Historic Miami Hotels

by Mary Freeman
Miami has its share of hotels; many of which have storied pasts.

Miami has its share of hotels; many of which have storied pasts.

Pelican at Miami Beach image by painless from Fotolia.com

Florida's hot, trendsetting city, Miami, has been a tourist spot since the 1920s and 1930s when politicians and celebrities frequented the area. Between 1940 and 1942, nearly 3,000 hotel rooms were built in Miami in two years; most of the hotels were located on Collins Avenue. Many hotels have restored the Art Deco architecture and décor popular during the rise of Miami's hotel community.

Historic Hotels of America

Located on Collins Avenue, this 50-room boutique breaks away from the Art Deco style of Miami with restored Mediterranean Revival architecture. The hotel, which opened in 1928, features a central courtyard and the city's only lobby splash spa. For dining, guests can enjoy Mediterranean and Caribbean cuisine at the hotel's restaurant. The Park Central Hotel's lavender, mint green and powder blue exterior have earned the hotel the nickname, "The Blue Jewel." Built in 1937, the oceanfront, Art Deco hotel was fully restored in 1987. Today, the hotel offers rooms with iPod docking stations and custom-made period furnishings, two restaurants and a rooftop sundeck.


The Clay Hotel was home to Al Capone's gambling ring and Desi Arnaz's launching pad for the rumba. The hotel caters to budget travelers and has what Lonely Planet calls "the most beautiful hostel in America" onsite. Each of the Clay's individually designed rooms has a clean, crisp tropical aesthetic. The hotel is on Espanola Way, a Miami strip with cafes, distinctive eateries and open-air markets. Built during Miami's pre-WWII hotel boom, the Raleigh doubled as housing for troops after the war administration took over the hotel. After the war, the kosher hotel's ballroom was converted into a synagogue. The upscale, 105-room hotel has two restaurants and a historic beachfront lounge, The Oasis.


The Hotel St. Michel opened in 1926 under the name Sevilla Hotel. The European-style boutique hotel offers 28 rooms complete with authentic antiques and artwork. Chef Getano Ascione serves up rustic Italian cuisine at the hotel's restaurant. Conde Nast Traveler states that the hotel "exudes history and class," while Travel and Leisure magazine called St. Michel "Miami's best boutique hotel." Built in 1937, the Beacon Hotel has gone through many changes over the years. The small hotel added 22 rooms in 1947 and the grand lobby was converted into the Place Restaurant. After a five-year-long renovation ended in 2009, the hotel adopted a modern, chic aesthetic, with marble floors and Mascioni linens. Other than its 72 guestrooms, the Beacon has two VIP suites, which are over 500 square feet and have a separate living room with pullout sofa.

Casablanca on the Ocean

The 289-room Casablanca on the Ocean resort has welcomed guests through its doors since the 1950s. Even after a 2008 restoration, the resort retains its postwar style with statue pillars adorning the hotel's entranceway. Casablanca has both nightly and monthly rates. The hotel has an oceanfront restaurant and bar that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

About the Author

Mary Freeman is a freelance writer. She has held several editorial positions at the print publication, "The Otter Realm." She traveled throughout Europe, which ultimately resulted in an impromptu move to London, where she stayed for eight months. This life experience inspired her to pursue travel writing. Freeman received a degree in human communication from California State University.

Photo Credits

  • Pelican at Miami Beach image by painless from Fotolia.com