The swimming pools of many Miami Beach hotels are used for much more than swimming. While most hotels maintain their pools for daytime enjoyment, the hippest hotels have pool areas that become open-air hotspots at night for locals and tourists alike. Day and evening poolside soirees are taking the area by storm, so grab your favorite swimsuit and get ready to savor some of the most alluring pools Miami has to offer.
Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel
Almost as infamous as Miami Beach itself, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Resort stands as a vacationer’s Mecca. Steeped in a storied past that has seen everyone from Elvis Presley to Frank Sinatra to James Bond, the Fontainebleau is no stranger to celebrities. In fact, every president since Eisenhower has hung his hat at the Fontainebleau when visiting South Florida.
Created by Morris Lapidus in 1954, the Fontainebleau offers a most impressive pool area. When the Fontainebleau was operated by Hilton Hotels the pool area was a more family-oriented playground for children, but now with its new owners and fresh makeover it’s aimed precisely at the Hollywood set who frequent the pool daily. The Fontainebleau’s pool may in fact be one of the most star-studded spots in Miami Beach giving the Delano a run for its money in the star-power category. Guests may rent a poolside cabana that offers full access to the pool area.
The Raleigh Hotel
Voted Florida’s Most Beautiful Pool by Travel and Leisure Magazine, the Raleigh’s pool is a vacationer’s paradise surrounded by lush palm trees, lavish tropical gardens and a cascading waterfall. The Raleigh Hotel, created by L. Murray Dixon in 1940, is part of Miami Beach’s Art Deco District and can be summarized in three words: a historic masterpiece. When the pool was created, it instantly became one of the most decadent pools in the entire nation. Hollywood soon beat a path to the Raleigh’s door with Esther Williams filming some of her fabulous aqua-scenes in the pool. Fifty years later, MTV was filming “The Grind” at this sensual location. The popularity of its modern design is a testament to the beauty and grace developers created some 60 years ago, making the Raleigh’s pool a sought-after destination for sun-seekers and Art Deco aficionados. Swimmers can dip their toes in the posh scalloped pool for $15. Deemed “one of the sexiest heated pools in America” by Conde Nast Traveler, this classic spot is a Miami Beach must-see.
The Shore Club
Emerging as one of the trendiest spots on South Beach, The Shore Club, another Ian Schrager Hotel, offers a variety of luxuries that locals and tourists simply cannot resist. Such luxuries surrounding two of the properties three pools are the eight villas for guests seeking total privacy. Choose from the pool closest to the ocean or the one more near the hotel. Each offers a variety of services, ranging from poolside massages to a magnificent outdoor lunch. Surrounded by bright, inviting hues and engulfed by tropical foliage, the pool area is a perfect getaway for anyone whose goals are sun, sun and more sun. The third pool at The Shore Club is set aside specifically for those who reserve the beach house. Starting at $6,000 a night, guests can enjoy the private pool located on the top floor, which has its own sundeck area as well. It’s a posh place to hang out, and a spot celebrities flock to. At night, the two main pools transform from a sun destination into a happening hotspot. As the centerpiece for SkyBar Miami Beach, the pools emanate an aqua hue illuminating the partiers. And while the water appears enticing, swimming is not allowed once SkyBar is in session.
An Ian Schrager Hotel, The Delano was designed by Philippe Starck and draws in celebrities like Will Smith, Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, P. Diddy and Chris Rock. The Delano’s pool is nothing short of the very same perfection the hotel prides itself on. Much like the interior, the outdoor pool area is almost heavenly. The infinity pool’s serene trickling welcomes visitors to its edge. By day, the Delano’s pool deck consists of guests lounging in white cushions resting upon their beach chairs, often times munching on frozen grapes from the bar. Pool boys offer cool, refreshing hand towels to those who need a break from the intense Miami Beach sun. The environment is relaxing, peaceful and welcoming. By nightfall, the pool scene transforms into an extravagant party atmosphere, where music inspires those in attendance to dance. The pool bar attracts a beautiful champagne-sipping crowd. But even fully dressed in evening attire, it’s still hard to resist the intoxicating allure of the pool. Many guest remove shoes and hike up pants and skirts, wading toward the single wrought-iron table and chairs in the pool’s shallow end. Perhaps this is why Vogue refers to the Delano as “America’s coolest hotel.”
The National Hotel
CNN boasts, “Even the swimming pool is a work of art” at The National Hotel. Built in 1939 in the heart of South Beach, this beautiful hotel exemplifies the brilliance of Art Deco style. Terraces in the deluxe rooms in the Cabana Wing, of which there are 36, allow guests a breathtaking view of the enchanted infinity pools, where during the day, people flock for a rejuvenating swim. The tropical gardens surrounding the pool’s area make this South Beach landmark a romantic and enchanting destination. With 205 feet of pools on the property, the chance you will find your very own spot in the sun is virtually guaranteed. In fact, the grandeur of The National Hotel’s pool area is so decadent, it is an infamous spot for fashion shoots, as well as video, film and television tapings. Should you tire of watching models flaunt about in the latest apparel, merely make your way to the Latitude 26 Bar and Grill, an island-style bar located near the pool deck.
The Albion Hotel
Set on Lincoln Road, the Albion is a sought-after destination for the savvy traveler. A Rubell Hotels property, the 1939 hotel was renovated by architect Carlos Zapata. Zapata’s transformation retained the building’s true Art Deco stylings, but added a modern Zen feel. While the Albion’s six-story interior takes a minimalist approach, the pool remains an extravagant masterpiece. The Albion boasts an impressive 60-foot-long aboveground pool. Three portholes located along the pool’s side offer guests a glimpse of swimmers practicing their backstrokes, dives or handstands, which can be viewed as far away as the garden. These portholes create not only a conversation piece, but transform the swimming hole from pool to work of art. Known for its hip but friendly crowd, the pool area is the perfect place to soak up sun, sip on tropical concoctions or just take a refreshing dip in the perfect 83-degree waters.
Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne
While not in Miami Beach, the “S” shaped pool at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne may be the most visually impressive pool in the area. Offering beach and ocean views, the six-foot-deep Olympic-sized infinity pool is both beautiful and serene. This is the spot to sit back, relax and enjoy the company of a close companion – especially at sunset. Enjoy lunch, drinks and snacks poolside, as you are served like a celebrity by the Ritz-Carlton’s superb staff. There’s even an outdoor Jacuzzi to help you sink further into relaxation mode. If traveling with kids, there’s no need to worry about excited Marco Polo-playing rug-rats disturbing your peace. The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne offers an oceanfront kids pavilion with an exclusive children’s pool with supervised games and activities for children 5-12. This way the kids get a day of fun, and so do mom and dad.