In South Beach away from the hubbub of Ocean Drive, Esmé Miami Beach is a collection of casas off café-lined Española Way. Rooms are a tale of two equally elegant styles: choose between the rakish romance of Casa Matanza or the nuanced nostalgia of Village Rooms across the paseo. Your appetite is spoilt for choice, too, with small plates of Mediterranean-meets-Latin fare at The Drexel, or tapas at Tropezón. Flower-fringed The Roof, a covered rooftop bar of cushion-strewn sofas and low tables beside the pool, open for sangrias late into the night, is Esmé’s coup de grâce.
11am. Earliest check-in, 4pm. Both are flexible subject to availability.
Double rooms from £73.30 ($90), including tax at 14 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $45.60 per room per night on check-out.
Room only rates.
Communal areas are wheelchair-accessible, and there are accessible rooms in both the Village and Casa Matanza.
At the hotel
Rooftop pool and bar, open-air wellness space, choice of restaurants, free WiFi, section at the beach with drinks service, parasols and loungers (extra cost), bikes to borrow. In rooms: smart TV, tablet with guest directory and virtual snack-minibar, espresso machine, free tea and coffee, drinks minibar, Grown Alchemist bath products.
Our favourite rooms
At Casa Matanza, with a French balcony overlooking the paseo, Balcony Kings offer polished interiors at the heart of the hotel. Deluxe Matanza Kings are sumptuously appointed and pleasingly proportioned. Over in the Village, Deluxe Kings and Balcony Kings are spacious and refined with ceiling fans, raffia details and emerald or rose walls, but it’s the Corner Suite that steals the show in shades of peaches and cream with a generously sized living room, ideal for hosting happy hour.
The heated saltwater rooftop pool has a stepped entry; towels are provided. Lined with chequered tiles, the deck has made-for-two draped cabanas with candy striped cushions.
There’s no spa on site, but in-room treatments are available from US$120 an hour.
Wide-brimmed hats and fedoras to shade you from pool to beach; compendiums of short stories to dip into over lazy courtyard coffees. Glow sticks for Miami’s club scene, optional.
Built as an artists’ colony in the Mediterranean-Revival style, Española Way was originally called the ‘Historic Spanish Village’. Free gym passes available at reception. Same-day pressing and laundry service. Free newspaper delivery on request.
Though there's no specific programming for little Smiths, they're very much welcome but must accompanied by an adult at all times.
Efforts across all areas of the hotel include a water conservation program, refillable bath products, biodegradable or compostable takeaway containers in restaurants, eco-friendly cleaning supplies and laundry detergents. Chefs work with locally sourced, sustainable ingredients, with vegetarian and vegan menu options. The hotel is invested with the local community in efforts to revitalise Española Way with chef takeovers, collaborations with musicians and Miami Beach artists.
We’re enchanted by the courtyard tables under the stars at the Drexel.
White or bright and as revealing as you see fit – this is still South Beach.
By day a secluded café spot for coffee and pastries, the Drexel is Casa Matanza’s courtyard restaurant. Run by the same team behind Miami's Mandolin, it serves Mediterranean dishes grilled over a wood fire. El Salón celebrates Miami’s Latin-influenced cuisine in modest-but-moreish plates to share. Bars Tropezón and The Roof both serve light dishes alongside drinks.
Thirst-quenching options abound at Esmé. The team from Lost Boy in Downtown is behind colorful tiled tapas bar Tropezón – sherry menu included. All-day venue The Roof is the place to sip a restyled sangria or two in its pillow-festooned, plant-dotted lounge. Restaurant El Salón’s consummate cocktail menu deserves mention, too.
Breakfast is served in the Paseos from 7:30am and on The Roof from 10am; its all-day menu is available till 10:45pm. El Salón offers small plates from 6pm till late.
Order light dishes and snacks from a seasonally updated menu with your in-room tablet.
Esmé Miami Beach is in South Beach, set back from Ocean Drive on quieter Española Way and Washington Avenue.
The nearest airport is Miami International (MIA), a 25-minute cab ride away. Transfers can be arranged through the concierge, from US$130 each way.
From Miami Beach, a cab across the causeway will take you to nearest Metromover station Museum Park, or Miami Airport Tri Rail station.
The hotel has valet parking from US$45 a day. Street parking nearby is sometimes available via the city’s ParkMobile app.
Explore the neighbourhood on two wheels with a vintage-inspired Priority Bicycle, free for guests to use at their leisure.
Worth getting out of bed for
Esmé Miami Beach is in South Beach, a few blocks from the bustle of Ocean Drive. Its cluster of buildings straddle Española Way, a pedestrianised street known for its former artists’ colony and Spanish-looking architecture. Lincoln Way shops are a walk away, and you can even stroll to the hotel’s beach section to secure shaded loungers on SoBe’s powder sands. Miami Beach Design District and the delights of Downtown are just across the causeway.
Sharing plates melding Asian and Mediterranean influences are only part of the appeal of showstopper rooftop restaurant Mila, also home to a serious cocktail bar. There may be a fire eater, there could be Balearic beats; there’ll definitely be a lively atmosphere. A double-height monochrome space lends drama to dining at lauded vegan restaurant Planta, where a varied menu includes pizza, sushi and ceviche, as well as dumplings and nachos. Along the block from Esmé, Pane & Vino La Trattoria is a dark wood-lined, net-curtained traditional Italian, where the pasta is fresh and homemade and the mains, a celebration of Italian classics.
Coffee, savoury crêpes, salads and sandwiches are all on the menu at Española Way’s A La Folie. Grab lunch to go or linger at parasol-shaded tables on the terrace. For bánh mi filled with super-fresh ingredients or flavour-packed rice bowls, pick up takeaway from Vietnamese-style café Benh Mi on Washington Avenue and be sure to give its menu of salad sides a second glance.
High stools and low lighting lend a speakeasy vibe to Swizzle Rum Bar and Drinkery, which serves craft cocktails and every rum you can think of. Speaking our language, South of Fifth watering hole Minibar is a mid-century-styled bar made modern with clashing colors and flamboyant floor tiles. Big-impact cocktails are served in tiny liquor bottles and best enjoyed on the plant-strewn patio.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this coastal hotel in Miami Beach and unpacked their Miami-rolled Cuban cigars and Art Deco prints, a full account of their Florida beach break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Esmé Miami Beach…
A few blocks from Ocean Drive, Española Way was once an artists’ village, its red-tiled roofs and white façades seemingly lifted from the Spanish hills. Spanning the paseo, there’s a new village in town – Esmé Miami Beach is a series of thoughtfully restored buildings with courtyard dining, a rooftop pool and a drinking den or two. Its lobby spaces are dressed with tiled floors and arched doorways – so far, so South Beach. Yet its rooms are a heady blend of glamour and nostalgia: Village rooms in shell pink or palm-leaf green come with brass details and matching tiled bathrooms. Interiors at Casa Matanza seduce with sultry ochre or ruby hues contrasting dark wooden furniture. This is South Beach at its most genteel, where all-day lingering is encouraged. Yet with SoBe’s silver sands and the shops and galleries of Miami Beach so close by, there’s little call to stay put.