The Most Luxurious Hotels in Florida According to JS Editors
The Sunshine State attracts over 116 million visitors each year and has hotels to suit every type of traveler. For luxury seekers, the best of the best lie along the coasts, where the ocean, bay, and Gulf views dominate the resort experience. Read on for our picks for the most luxurious hotels in Florida, including a megabucks mansion steps from South Beach, and a new grand-dame on the rapidly changing Emerald Coast.
The Villa Casa Casuarina, Miami
Sleep in the former home of Gianni Versace at Villa Casa Casuarina, the fashion designer's magnificent mansion turned 10-villa hotel overlooking Miami’s South Beach. Dating to the 1930s, Versace bought the property in 1992 and lavished the interiors in his opulent style, with frescoed ceilings, mosaic-adorned fountains, and a swimming pool finished with tiles of 24-carat gold. Today, the 10 villas are available as One-Bedroom Suites, Superior Suites, and Exceptional Suites, all with Versace’s custom furnishings, from the bespoke double king-size bed to the Italian marble bathrooms. Many have private balconies overlooking Ocean Drive, the pool, or gardens. The signature restaurant, Gianni’s, serves decadent Italian and Mediterranean fare in a formal indoor/outdoor setting; expect old-school dishes like branzino with tomato confit and wagu filet mignon with truffled pommes puree, as well as Tsar Imperial Kaluga caviar by Petrossian. For a dose of relaxation, the in-house V Spa by Nail Republic offers signature massages, hammam cleansing treatments, and a Vichy hydrotherapy body scrub.
Costa d'Este Beach Resort and Spa, Vero Beach
Two hours north of Fort Lauderdale in Vero Beach, Costa d’Este is Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s beachfront playground on Florida’s Treasure Coast. In a midcentury-modern gem, the hotel is all curved lines and porthole windows, with 94 guestrooms and suites done up with simple stone floors and dark wood headboards that extend up the wall and across the ceiling. Most have private balconies or patios overlooking the ocean or manicured grounds. At the heart of the property, a narrow pool draws the eye out to the white-sand beach and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. Admire it from one of the lounge chairs or over cocktails at the next door Cabana Bar. Open from 11 a.m. until late, the lunch menu is a crowd-pleasing mix of sandwiches, salads and share platters, and there’s a daily happy hour from 4 - 6 p.m. with $6 cocktails. For heartier eats, the Wave Kitchen and Bar dishes up classic bistro fare, from Florida grouper with lobster tomato sauce to Black Angus beef four ways. The pampering spa is open seven days a week for massages, facials, body treatments, and more.
The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
The most decadent of Sarasota sleeps, this 11-acre estate overlooking Sarasota Bay is known for its guests-only beach club on Lido Key, the world-class spa, and 18-hole championship golf course. The oversized guestrooms (starting at 425 square feet) complement the waterfront setting, and done up in shades of pale blue and seafoam green, all with private balconies overlooking the marina or resort grounds. The four dining options include the fun-loving Jack Dusty restaurant, a showcase of the Gulf Coast’s fresh seafood, and the welcoming Golf Club Grille. Around three miles away on Lido Key (accessible by a complimentary shuttle), the sunset-ready Ridley’s Grill serves a punchy menu of fresh sandwiches, fish specialties, and ceviches, while the rustic Lido Key Tiki Bar is a resort institution serving colorful cocktails and “handhelds” (grab-and-go sandwiches like a mahi-mahi BLT and fish tacos) with gorgeous Gulf of Mexico views. For sporty types, there are three tennis courts (two at the golf club, one at the hotel), a bayside pool, and state-of-the-art gym. Parents can take advantage of the Ritz Kids’ Club and sneak in a massage at the sprawling spa.
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Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort
A 443-room luxury sleep within the gates of Walt Disney World Resort, the Four Seasons Resort Orlando offers an upscale escape from the kitsch of the amusement park. The big ticket attractions are all just a shuttle ride away, but there’s plenty to entertain the whole family within the resort: the five-acre Explorer Island waterpark for the junior jetset, plus a spa, tennis courts, and golf club for parents. On the dining front, expect flavors from around the world, including Italian favorites at Ravello, Cuban cuisine at Plancha, and Southern-inspired fare at PB&G. Rooms are enormous family-focused affairs, with a minimum of 500 square feet of space (enough for two adults and two children) and marble bathrooms with double vanities and soaking tubs or standalone showers. In King rooms, there are Queen-size sofa beds, while Double Double rooms can also accommodate a crib. For a memorable stay, book the Park View Room and enjoy the nightly fireworks display from your private furnished terrace.
The Miami Beach EDITION
Just north of the South Beach fray, the Miami Beach EDITION is a one-stop play zone for sun seekers, party lovers, and families alike. Located on a three-and-a-half-acre plot fronting its private stretch of sand, the main building is an Art Deco gem dating to the 1950s and much of the original design work is still on brilliant display in the high-ceilinged lobby and curved outdoor pool. A second pool just below the hotspot Matador Room has a more grown-up vibe, with sleek sun loungers arranged around its perimeter. The outdoor movie enclave and subterranean ice rink that turns into a neon-lit disco after hours add a playful vibe that's in sync with Miami's party-ready reputation. A fully staffed beach club gives you all the beach time you need, but it’s hard to resist the hotel’s tropically-planted grounds and top restaurants. Try the alfresco cafe Tropicale for simple sandwiches, salads, and cocktails in the sunshine; the light-filled Market at the Edition for hearty breakfast dishes and all-day grazing, and make a reservation well in advance for a table at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s fantastic Matador Room, an ode to creative Latin cuisine. Guestrooms are done up with a delicate design touch — all cream and taupe shades, light natural wood, and crisp white linens — with views over the city, resort grounds, or Atlantic Ocean.
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Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection
In the Florida Keys archipelago, this much-anticipated new resort made its debut in fall 2016. Since then, it’s emerged as a destination standout for its fourteen-and-a-half acre beachfront plot, lauded seafood restaurant, robust watersports programs (including a 23-slip marina), and kids’ club. The 177 guestrooms and suites channel the tropical setting in a beachy palette of creams and sky blues, all with seating areas, ensuite bathrooms, and views of the resort of twinkling Florida Bay. Suites are the pick for families, with interconnecting room configurations and mini fridges for early-morning snacking. The beachfront freshwater pool is the unofficial hub of the resort, with easy access to the watersports activities including paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling and more. The four bars and restaurants have, naturally, a seafood focus, with a daily changing line caught whole fish at laid-back Sol by the Sea, ceviche and rum cocktails at always-popular Las Olas, and a kids’ menu and grown-up cocktails at the alfresco Sand Bar. The resort’s signature restaurant, Marea, is a big-night-out destination for classic steak and seafood fare, plus seasonal chowders and ceviches, and family-style sides for the table.
The Henderson, A Salamander Beach Resort and Spa
Between Pensacola and Panama City on Florida’s Emerald Coast, the Henderson is the new grande dame of the Gulf Coast, with 170 guestrooms, four restaurants, a spa, and access to a wide golden-sand beach. Opened in November 2016, the resort made an instant splash with its polished beach style that’s all coral blues, dark hardwoods, and rattan-accent furnishings. Accommodation options range from standard guestrooms to apartment-like lofts — one- and two-bedroom units that are perfect for families or groups, with full kitchens, living areas, and resort or Gulf Coast views. Daytimes here are all about the gin-clear sea, whether you discover a talent for kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding, rent a jet-ski or fishing cruiser, or simply set up camp at one of the adults-only pool cabanas or beside the family-friendly pool. Alternatively, let kids enjoy the in-house Poppy’s Kids’ Camp and retro ice cream joint, Sprinkles, while adults relax at the spa, try and alfresco yoga class, or book a round at one of the nearby 18-hole golf courses. Foodies have their pick of four restaurants and bars, including dock-to-table seafood favorites at bayside Primrose, casual cafe fare at the Beach Cantina, and wraps, salads, and cocktails at Sea Level Poolside Bar & Grill.
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