IN A NUTSHELL:
Although it’s part of the luxurious Starwood family of hotels, the W South Beach is actually a franchise owned by three partners, one of whom is an art collector. As a result, this swank, secluded-feeling W has the vibe of a living-museum, complete with a ton of books and loads of original artwork, including a funny, sweat sock wearing “GreenYarnAlien” (by Tom Friedman) that hangs from the ceiling.
There are plenty of unique spaces in and around the ground floor of the W and you’ll find a fun collection of beautiful people in all of them. Our fave is what the W calls the Grove, a densely foliaged, open-air sitting area with a distinctive Alice in Wonderland feel, courtesy of hanging birdcage lanterns, quirky furniture and hidden places to sit, chat, or make out.
ROOM WITH A VIEW:
The spacious and airy Wonderful Studio is decorated in a fun, youthful palate of white and purple with tan and black accents and is filled with conversation pieces, like a triple-tiered chandelier that is also a delicate wind chime. Plus, since each of the W’s rooms is angled at about 30%, you’ll enjoy a lovely view of the ocean from your patio.
Set aside time to meet John Thomas Evans, the extremely dapper and candid W “Insider” who gives one of the best hotel tours in the game. You’re certain to learn plenty about the W South Beach and, if you’re lucky, Evans will show you how to fold a pocket square into the shape of a flower—a sartorial skill you can pass along to your man.
The W offers a fancy Acura MDX shuttle to get you to the local haunts through a program they call the Acura Experience—make the most of it. After check out, we suggest driving away in the 2012 Buick Enclave Premium, a mid-range SUV ($44,000) that looks luxe enough to hold its own next to the endless stream of high-end cars that litter South Beach. Plus, the power lift gate will make unloading your luggage at the airport a snap.
+ The lobster roll ($24) from the W’s WET Bar & Grille bar comes with a very generous serving of chilled lump lobster meat in a warm, buttered bun—an instant winner.
+ Although the W Mule ($17) doesn’t have nearly as much of a kick as the name implies, this vodka-based drink tastes like just like watermelon—perfect for cooling off on hot, Florida days.
+ If it’s your birthday, be sure to let the W know. They’ll send up a slice of decadent chocolate cake—sinful!
+ Warning, if you pay the high prices at Mr. Chow you’ll only end up with small portions of bland Chinese food served by surly Italian waiters with unintelligible accents. Avoid the angst and try the much more interesting Dutch Restaurant across the Living Room (i.e. lobby).
SECRET RENDEZVOUS RATING:
10 out of 10. The Wonderful Studio is sleek, sexy, minimalist and pretty ideal for a little bit of naughty courtesy of a lighted and mirrored headboard, a frosted glass shower overlooking the bed, multiple reflective surfaces, a semi-private patio, and a huge shower stall easily big enough for two (or even three).
Wonderful Studio, $595 pr/night
W South Beach
2201 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL