Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Delano South Beach


Private beachfront in the heart of legendary South Beach

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Delano South Beach
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Delano South Beach


South Beach, Downtown Miami, Miami Beach

Travel Information

25 minute drive from Miami International Airport

Top Tips

Hop on one of Delano's complimentary bicycles and head to the Virginia Key Mountain Bike Park, or simply cycle along the beach front avenues

5-Star X-Factors

Direct access to the beach and ocean


Delano South Beach
Delano Deluxe - Miami


Delano South Beach
Delano Deluxe - Miami

Delano South Beach

This angular art deco icon on Miami’s famous South Beach strip has attracted A-listers, from Madonna to Prince, since it was conceived by Ian Schrager and Phillipe Starck in the 1990s. Credited as the first boutique party hotel, it’s still the place to see and be seen, known for its palm-fringed infinity pool - often voted the most beautiful in South Florida - as well as its private beach and spectacular spa.

Art Deco Gem

The Delano sits on the ocean front, just one block north of Lincoln Road, a popular shopping and dining street. It’s prime South Beach real estate, surrounded by the most photogenic and historic art deco architecture.

Hidden discreetly behind a row of tall trees, pulling up to the entrance of this landmark property I sense an electricity in the air. The lobby is vast, cool and dimly lit. High ceilings, columns and billowing gauze curtains separate the space into a series of exaggerated artistic vignettes. Oversized furniture and surrealist art have an Alice in Wonderland-like quality.

Walking through to the back of the hotel is a feast for the senses, accompanied by art from Dali and Gaudi, mellow club beats and scented candles. I pass a sculpture of a giant melting handbag (a la Dali); an eye-catching transparent grand piano (gifted to the hotel by musician Lenny Kravitz); and a pyrex portrait of fashion designer Karl Largerfeld. A sleek sushi and sake bar juts out at an angle, with elegant high stools and enticing plates of sashimi and rolls being prepared. The ornate Rose Bar follows: decadent, lavish, yet private, it’s outfitted with magnificent Venetian glass chandeliers.

Poolside chic

I approach the double doors to the pool at the back of the hotel and the music begins to build as the Floridian sun flashes through the door. I step outside and the journey continues. Passing through the restaurant, ahead is a green lawn, hammocks dangling from the palms. Beneath the impossibly blue Miami sky, the turquoise pool shimmers. Luminous bougainvillea hangs from every building, and a floral scent clings in the humid air. At the far end of the pool a silver table and chairs appear as though to float in the water. An oversized chess board is ready to be played. These surrealist touches are stylish rather than silly; intriguing and transportive.


Rooms in the main hotel are modern and cooling, with white-on-white furnishings. Some have ocean views that are second to none, but if you’re a light sleeper or simply looking for somewhere spacious, opt for the poolside bungalow villa. The crisp white decor extends here, across two floors, offering a sanctuary that exudes luxury in every detail.

Upstairs, the master bedroom features a super king bed, against a white leather panelled wall. Hand-felted rugs and oversized plants add the only pops of colour to this minimalist aesthetic. The bedroom opens onto the upstairs terrace. With loungers and a table and chairs it’s here we eat our meals, shaded by vines and bougainvillea. It’s an excellent spot for people-watching.

The bathroom, with Ciel Reserve bath products, is a showstopper, with an enormous Roman-inspired soaking tub and rain shower in moss green Connemara marble.

Follow the spiral staircase downstairs to the living/dining room for plush white sofas, a state of the art entertainment system and fully stocked drinks cabinet and bar. Double doors open onto a downstairs patio with day beds, tables and chairs looking onto the pool and orchard.

Rooftop spa

Agua, the rooftop spa, is a soothing retreat, offering 360 views of beautiful South Beach. Its signature treatment, the milk and honey massage, is sublime. Along with a traditional spa menu, it also offers preventative ageing procedures.

All this relaxation can work up an appetite and Leynia, the hotel’s destination restaurant, occupies a sweeping balcony overlooking the pool. It’s an Argentinian-Japanese fusion grill, and each night a large BBQ glows in the grounds as a team of chefs cook up specialities like churrasco skirt steaks and crisped crepe cones filled with smoked salmon, caviar and wasabi.

Breakfast is a simple continental spread, but the a la carte choices are creative and delicious - try the French toast stuffed with guava dulce de leche for the ultimate indulgence.

Miami, and in particular South Beach, can bring with it a frenetic, if not infectious, energy. Staying in the Delano’s bungalow offer an oasis from the action, while knowing it is, quite literally, only a few steps away.

Holly Rubenstein
Holly Rubenstein

Delano Deluxe - Miami

Miami is a three hour hop from New York, but we detoured via Tulum in Mexico to intercept a friend's 50th birthday party. We had a great time, hanging out on beautiful beaches, staying with many friends in a cluster of beach huts equipped only with mosquito nets. By the time we arrived in Miami we were looking forward to a great luxury hotel experience - and Delano was just that.

We had booked a non-smoking Deluxe Ocean-front King room on the 5th floor. Delano is chic and stylish and one of the few luxury hotels in Miami to be perfectly positioned, steps from the Ocean, right on South Beach. Our room had a sea view and was all white; and I mean, all-white. Even the M&M's left on our pillows before bedtime were white, now that's really cool.

We had arrived at around 10pm and booked an al fresco table in the Blue Door Terrace restaurant, overlooking the beautiful art deco garden. It was our first taste of Delano's exceptional service, which was, from start to (all too soon) finish, outstanding.

There are three other restaurants here, the Blue Door, under the direction of Claude Troisgros (of 3 Michelin-starred Troisgros family fame), The Brasserie and poolside.

The menu was great and varied, food delicious and the service just right. No 'breathing down the neck' but always available and attentive when needed. During dinner we made many plans of all the things we wanted to do during our short stay; see the Art Deco area, the modern art galleries, sail around the inlets, and a bit of shopping of course.

The lure of Delano

The honest truth is that we never got to do anything other than a spot of shopping. As the English saying goes "even the best laid plans can go astray..." Every time we ventured out and about, the hotel lured us back, like some sort of magnetic force! We decided that what we wanted most of all was to experience the Miami thing - hanging out at Delano! This is the perfect 'down-time' hotel with the coolest pool area imaginable; small cabanas with TV's, a beach bar, giant chess set in the garden and great service with on-tap drinks and scrummy food. At Delano they call these areas the 'Water Salon and Orchard'. With the temperature just perfect, we chose to while away the hours in this stylish sanctuary, chatting and finishing our books instead of sightseeing. When something feels this good, why fight it? Trust me, it rarely feels this good!

So, in the end, we didn't really see much of Miami apart from driving to and from the airport, or out on daily walks along the South Beach seafront, plus a bit of shopping.

Delano's new sister

We did manage to pull ourselves away from the Delano for just long enough to visit the amazing Miami Mondrian (read Jennifer Hochman-Hamm's review of the LA Mondrian). We swapped Delano for Mondrian on West Avenue for pre-dinner drinks on the fabulous concierge's recommendation. The hotel, a creation by celebrated Dutch designer, Marcel Wanders, had opened just the week before. The reception areas were seriously impressive with a surrealist vibe, and too many WOW factors to list here. Also, its location on the other side of the island from The Delano means the view of downtown Miami provided a different and amazing perspective on this style-obsessed city.

We had cocktails in the aptly named Sunset Lounge. A massive rouge Persian-styled carpet, with bright red furniture and red paisley scatter cushions, dominates the space while curtains flow from each corner. Surrounding this funky Moorish centrepiece are the alcoves for more intimate sessions - very private, though large enough for small gatherings - with a contemporary take on chandeliers providing the illumination. It all sounds very extravagant, but this is Miami!

During the day you can lounge on your rococo-red chaise overlooking the Atlantic and Biscayne Bay, sipping a slim line cocktail served by the attentive beach bar staff...

It was time for dinner and, though tempted to stop at Asia de Cuba at Mondrian, we headed for Casa Tua (recommended by a friend in London), all organised, yet again, by the extremely efficient concierge at The Delano.

Eating out

This restaurant is comprised of several rooms on the ground floor of a grand Miami villa, with further tables in the garden. These were all romantically candle-lit and even the trees had little lanterns hanging from the branches. It was a truly dazzling sight and reminded me of LA.

Inside, the white-wicker furniture contrasted with black-and-white portraits of legendary figures, hung wall-to-wall in grand Hollywood style. Rick and I both have a weakness for chef's tasting menus so we went for all 7 courses. We also always ask the sommelier to choose wines to match each course and, again, each was perfect. Don't eat lunch when you book dinner here, you'll need the extra space! Go for a run on South Beach the next morning and you won't have to feel at all guilty!

We left Miami feeling that we definitely want to return; soon. The choice of 5 star luxury hotel is definitely between Delano (but next time, an Ocean Suite or a Tower Suite!) or the funky new Mondrian. We will also stay for longer, in order to release ourselves from the magic of the Delano!

Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer