The best places to stay in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)

$

The Clay's Hostel

Strategically located in a 1920s building in the heart of South Beach; young international crowd; dorm rooms with four to six beds and shared bathroom per room; also single and double rooms with private baths for higher rates. 1438 Washington Ave., South Beach; tel. +1 305 534 2988 or 800 379 2529. www.clayhotel.com/hostel

The Tropics Hotel & Hostel

Shared dorms and private rooms close to South Beach nightlife and Lincoln Road; popular with under-30 crowd; has its own Olympic-size swimming pool. 1550 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; tel. +1 305 531 0361. www.tropicshotel.com

$$

Crest Hotel Suites

One of the few budget-priced Art Deco hotels in South Beach; 43 rooms and 23 one-bedroom suites in a restored 1939 building with its original terrazzo floor and a small pool in an interior courtyard; near Lincoln Road; spartan, contemporary rooms. 1670 James Ave., South Beach; tel. 800 531 3880. www.cresthotel.com

Doubletree Hotel

Overlooking Biscayne Bay in the casual, café neighborhood of Coconut Grove; simple, comfortable rooms; large pool and sun deck with fitness room and tennis courts; within walking distance of Grove restaurants, shops, and movie theater. 2649 S. Bayshore Dr., Coconut Grove; tel. +1 305 858 2500. www.coconutgrove.doubletree.com

Hotel St. Michel

A quiet, refined choice with Old World charm in the heart of upscale Coral Gables; the 28 rooms in this 1926 European-style inn are decorated with antiques; downstairs restaurant known for romantic dinners and lazy Sunday brunches. 162 Alcazar Ave., Coral Gables; tel. +1 305 444 1666. www.hotelstmichel.com

Indian Creek Hotel

Far enough from South Beach traffic and club beats to sleep, but close enough to walk into the scene; a creaky, film noir feel, with period steamer trunks in the lobby and tropical prints; 1936 restored Pueblo Deco charmer with 61 rooms and suites that are more about sincerity than sophistication. Closed for renovations as of June, 2012. 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach; tel. +1 305 531 2727. www.indiancreekhotel.com

Miami River Inn

Old-fashioned B&B in the middle of Miami suited for adventurers and history buffs, as it's a bit isolated; 40 rooms including four cottages with wood floors and period furnishings in brass, wood, and wicker; palms and native plants surround the pool and Jacuzzi. 118 SW S. River Dr., Miami; tel. +1 305 325 0045 or 800 468 3589.

$$$

The Biltmore

"Nothing beats its old-time Florida charm, with lazy afternoon teas and a killer Sunday brunch."—Maria Morales, senior writer in Miami for People en Español. Legendary Mediterranean-style resort and National Historic Landmark in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables; Roman columns, hand-painted ceilings, and floors of Spanish tile and marble; 23,000-square-foot (2,136.8-square-meter) pool is the largest hotel pool in the country; 276 small yet distinguished rooms, including 133 suites; expansive, groomed grounds with golf course; four restaurants and bar, plus a spa. 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; tel. +1 800 915 1926. www.BiltmoreHotel.com

Hotel St. Augustine

"It's a beautiful hotel below the radar. Great renovation. Sleek, elegant, very South Beach."—Louis Aguirre, entertainment reporter and cohost of Deco Drive for WSVN-TV. Restored 1937 Art Deco landmark with 24 loft-style rooms two blocks off Ocean Drive in the South of Fifth district; bathrooms sport "spa bars" stocked with essential oils, candles, and incense, as well as marble steam baths. 347 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; tel. +1 800 310 7717. www.hotelstaugustine.com

Mayfair Hotel & Spa

Unique 179-room and suite hotel in Coconut Grove with brass-and-glass elevators connecting three floors overlooking an interior courtyard filled with orchids and tropical foliage; doors of carved Brazilian ipe wood with weathered copper fixtures and stained and etched glass windows; rooms have little terraces with Japanese soaking tubs and cabanas; on-site Pan-Asian restaurant and lounge; rooftop pool coming spring 2008. 3000 Florida Ave., Coconut Grove; tel. +1 305 441 0000 or 800 433 4555. www.mayfairhotelandspa.com

The Sanctuary Hotel

Swank, South Beach boutique with 27 one-bedroom suites; off the beaten path just northeast of Lincoln Road; on-site salon and spa; popular DJ-spinning nightclub scene in the restaurant/lounge on weekends. 1745 James Ave., Miami Beach; tel. +1 305 673 5455. www.sanctuarysobe.com

The Standard

"Hands down it's my favorite hotel. It is a gem on the bay with a laid-back Zen vibe. Great food, sensational spa, (they've got a hammam!), and outdoor bathtubs with some of the rooms. R&R in your birthday suit is sweet!"—Beth Boone, artistic and executive director, Miami Light Project, a cultural organization that presents the best in contemporary performances from around the world. Calming spa retreat on the Intracoastal Waterway at the eastern end of the Venetian Causeway just off 17th Street in South Beach, five minutes from the beach; 106 white-on-white rooms, some with outdoor terraces and baths; private boat docks and infinity pool, which is a prime spot for viewing Miami's breathtaking sunsets; on-site spa with emphasis on water treatments; indoor and outdoor yoga classes. 40 Island Ave. (Venetian Causeway), Miami Beach; tel. +1 305 673 1717. www.standardhotels.com

$$$$

Grove Isle Hotel and Spa

"It's totally luxurious, totally off the radar, and mercifully away from trendy South Beach."—Steven Raichlen, Miami resident, author of Miami Spice, The Barbecue Bible, How to Grill, and host of Barbecue University on PBS. Secluded 49-room (including ten suites) hotel on its own 20-acre (8-hectare) island in Biscayne Bay on the north end of Coconut Grove; romantic on-site restaurant, with some tables perched on wooden platforms on rocks overlooking Miami's skyline. Grove Isle Hotel & Spa, 4 Grove Isle Dr., Coconut Grove; tel. +1 800 884 7683. www.groveisle.com

Hotel Victor

"I love to hang out at the Victor. There's always a good scene. It's one of the hotels that's got it going on right now."—Louis Aguirre. Hip, restored Art Deco hotel facing the ocean with 91 rooms and suites in the middle of the Art Deco District on Ocean Drive and adjacent to what was once Gianni Versace's mansion; groovy lounge and restaurant are part of the hotel barhopping scene; large spa in the basement with coed steam room. 1144 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; tel. +1 305 428 1234. www.hotelvictorsouthbeach.com

The Raleigh Hotel

"Old-School South Beach charm without the craziness; it's still a hot scene."—Louis Aguirre. Premier Art Deco oceanfront boutique hotel with 104 rooms and suites with period furnishings; renowned, curvy swimming pool and waterfall was a backdrop for movie star-swimmer Esther Williams' flicks in the 1940s and '50s (MTV also filmed The Grind dance show here). 1775 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; tel. +1 305 534 6300. www.raleighhotel.com

Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne

"Hard to beat the Ritz on Key Biscayne…because it's REALLY nice."—Dave Barry, Miami Herald humor columnist and author. South Florida's only AAA Five-Diamond resort on quiet, secluded island a bridge away from Miami; on 12 acres (5 hectares), with its own stretch of beach; two oceanfront pools; Tai Chi, yoga, and water aerobics; oceanview spa; salon, tennis courts, and fitness center, two restaurants, and a brand-new rum bar with sushi lounge; supervised kids program for ages 5-12. Grand Bay Dr., Key Biscayne; tel. +1 305 365 4500 or 800 241 3333. www.ritzcarlton.com

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