If there's one thing that Miami Beach has more of than sun and sand, it's motels. For those who would rather avoid the hassle of struggling through the lobby of a big hotel — especially with luggage or a gaggle of kids — there are plenty of beachside abodes that still offer mom-and-pop service, free parking and coffee in the office. You don't have to bust your budget to have a vacation on the seashore.
Ocean Breeze Hotel
The Ocean Breeze used to be a Motel Super 8 and it really is a motel rather than a hotel, with only two floors of rooms circling the outdoor pool and an adjoining three-story building. It is just across the street from the beach and quite near the action on Collins Ave. There are a lot of restaurants and convenience stores in the neighborhood and all rooms have fridges, so you can save a buck or two by stocking up on drinks and snacks. The rooms are quite nice and the pool is small but clean. Bring your own beach towels.
If you're looking for a fun motel (even though it's called a hotel) in the art deco district of Miami Beach, the Aqua will fit the bill. The rooms are modern, bright and cheery, with little avant garde decorating touches here and there and lighting that's right out of "Miami Vice." There's no pool or restaurant, but there is a nice little bar in the lobby and the desk will supply a proper beach towel when you're ready to head for sand and surf. Even the loft suites are inexpensive and with the money you save you can walk over to The Delano to sip a pricey sunset cocktail and do some people-watching.
The oceanfront Days Inn is a pleasant surprise for vacationers seeking the convenience of a motel with the service of a larger hotel. There is an on-site restaurant, a bar and a lovely terrace that's perfect for taking in the view while enjoying breakfast. The spacious rooms are very clean and many have ocean views. Just a few miles from South Beach and the art deco district, this family-friendly motel also is just steps from the beach.
Haddon Hall is a terrific, small, family-operated establishment in the middle of the art deco district. The rooms surround the Olympic-size pool in traditional motel fashion and many of them still have old-school deco tile bathrooms. If you are traveling with kids, you'll find the complimentary games, books and videos in the lobby to be quite a bonus. There is no restaurant on site, but Jerry's Deli is next door and is open 24/7.
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