The Betsy was pretty much the last Georgian-style hotel to be built on Ocean Drive and was called The Betsy Ross at the time. “Unique” is the right word to describe the property and its pre-deco plantation style. The absence of pool parties, nightclubs and celebrity DJs makes The Betsy stand out from its attention-starved neighbour hotels and a recent renovation has turned it into one of the best choices in South Beach.
I was there one month ago and will describe in detail how it went.
I have been to Miami a couple of times and this last visit was a totally different experience, very unique. It was a pleasure to stay at this amazing boutique property, and the stay was beyond my expectations. Book your room at The Betsy here.
The Betsy’s expansion joined the work of two architects who are widely recognized as leaders in the creation of Miami Beach: L. Murray Dixon, who designed The Betsy Ross in 1941, the area’s sole example of Florida Georgian architecture in Colonial style, and Henry Hohauser, known for his quintessential Art Deco styling who designed the immediately adjacent building, formerly known as The Carlton Hotel, in 1937. Some people consider Hohauser and Dixon the principal architects of Art Deco in South Beach. The works of these two legendary men are joined by a bridge whose design is already being celebrated as an important new piece of Miami Beach public art.
The Colonial wing comprises the main entrance, the beautiful Lobby Salon, the Lobby Bar, the LT Steak & Seafood, the B Bar lounge, the Ocean Front Deck, the Wellness Garden & Spa, the Writer’s Room, a historic swimming pool and 58 rooms (19 suites).
The Art Deco wing faces Collins Avenue and features The Conservatory, Library, a Work Room, The Gallery, the Skyline Deck, a Rooftop Pool with 360 degree views as well 70 additional rooms and suites, 30 of them with balconies.
I found it very special to stay in such a historical place and it made me happy to see how the hotel is able to mix and match modern and traditional features. The building is elegant and classy yet very up to date with new tendencies. Love the proximity with the beach as well, of course.
Staff is super double triple friendly and make you feel at home. I totally love how graceful everybody was and how well the team received and accommodated us.
Breakfast is not included and it is possible to order an all American breakfast or a la carte. We had a mix of these options and it was always very tasty. If the weather allows, it can be nice taking a seat outside to watch the beach and palm trees. Nevertheless, some days it was too hot for me and I decided to enjoy the fresh air conditioning inside.
There are rooms and suites in the Colonial and in the Art Deco Wing, as I wrote above. We chose to stay in the Art Deco Wing in a Superior Double Balcony Suite and it was wonderful.
We had a huge and comfy suite with a large balcony + nice view to the atrium and a living room. The marble bathroom was all white beach style with a spacious walk-in glass enclosed shower. Amenities are never ending products by Malin + Goetz, which I love. Last but not least, we had a library – so so nice!!!
I recommend staying in the Art Deco Wing as the rooms are newer. Get one of the suites. 🙂
Top location in Miami. In front of the beach, in the Art Deco district, at Ocean Drive. Walking distance to many of the trendy restaurants and bars in Miami. For destinations further away, we used Uber because we didn’t rent a car this time and it was never too expensive.
Right in front of the hotel you will find a Starbucks cafe and, most important, bikes for rent – our favourite means of transport in Miami Beach. Biking is simply the best way to explore the beach and enjoy the city.
There is a nice park full of huge palm trees in front of The Betsy. I particularly loved that view.
Vallet Service is offered by the hotel.
EAT & DRINK
– LT Steak & Seafood
This was for sure my favourite restaurant at The Betsy and we had dinner at LT twice. It is an American restaurant from award-winning Chef Laurent Tourondel, serving a seasonally-inspired menu which showcases a deep appreciation for the local landscape, combining beloved aspects of steak and seafood houses together under one roof.
We tried some amazing dishes like the spicy tuna and the best caesar salad with kale I have ever tried on earth. Yummy! The atmosphere is also very nice and elegant. It is possible to dine while listening to jazz on some evenings.
Breakfast is served in this restaurant (or outside). Great setting.
