SLS Hotel South Beach
What We Love
- Borrowing a BMW from the hotel to cruise around town (just within a three-mile radius, though)
- The stairs into the pool that descend from each private cabana
- Kooky cocktails like the margarita with “salt air,” a salty foam topping
What To Know
- The hotel charges a resort fee, which includes WiFi and beach chairs
- You could bring kids but we wouldn’t advise it, unless they like getting doused in Champagne
- Rooms are somewhat small
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Pack your Louis Vuitton luggage, your Chanel shades, and your best Miley Cyrus party face—life at the SLS is all about seeing and being seen. This South Beach spot is high-energy glam, with an emphasis on the playful. The Philippe Starck design keeps things unexpected: hallways are deep black, rooms are bright white, and the lobby feels like a transplanted log cabin with its vintage camping photos and check-in desk made of oak. The “anything goes” feel extends to the pools, surrounded by daybeds and for-rent cabanas, where the glitterati spend most of the day turning flirting into an art form. If you want to splurge, book a penthouse suite; these were designed by Lenny Kravitz and go hard with the gilt, leather, and bathtubs in the bedrooms. The food options are equally fab, from the Latin-influenced treats by celeb chef José Andrés to the stellar sushi from Katsuya Uechi. (Try the caviar-topped salmon sashimi.)
In the Area
Pop on your Speedo and hit the beach, which is where South Beach denizens go to work on their tans when they’re not reclining poolside. The SLS is surrounded by other high-end hotels which have their own decadent drinking and dining options, but work up an appetite first with a surfing lesson at SoBeSurf, down at the southern end of the beach, which also rents stand-up paddle boards and kayaks. For culture vultures, the Frank Gehry-designed New Word Center concert hall is home to the respected New World Symphony and has a varied calendar of musical events. Off the beach, get your caffeine and sugar fix at Salty Donut, a 20-minute drive west, which serves Intelligentsia coffee. Then head to the Pérez Art Museum to see an expansive collection of 20th- and 21st-century art.
How to Get There
First off the hotel is beautiful and lovely for south beach. Clean room is a plus anywhere on this stretch of sand. At around $300 a night it seems to be good value. Having been at The One, The Edition, The Fountainbleu, The Delano and all the other Miami Hotspots, I felt like the SLS was right in there with them. Until I tried to order a drink at my chaise lounge on a Thursday at 11am with 10 people in total hanging out around the pool. “Hyde Beach” is a venue that has day parties like in Vegas. And if I was at a “day party” I could maybe rationalize what I’m about to say, but I was not. I am a hotel guest simply trying to order a bottle of wine or champagne while having a swim in an empty pool. No DJ, no entertainment, nothing. Well except the pool and beach menu is the most insulting ripoff I have ever seen. $400 minimum for a bottle of champagne? $130 for a bottle of Whispering Angel? $13 for a small bottle of Evian? Wait, what!!!! Apparently it’s always dumb bottle service pricing at the pool and beach here no matter what the day, and that makes this hotel the dumbest place on South Beach to stay if you want to enjoy the sun. Not even in St Tropez or St Bart’s souls pricing be that offensive at an empty pool. Literally every beach setup on south beach of high caliber hotels has a water station with cups for thirsty guests. The SLS. Hands me a small bottle of “naive” and charges $13. Insane. So insulting. The crazy part, is that the Bar Central, literally the central hub of the hotel has very fair prices and fantastic service. While I can understand ripoff pricing at a “pool party” for those who want to be at one, there is no excuse for that pricing on the beach or for guests who want a drink by the pool the other 6 days a week where there is no “pool party”. For that this place is a zero. Another reason to dump by Bonvoy card and choose a new resort to favor.
1. Dinner at bazaar mar was truly fantastic.
2. Pool party/situation was as over the top as advertised!
3. Poolside villa was well designed for couples!
1. The entire situation around late checkout/showers etc is the worst I have ever experienced in a premium priced resort hotel. One unisex shower in the gym. No hot water. No towels. Long, angry crowd waiting in line. The experience took 3 (and could have been 4) stars off of the weekend experience.
2. Beyond the one shower, the basement gym is pitiful in every regard.
For the rack rate of a night stay at the SLS South Beach (my second time there) I was disappointed that other than the pool duck being painted, not one thing had been upgraded or added. Seems like they are just taking money out of the place.
For example, most of the pool lounges are moldy and torn and the rooms are worn and getting dated.
To add insult to injury, my room was right next to the elevator which was constantly banging causing me to go to the Walgreens and buy ear plugs. Despite going to the front desk three times I was told "we are investigating" which means in translation, "I don't have time for you and don't really care". They promised to call me and either relocate me or solve the problem - they never called and never fixed it.
Other than the front desk, the service staff were awesome and made sure we were taken care of. The pool party is epic and free to access if your a hotel guest.
I would suggest anyone considering the SLS take a hard look at other beachfront options like the new 1 Hotel before booking.
2nd trip to the SLS and even better than the first.
**Special thanks to Zaita at the front desk for making our stay out of the world!
Can’t recommend the SLS (and Zaita) enough, and be sure try their freshly made yogurts!
I love the sls hotel I’ve been in different location, and I enjoyed every single time . Comfortable bed easy access to the beach and local restaurant, can wait to enjoy my vacation.
Let the vacation start