and coffee tables propped up by canons. "Rooms are vast and gloriously low-key, and there are acres of hidden public areas for romantic skirmishes." Prices for double rooms start at £270 (caprocat.com).
The Martinhal Beach Resort in Portugal is "that holy grail a stylish hotel that's genuinely child-friendly". The seafront cabins are ultra-smart and activities include horse-riding and sand-yachting. Doubles cost from £150 (martinhal.com).
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