Can you find a real hotel bargain in sexy South Beach, Miami? Can you get a nice hotel room there for $120 or less per night?
Yes, but it depends on your expectations and on your timing.
In much of the United States, you can get a decent hotel room for $120 a night or less, but there are some places where bargains are few and far between. This is almost always due to a combination of high demand and real estate scarcity. If you’re in a hotspot where the number of rooms is limited, be prepared to pay up. In nearly any destination, however, when bookings are down, so are prices. When demand is high, rates rise accordingly.
South Beach, Miami is a great example of what happens when you have a surge of visitors sometimes in a place with limited real estate. Surrounded by water on three sides, with development laws limiting new high-rises in the historic Art Deco district, the area often gets full of guests without trying very hard. If you wait until the last minute to book (like I did) and there’s a big convention going on like there was when I arrived the last time I stayed there, the pickings can be slim. This year though, it’s a different story.
Search the South Beach Rates and Then Look at Reviews
Even in those high-demand times though, if you’re not terribly choosy, you can still find plenty of rooms in prime areas of South Beach going for $120 a night or less. In a really busy week before the Covid-19 travel slump hit, I could easily find 10 or more Miami Beach hotel deals for under $100 at multi-site search engine HotelsCombined.com.
In my case, I ended up at Island House Hotel for $89 per night. Was it spotless and shiny fresh? No, but I wasn’t going to spend much time in my room anyway and the essentials were there: fridge, hot water, A/C, a comfy bed, and a decent breakfast selection included in the rates. It was in a prime location near everything. Since almost no hotels are directly on the beach here anyway, it worked well.
Only a few guests were Americans. Others were from Germany, Holland, Australia, China, and Japan, which makes things more interesting. South Beach in Miami is kind of odd in that it attracts as many foreign visitors as domestic ones. What that means now, when few people are traveling internationally, is that you’ve got a lot more places to pick from in this sub-$120 range, dozens of them.
The good news is, South Beach Miami is not an area of soulless high-rises and motel chains. It’s full of Art Deco buildings with character that, if nothing else, look cool from the outside. In most of them, only a few rooms face the street, so the noise isn’t all that bad. Plus South Beach is one of those places, like Playa del Carmen in Mexico, where nearly everyone going to the beach is walking there a few blocks anyway. Only a few luxury hotels face the ocean (like The National Hotel that we reviewed before that’s out of this price range).
So unless you’re staying for a week and will really spend a lot of time in the room instead of out having fun, you can get a decent place to sleep, freshen up, and party for between $60 and $120 a night. That’ll get you all the basics, plus usually Wi-Fi and breakfast. Factor in expensive parking anywhere though—generally $20 and up per day. It’s not worth having a car in South Beach if you can avoid it.
This being a city where lots of friends come together, you can find triples and even a hostel. Some places are quieter, some have their own rowdy bar. Ask around or read reviews carefully.
Not Many Chain Hotels in South Beach
This is not a beach location where you have much of a selection if you’re cashing in chain loyalty points, at least not below 20th Street in South Beach. It’s mostly independent hotels, especially at the low end. The only chain ones I found below $120 were an Autograph Collection property and Spanish chain Iberostar. A Hampton Inn has rates starting at $140 with fees.
There are now three Kimpton hotels in this area though: Angler’s, Surfcomber, and Palomar. So if you want to earn or redeem IHG points at a higher budget, those are a good bet. There’s also a Wyndham Grand and tk in the heart of the action. Further north though there’s a Holiday Inn, a W Hotel, a Loews, and a Ritz-Carlton.
The photos in this post give you a decent sense of the Miami architecture you’ll see all around. A of the hotels featured here are on Ocean Drive, which is just across a park from the beach, but most are on or right off of Collins or Washington.
Here are seven highlighted hotels near the beach that are $120 or less per night as I write this in what is normally high season in 2021. Weekdays are generally cheaper than weekends. Search your dates and get the full scope on South Beach hotel bargains here. Or see the map for hotels and apartment rentals.
Best South Beach Miami Hotels for $120 or Less Per Night
We can’t guarantee you’ll see the same rates when you book and you have to watch out for gotcha fees on top, but here are the “sweet spot” hotels that are a good value and have solid customer reviews. They’re not the only South Beach hotel bargains around, but this gives you a good selection of where to start.
Catalina Hotel and Beach Club
Sometimes dropping below $100 a night for a standard after including all the extra fees, this hotel with a pool that’s just a block from the beach is between 17th and 18th. It’s a solid Miami Beach value for the price, with aggregate reviews in the mid-70s out of 100, good for this price level. Check your dates here.
This Art Deco classic on Washington Street gets good reviews from customers and is close to dozens of restaurants and bars. Pay close attention to the extra charges though: Booking.com will list rates at an enticing $79, but then the fine print says “+$39 in taxes and fees.” So it barely makes the cut for sneaking in below $120 since the “free” breakfast, happy hour, and WiFi really aren’t. See details here.
Hotel La Flora
This 31-room, well-maintained hotel on Collins Ave. gets the highest customer reviews for any of the South Beach bargain properties on Hotels.com and it’s a reasonable $90 with taxes and fees for a queen bed room. Sometimes you can upgrade to a suite and still squeak in under our $120 limit. Check rates here.
This classy Art Deco property looks a lot more expensive inside than it is, with a luxury level lobby and an Instagram-worthy swimming pool. It also has a fitness center and a restaurant. It’s far enough from the main commercial area to be a bit quieter, but close to the convention center and only about a 15-minute walk to the biggest concentration of restaurants.
Unlike some others on the list, they won’t pickpocket you with a silly “resort fee.” You just pay the rate plus taxes, which can make this one of the best hotel deals in South Beach. See our detailed Albion Hotel review here.
You can often get a deluxe queen or deluxe king room here for under $120 including all taxes and fees. Located on Collins Ave. between 12th and 13th, this property is only about a five-minute walk to the sandy beach of South Florida and guests have been giving it high marks since 2009. There’s a restaurant and bar on site, plus room service, but no pool–just a courtyard outside. See more info here.
The Fritz Hotel
Although they hit you up with a $14 resort fee you have to add to what you see online, a standard studio at this 3-star, 22-room hotel still often comes in under $120 per night. It’s located in what most would consider the heart of South Beach, facing Lummus Park and then the water. So stroll across the park and put your feet in the sand. The rooftop pool has ocean views and there’s outdoor dining/drinking out front. Check rates for your dates here.
Winter Haven Autograph Collection Hotel
This 4-star Miami hotel only gets in below our $120 mark some of the time if you factor in taxes and fees, and that’s for the non-refundable rate so you have to be sure about it. I’m including it because it’s a Marriott property though, which matters if you belong to their loyalty program and have points to earn or cash in, or you have their credit card to get the bonus. You can actually see the water from some of the rooms and a terrace, plus the rate includes the use of bicycles and beach umbrellas. Check your dates here.
How about you? Have you found a great hotel value by the beach in Miami? Tell us in the comments!
Article and most photos by editor Tim Leffel, author of The World’s Cheapest Destinations and Make Your Travel Dollars Worth a Fortune. Albion and Winter Haven photos courtesy of the hotels.