The National Hotel is one of those grand, beachside Art Deco palaces built in the 1930s as Miami went from sleepy seaside village to A-list vacation destination. Like many of its neighbors, the 137-room hotel has kept itself relevant through painstaking restoration of terrazzo floors and ornate, deco facades, adding sleek modern art and cool amenities. The pool and lobby draw non-guests by the dozen, and while you won’t find the roaring party energy of some other hotels along the strip, you’ll find the same aura of exclusivity, minus the crowds.
The first scene you’ll encounter when entering the building is a clean wood and stone lobby with high ceilings, leading into a new cocktail bar decorated with tasteful nude photographs, and a “you-have-to-be-someone-to-be-there” vibe. The narrow hallways and retro features thrust you into the 1940s and ’50s while keeping intact the high-end expectations of Miami patrons, while the sleek 205-footlong infinity pool and modern art pieces bring modern elements to the decadent space.
Oceanfront in South Beach, a short walk to everything
The National Hotel sits in the northern part of South Beach, just removed enough from the madness of Ocean Drive to offer a quiet respite. Still, you’re never more than a 10-15-minute walk from any attraction in South Beach, and can be on the sand in under two minutes if the elevators cooperate.
Both close to the hotel and further out into the city, below is a look at the best things to do near the National Hotel. If you’re looking for a guide to the city, see this.
Dance the night away to deep bass and flashing red strobe lights at LIV, one of Miami’s most popular clubs. It’s at the Fontainebleau, about two miles north.
Take a stroll to observe flora and fauna, or try out tai chi at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. This green oasis buried in the concrete city is only 11 minutes away by foot.
Enjoy the art plastered across the murals of Wynwood Walls 20 minutes away by car (pending famous Miami traffic). Wynwood Walls park charges admission, but there’s also plenty of art to appreciate for free.
Mosey to the southern tip of Miami Beach to South Pointe Park for a stroll down the pier or fantastic view of the sunrise over the Atlantic. It’s only 13 minutes away by car, or 38 minutes walking — if you want to get in your daily cardio.
Step out onto South Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the country. Its crystal blue waters, sandy shores and Instagrammable views are literally right behind the hotel.
Swanky poolside and grand tower rooms painstakingly decorated in modern art and retro pieces
The rooms at the National Hotel follow the same retro-chic style as the rest of the hotel. The newly renovated rooms are decked out with art and furnishings that bring the style of the 1940s and ’50s into the 2020s with modern art and furniture. Every room also brings a coffee maker, hairdryer and bathroom amenities, plus replica vintage stereos that fuse AM style with streaming-era sound.
The National Hotel’s rooms break down into the following categories:
Standard Room – The National’s entry-level rooms fill their 250-300 square feet with tropical style, featuring a wood-framed queen bed, chrome furnishings and a little palm plant. They’re all in the tower, too, so you’ll get far-reaching views out your window.
View – These tower rooms are similar to the Standard, but have a small seating area and offer king, queen or two double beds. They are available in Art Deco City and Ocean view.
One-bedroom suites – Situated in the historic tower, the 470-square-foot one-bedroom suites not only come with a separate living room, but also a second bathroom if your couch-crashers feel the urge in the middle of the night. They offer king or queen beds.
Cabana Poolside Room: The newer cabana wing lining the infinity pool is home to these 375-square-foot rooms, boasting king or queen beds and a private balcony over the swimming pool. They’re the perfect choice if you want to be in the middle of the poolside scene, with a quick escape for drinks and other activities.
Cabana Poolside Suite – If you’ve got a group, these rooms are the move. The two-room suites clock in at 655 square feet, with oversized poolfront balconies, king beds and a queen sleeper sofa.
Artist Collection Cabana Poolside Suite – Designer Maurice Renoma and contemporary artist Elisabetta Fantone put their signature styles on this pair of poolside suites, filled with vibrant colors and art incorporated into the walls.
A stunning 205-foot infinity pool and classy Spanish restaurant on hotel grounds
One of the things that makes the National Hotel unique is its fusion of modern beachfront Miami luxury and stylish Miami past. This is true in everything from the on-site restaurant and bar to the art-filled corridors, and even extends to the swimming pool’s long Art Deco design.
This hotel is full of art, from story-tall works in the lobby to subtle, quizzical photographs in the rooms. A walk pretty much anywhere on property will bring you by something that’ll make you crick your neck.
Perhaps the crown jewel of the hotel, this gorgeous infinity pool is situated just behind the tower of the hotel. Go for a dip in sparkling blue waters or opt to tan in a lounge chair and stare at the beauty from the comfort of your padded seat. Either way, this 205-foot-long infinity pool is every bit the Miami fantasy.
This hotel’s on-site restaurant is Mareva 1939, which the Miami New Times named the best Spanish restaurant in Miami in 2022. The restaurant serves Spanish tapas-style cuisine both inside the intricately designed Art Deco dining room and out on the breezy patio. The black paella for two is the ultimate way to experience the place, but for smaller appetites opt for the honey-spiced duck breast with parsnips, apple beurre noisette and savory granola.
If you’d rather do your eating and drinking by the pool, head to the way back and the Aqua Club. Guests can indulge from their cushioned lounge chairs while enjoying bar bites, sandwiches and pitchers of their favorite tropical drinks. Non-guests can also purchase day passes.
This sexy little speakeasy sits just behind the lobby, and offers live piano on select nights. The menu of craft cocktails can hold its own with anything in South Beach, and if you’re looking to hide under tasteful nude portraits with a stiff martini in hand, this is one of Miami’s best places to do it.
The National is severely lacking in the gym department, as your only option is to go next door and use the Sagamore’s gym, which fits about two people comfortably. Your best bet is going for a run on the boardwalk accessible from the back gate of the hotel.
Parking-attendant valet is available on-site for $50.