Best Historic Hotel: With a guest registry that reads like a who's who of history crossed with an engrossing whodunit, Miami's monumental, Mediterranean revivalist-style Biltmore Hotel (tel. 800/727-1926 or 305/445-1926) opened its doors in 1926. Guests ranging from Al Capone to the duke and duchess of Windsor loved the stately hotel so much that they never left, so say those who claim the hotel is haunted. Ghosts aside, this national landmark boasts the largest hotel pool in the continental United States as well as a 300-foot bell tower modeled after the Cathedral of Seville.
Best Cheap-Chic Hotel: West Palm Beach's Hotel Biba (tel. 561/832-0094) is a funky, single-story, converted 1940s motor-lodge-turned-boutique hotel featuring an oversized swimming pool, Asian gardens with sitting areas, a reflection pond, and the ultrahip Biba Bar. Rooms start at $79.
On South Beach, where chic rooms cost upwards of $500 a night, The Creek (tel. 866/445-4800 or 305/538-1951) hotel is a kitschy-cool hostel turned hipster haven with rooms designed by local artists.
Best Celebrity-Saturated Hotel: The Shore Club (tel. 877/640-9500 or 305/695-3100) reigns as Miami's number one celebrity magnet, attracting stars and starlets who you'd find at A-list Hollywood parties. The terminally trendy Skybar is also the city's loftiest night spot.
Best Role-Playing Hotel: With rooms such as "Me Tarzan, You Vain," or "Best Whorehouse," South Beach's Pelican Hotel (tel. 800/7-PELICAN or 305/673-3373) takes the concept of escapism to an entirely new level.
Best Out-of-Place Bed-and-Breakfast: Located on the outskirts of gritty, bustling downtown Miami is the historic Miami River Inn (tel. 800/468-3589 or 305/325-0045), housed in five restored clapboard buildings dating back to 1906. By the looks of this place, you could swear you were somewhere in New England -- until you step out for a breath of the balmy air.
Best Hotel in a League of Its Own: Jules' Undersea Lodge (tel. 305/451-2353) in Key Largo really gives you the low-down on the full Keys experience by requiring all guests to scuba 30 feet underwater to get to their rooms, which are literally located under the sea, in the mangrove habitat of Emerald Lagoon.
Best Art Deco Hotel: The Raleigh Hotel (tel. 800/848-1775 or 305/534-6300) in Miami is the reigning diva of Deco, dating back to 1940. It features one of the most photographed palm-lined swimming pools, reminiscent of the days of Esther Williams.
Best Gatsby-esque Hotel: As you drive up to the Breakers (tel. 800/833-3141) in posh Palm Beach, you can't help but feel the spirit of Jay Gatsby beckoning you into this mammoth Italian Renaissance-style hotel.
Best Beach Hotel: Miami's Beach House Bal Harbour (tel. 877/782-3557 or 305/865-3551) was inspired by the great beach homes of the Hamptons, Nantucket, and coastal Maine, and when you stay here, you will feel like someone's houseguest rather than an anonymous hotel guest.
Best Inexpensive Hotel: It's hard to find a hotel on South Beach with both good value and excellent service, but the Crest Hotel Suites (tel. 800/531-3880 or 305/531-0321) delivers as one of Miami's best bargains as well as coolest hotels.
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In Key West, the Grand (tel. 888/947-2630 or 305/294-0590), despite its name, will not leave you with a huge tab at the end of your stay. The rooms in this hotel are bright and airy and the proprietor works hard to keep you happy.
Best for Families: In Miami, the Sonesta Beach Resort Key Biscayne (tel. 800/SONESTA or 305/361-2021) is known for its complimentary children's programs led by trained counselors who supervise kids, grouped by age, in pool and beach activities and on field trips including dinner, movie, and museum excursions. Fees apply for meals/certain excursions.
In Fort Lauderdale, Marriott's Harbor Beach (tel. 800/222-6543 or 954/525-4000) has a Beachside Buddies program for children ages 5 to 12, offering half-day and all-day children's activities that range from seashell collecting to hula-hoop contests. The 8,000-square-foot, free-form swimming pool, expansive sand beach, and instant access to water toys also keep kids entertained.
The Boca Raton Resort & Club (tel. 800/327-0101 or 561/395-3000) has activity programs designed for distinct age groups. Upon registering children in the program, each parent is given a beeper with a 60-mile radius so that they may be contacted by their children at any time.
Best for Romance: In Miami, the Hotel Place St. Michel (tel. 800/848-HOTEL or 305/444-1666) is a cozy European-style hotel whose wood-floored dark-paneled rooms are adorned in antiques, transporting you from sunny Florida to gay Paris.
Imagine an intimate haven on your own private island and you've got Little Palm Island (tel. 800/343-8567 or 305/872-2524), located just 3 miles offshore in the Florida Keys, accessible only by boat or seaplane, and quite possibly the closest thing to paradise, with only one telephone on the entire island.
Although it's 2 blocks from Duval Street -- Bourbon Street South -- The Gardens Hotel (tel. 800/526-2664 or 305/294-2661) is Key West's most romantic, Eden-istic hideaway that's worlds away from the madness.
In Palm Beach, modeled after a quaint English inn, the Chesterfield Hotel (tel. 800/243-7871 or 561/659-5800) is absolutely seductive, thanks in part to its sexy, sultry Leopard Lounge, its cozy fireside library, and Churchill's Cigar Room.
Best Guesthouses/B&Bs: The Villa Paradiso (tel. 305/532-0616) may be smack in the heart of frenetic South Beach, but once you're inside you're worlds away, with rooms facing a sun-drenched courtyard and a host who is genuinely glad to see you, unlike some of the more attitudinal staff found in other nearby hotels.
In Fort Lauderdale, La Casa Del Mar (tel. 954/467-2037) is located right on the beach and offers cozily appointed rooms. The owners bend over backward to make sure your stay is a fantastic one.
For a complete listing of Frommer's-reviewed accommodations, visit our online hotels index.
Frommer’s is America’s bestselling travel guide series. Visit Frommers.com to find great deals, get information on over 3,500 destinations, and book your trip. © 2006 Wiley Publishing, Inc. Republication or redistribution of Frommer's content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Wiley.