Cities on Sale: Miami Beach

In the past year, the city has added 500 hotel rooms, giving visitors plenty of deals to pick from, especially in South Beach.

By Adam Graham, Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009, 12:00 AM

Crandon Park and Beach
Crandon Park and Beach (Tim Ashton)

ROOM BREAKS

Art Deco District
The five Rockstar suites, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, at the newly renovated, 60-room Clevelander South Beach are $159 a night through the end of 2009 (1020 Ocean Dr., 877/532-4006, clevelander.com).

On the Beach
The new all-suite Riviera South Beach, whose 54 rooms have pony-print rugs and baroque-style chairs, has rates from $99 a night through September (2000 Liberty Ave., 305/538-7444, rivierahotelsouthbeach.com). Design maven Kelly Wearstler's latest project, Viceroy Miami, is offering $230-a-night rates for Budget Travel readers through September (that's almost 25 percent off) on its 162 rooms, equipped with Wii consoles and Illy coffeemakers (485 Brickell Ave., 305/503-4400, viceroymiami.com).

All Over Town
A collective of seven hip South Beach properties—including the Metropole South Beach, the Whitelaw Hotel, the Hotel Shelley, the Chesterfield Hotel, and the Hotel Chelsea—has teamed up to offer $99-a-night rooms if you book through southbeachgroup.com (southbeachgroup.com).

DEALS ON MEALS

Low-key Lunch Spot
Owned by former New York caterer Robert Siegmann, the Ice Box Cafe has developed quite the cult following since it opened two years ago. The gourmet sandwich and dessert place (Siegmann is known around town for his sour cream pecan coffee cake) has a new $10 Recession Cruncher menu, including comfort dishes like a turkey melt with avocado and glazed onions (1657 Michigan Ave., 305/538-8448, iceboxcafe.com).

Perfect Pie
Spris Pizza (voted Best Pizza by the Miami New Times) has a Beat the Clock deal: Between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., 13-inch pies are priced according to the time of day. Order the Genovese, topped with mozzarella, black olives, and fresh Genoa pesto, at 5:30 and you pay just $5.30 (731 Lincoln Rd., 305/673-2020, spris.cc).

Seafood Supper
At Joe's Stone Crab, which has been around for almost 100 years, the new Bail Out Special may set you back $30, but the quintessential south Florida meal, which normally costs $40, includes three jumbo stone-crab claws served with house-made mustard sauce, hash browns, creamed spinach, coleslaw, and a slice of Key lime pie (11 Washington Ave., 800/780-2722, joesstonecrab.com).

Wine and Cheese
Every Thursday, Fratelli Lyon in the Design District has Aperitivo Happy Hour. The carafes of wine (Piedmontese Barolo, Friulian Prosecco, Venetian Soave classico, and Sicilian nero d'avola are some highlights) go for $6 and are accompanied by antipasto plates of the day, such as piave, taleggio, montegrappa, fontina, or pecorino (4141 NE Second Ave., 305/572-2901, fratellilyon.com).

ITINERARY IDEAS

Day at the Beach
Cabanas at most hotels along Collins Avenue can cost hundreds of dollars, but the pastel huts at the more secluded Crandon Park and Beach are a winning substitute. They're lockable, have private showers—and are first come, first served for $35 (4000 Crandon Blvd., 305/361-5421, miamidade.gov/parks).

Miami on a Moped
Beach Scooter has a new special through Labor Day: Zip around the Art Deco District for two hours for $20 (1341 Washington Ave., 305/538-7878).

National Park Side Trip
Miami is only 35 miles from the largest wetlands on the continent, Everglades National Park, which just launched a series of free downloadable podcasts and self-guided audio tours highlighting the best places to spot crocodiles, river otters, and rare orchids that are normally found in the Caribbean (40001 State Rd., 305/242-7700, nps.gov/ever).

Spa Savings
Massages at Spa V at the Hotel Victor are $35 off, and the happy hour from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday includes 20-minute express treatments (mini facials, foot massages, hand treatments) priced at $40 (1144 Ocean Dr., 305/428-1234, hotelvictorsouthbeach.com).

GO MIAMI
What you get Entry to 35 sites throughout the city, including the Miami Seaquarium, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and the Kennedy Space Center.

What it costs $60 for adults, $50 for kids.

Why it's not worth it Most of the sites have free days and pay-as-you-wish admission, so the one-day pass is only a deal if you are trying to pack a lot into limited time (gomiamicard.com).

BEHIND THE SAVINGS
  '08 '09
Average room rate $164 $146*
Restaurant week 61 days 61 days
Restaurants participating 104 104
* PROJECTED BY PKF CONSULTING