When I first heard that I was on my way to Miami for my birthday I found myself filled with both excitement and trepidation. Excitement at the prospect of escaping New York and seeing something new, yet trepidation at the thought of having to spend time in what I thought of as “Las Vegas by the sea”, filled with the drunk, the young, and the flash. I must confess that my concern never really materialized in large part thanks to our stay in the Hotel Casa Claridge.
Located in the northern part of South beach, this historical hotel creates a feeling of being jettisoned back to the glorious Art Deco era of the 1920’s. The hotel’s main lounge area is decorated in a rather novel manner. One evening while sitting in this lounge enjoying a Gin and Tonic, I could imagine it being the kind of place where men in uniform and white linen suits would sit and plan the coup d'etat of a small Central American country. I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy this little imaginary saunter.
The hotel itself is was beautiful inside and out. The old building dating back to 1930 doesn’t feel that old inside. The rooms were stylishly minimalist yet comfortable. The little touches like having red velvet curtain tassel instead of a traditional “do not disturb” sign is a perfect example of I am talking about. The whole hotel is decorated to a similar level of detail and it is apparent that whoever was responsible for its decoration took great care to get it right. And it shows from the dining room murals through to the whimsical elevator. The only criticism I would mention is the shower taps which are bit counterintuitive to operate (they require some physical strength to engage and stop).
One of biggest selling points of this hotel for me was its location in South Beach. Situated towards the northern part of the beach meant we were just far enough from the party set to escape the crowds yet only 5 minutes by cab to some of the best dinning offering in Miami (check out Osteria Del Teatro for Italian food which make your taste buds feel they had died and gone to heaven). While you have to cross the road to get to the beach it is so much better than the equivalent offerings toward the South. The beach feels almost secluded toward the northern end with more space and less people. Perfect if you just want to relax, enjoy the water, and not have to come face-to-face with too many budgie smugglers (e.g. men in overly tight swimwear as is the case toward the South).
The one drawback at the moment is that there is some construction going on in the area. However, we found the inconvenience caused minimally disturbing and more than offset by the great value for money. We searched for places to stay in the New York tristate area and nothing came close to the value we got going to Casa Claridge.
All and all, I would highly recommend Casa Claridge as a place to stay in Miami for those who want to enjoy the more civilized side of South Beach. Your money will go a very long way here.