Top Miami Ft. Lauderdale Hotels | Reviews

Miami | Four Seasons

A very modern high rise in the Brickel area adjacent to downtown. Clean lines. Minimalist. Great feel for the location with outrageous views and uber-sports facilities.

  • Occupies the top floors of South Florida’s highest building for killer views.
  • Guest have the use of the massive Sports Club/LA facility. A gym rat’s dream.
  • The swimming pool is equally huge. Invite 200 of your best friends or swim laps in the early AM.
  • Rooms are big and very comfortable. Light. Nothing too trendy.
  • If booked through our agency, you’ll receive a fabulous free breakfast,  upgrade if available and likely another very nice amenity. Preferred Partner program.
  • Personally inspected by Josh Friedman in November 2010.

Miami | Mandarin Oriental

  • I haven’t seen this hotel but I understand it’s a very hot spot, a bit trendier than the Four Seasons and not too far from it either.
  • If booked through our agency, you’ll receive a fabulous free breakfast,  upgrade if available and likely another very nice amenity.

Miami Beach | The Setai

South Beach’s super cool Asian inspired oasis of sophistication and tranquility. Like the Four Seasons, outrageous views in this sexy skyscraper hotel with huge 1 and 2 bedroom units.

  • The space in the studio, 1 and 2 bedroom unites is a huge plus for those wanting to entertain or just spread out.
  • The dark wood floors and wall of glass creates a killer aesthetic.
  • The lobby bar is stunning and where I’d be hanging out. Or maybe at the Balinese courtyard.
  • The restaurant transports you to 19th century Shanghai with an unusual breakfast buffet with about 30 choices.
  • 3 simple rectangular swimming pools and a restaurant on the beach.
  • If booked through our agency, you’ll receive a fabulous free breakfast,  upgrade if available and likely another very nice amenity.
  • Spa suites for 2 that are perfect for a couple of blissful hours. Small gym as well.
  • Personally inspected by Josh Friedman in November 2010.

Miami Beach | The Ritz Carlton South Beach

Formerly the swanky 1950s di Lido, Ritz added a few floors, ocean front balconies, 2 wings where once stood pool side cabanas and magnificently restored the lobby with a modern flair. I think I’d just live in the lobby and go up the Club Lounge to enjoy the view and get a snack.

  • Directly on the beach and steps from all the action. From nightlife to Lincoln Road shopping.  A short cab ride to Joe’s Stone Crabs.
  • Club Level lounge has 5 food spreads a day and floor to ceiling windows with sweeping ocean and north city views.
  • Poolside cabanas available to rent for the day.
  • The rooms are a little on the smaller side and more conservative than the Setai.
  • If booked through our agency, you’ll receive a fabulous free breakfast,  upgrade if available and likely another very nice amenity. Preferred Agency.
  • Personally inspected by Josh Friedman in November 2010.

Miami Beach | The Villa by Barton G

Wow! This is a WOW hotel and one of the most unique hotels anywhere in the world. Really. And I’ve been a lot of places. Formerly Gianni Versace’s residence on Ocean Drive, it recently opened more than 10 years after the designer’s death.

  • [for now i cannot recommend it due to service issues. too bad.]

Ft. Lauderdale | The Atlantic


I think if you’re going to take a cruise out of Port Everglades, you might as well enjoy a bit of the beach before you go. This is a little town – just a few blocks long — and has a really nice beach. This is a luxury boutique hotel and it’s great.

  • This hotel is right in the middle of it all towards the northern end of downtown.
  • The lobby is New York chic (read black) so it’s a nice change from the overly white and sea shell studded Ritz Carlton.
  • Service levels were moderately good, but my quick trip to the Ritz was impressive.
  • Rooms are huge. Bathrooms are massive. Views great. Sheets, towels and products all top. Nice clean look.
  • Gym is nice, modern and big enough – and sunny! Spa is across the way.
  • Pool is crowded and rather small. I’d go to the beach.
  • Our exclusive rates include upgrades and breakfast which is served either inside or outside across from the beach. Very nice but noisy due to cars.
  • None of the hotels are on the beach  – the beach is on the beach. So you have to cross over. No big deal, but the traffic can be a bit noisy so the higher up the better.

The Ritz Carlton | Ft. Lauderdale

Opened as the St. Regis just a few years ago. It’s big and reminds me of a typical luxury beach hotel.  It’s nice but nothing out of the ordinary.  Pool area is really nice – big with lots of space for sunning – and has an ocean view. The little service we experienced in the lobby (trying to find the bar) was excellent. Very friendly and over-delivered. Bartender was OK.

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing & the ultimate in service

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco’s financial district
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with casto, a virtuoso member agency

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Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler.  His personal  relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies often allows for exclusive amenities and VIP status. 

 If you’d like to learn more about luxury travel and our services, please contact Josh Friedman Luxury Travel in San Francisco’s Financial District via phone at 415.987.0372  or email: josh [at] joshfriedmantravel [dot] com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, too.

associated with casto, a virtuoso member and four seasons preferred partner, 500 sansome st., san francisco, ca 94111 cst#1008439-10

[this was originally published in december, 2010]