– Lobby Bar
The perfect and most inviting place for cocktails and a glass of wine. The atmosphere is WOW and the interior very unique and pretty. There was live music every day during our stay, which was wonderful. The wine selection is astonishing. Check the menus here.
– The Conservatory
Sophisticated lounge in the Art Deco wing. Ideal for some expresso, tea, cocktail and small bites.
A very cool place to enjoy a drink with an amazing view of the Atlantic ocean. Good during sunset but not as busy as the Lobby Bar.
There are two iconic swimming pools at The Betsy. One in the courtyard of the Colonial wing, which is historic and designed by Murray Dixon and another pool on the rooftop, recently built and offering an amazing view over South Beach.
Both pools are charming, but I have to admit that we spent most of our time at the new swimming pool. It is fantastic to see how it was constructed/added to the building. It is possible to order food and drinks – we tried yummy tacos and sipped some wine while watching the sunset. Missing it!
The hotel offers beach chairs, umbrellas and beach service in a very cute corner of the beach, not very crowded as well. We often started our day there and went for a walk.
SPA & WELLNESS
The Spa at The Betsy is Miami Beach’s only Outdoor Spa. Located at the rooftop Ocean Deck, The Wellness Garden & Spa is designed to soothe the senses with Zen-inspired wood, stone, bamboo and natural fibers – all shaded by retractable sails and private cabanas. Unique spa treatments and massage therapies derived from food and plant-based ingredients are offered in the tranquil rooftop oasis or in the privacy of a room.
All Wellness Garden spa therapies incorporate paraben-free products derived from natural ingredients, including sugar plums, blueberries and mandarins. Creative signature therapies include a Wood Stone Ritual treatment with chilled stones, an indulgent Coconut Hot Towel facial and a host of massages, body treatments, manicures and pedicures suited for both men and women.
There are Yoga Sunrise classes on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30.
The Fitness Center (you guys know I didn’t use it) is very well equipped and personal trainers can be booked in advance, also for training at the beach.
ARTS & CULTURE
Arts and culture are taken seriously at The Betsy. During our stay we met a couple of artists and there were two exhibitions in the hotel. The events calendar is updated every week.
The live jazz sessions were very inviting and we had some amazing nights in the Lobby while listening to great music (there is no cover charge and no minimal drinks order).
Finally, the Writer’s room pays homage to the many writing rooms that existed in pre war hotels where guests recorded memories and linked to home. The room has a desk donated to The Betsy by the Hyam Plutzik Centennial Committee to commemorate the poet’s sojourn as a solider in Florida during the 1940’s on his way to war. Born 100 years ago, and a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist before his death, Hyam Plutzik is the father of The Betsy Hotel owner, Jonathan Plutzik. More than 400 working writers have stayed at The Betsy so far and used the desk.
The hotel is also celebrated for its philanthropy programmes – Thumbs up!!!
Dogs of all sizes are welcome at The Betsy and we have seen a couple around the hotel, which was a very pleasant surprise. There is a fee of US$150 a night (for each dog) – half of which goes to dog shelters in South Beach and Zimbabwe.
Owner + dog massages are available. Yes, this means that you dog also get as message and some treats.
A good concierge makes a difference in a hotel. We had Paul taking care of us and it went really well – he was able to reserve all the restaurants and to guarantee we had the tables we asked for. He knows Miami really well and has been in the business for more than 20 years. He understood us and our needs within seconds and we were very grateful to receive his advice.
After reading so many positive reviews from respected magazines and websites, I had high expectations towards The Betsy. And it went so well.
It is a very unique hotel, full of personality and I am sure that there is nothing similar around Miami. It has an exclusive personal feeling mixed with an intellectual atmosphere. Our room was very nice and comfortable, we loved the restaurant, the jazz sessions and I would definitely return.
The Betsy is a beautiful Small Luxury Hotel of the World.
I hope you enjoyed the read and that you are traveling with me at @Marineira on Instagram! Santé!