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South Beach

MondrianSoBe1The Morgans Hotel Group, which offers a spate of stylish, upscale properties around the world, is in the midst of some major expansion. The Mondrian London at Sea Containers is set to open September 30, followed by the Mondrian Doha, and the Mondrian Istanbul. The hotel group is also preparing to open their Delano brand in Las Vegas this fall, followed by Cesme, Turkey; Moscow; and Cartagena; then another in Karaköy, Istanbul. With all this new activity in mind, we took a step back to see how their second Mondrian property, in South Beach, Miami, which opened way back in 2008, is holding up.

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citizenm

At the beginning of the boutique hotel boom, luxury was defined by money; how much of it you had and what it could buy you. But that has long since changed. The emergence of creative “lifestyle” hotels have transformed the industry — as the annual LE Miami trade show in South Beach pointed out — with rising demand in experiences that are unique and culturally connected. These days, rather than high prices, luxury is about authenticity, storytelling, and innovation.

So how does this shift in the very definition of luxury translate to a more authentic, value-driven experience on your next trip? 

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Angler's Miami South Beach, a Kimpton HotelAs temperatures are rising across the country, what could be better than sipping a summery drink while dipping your toes into the ocean (or the hotel pool)? If this sounds like your kind of summer getaway, Kimpton Hotels has a deal for you: The stylish boutique hotel chain is offering 25 percent off at their four upscale properties in Florida. To sweeten the deal, they’re throwing in two free poolside cocktails so you can fully chill out.

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MetropolitanbyCOMOSure, most travelers book a trip to Miami Beach with a single plan in mind — drink all day, party all night. But everyone needs to cool off and chill out at some point. Even Miami, which we rate as one of the world’s party capitals, has plenty of options for relaxing, refreshing, and (maybe) replenishing your body in preparation for another night out. Here’s how:

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Lord Balfour Hotel, MiamiMinty mojitos at every meal, beautiful beaches, and a restaurant and bar scene that attracts A-listers from around the globe. If you’re craving an oh-so-hip summer getaway, there’s no better destination than Miami’s South Beach. While enjoying this trendy sun-and-sand spot often comes at a premium, high heat means lower prices. Here, we’ve rounded up three of SoBe’s hottest hotels (plus a bonus hotel on Miami Beach) offering some of the coolest summer deals:

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Florida Bargain Season StartsSummer is winding down and kids are heading back to school, which means that prime beach destinations like Florida are quickly clearing out and entering their low season. Normally, a destination’s slow-down time signals less-than-prime weather conditions, but Florida in the fall is ideal. While it’s technically still hurricane season, in many spots, you’ll still find warm waters and beautiful days with weather that can soar up into the 90s. Add to that the fact that many hotels offer discounts of 40 to 50 percent off their peak season rates, and you’ve got a recipe for a perfect fall getaway. Here are some of the reasons you should visit during Florida’s bargain season. Read more

Miami Beach Gay Pride Cruise Norwegian SkyMiami’s LGBT scene will be sizzling come spring. First up on the docket, the Miami Beach Pride, held on April 15 this year, will be bringing buzz back to the Deco District. Last year’s event saw 40,000 people march down Ocean Drive, making it the largest single-day event in South Beach’s history, and with the addition of the post-Pride party cruise, one of the most unique.

Setting sail Monday, April 16, through Friday, April 20, onboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sky, the Miami Beach Pride Cruise offers a chance to extend the party with a 4-night voyage to the Bahamas with stops in Grand Bahamas, Nassau, and Great Stirrup Cay, the cruise line’s private island. A portion of the proceeds will be donated back to Miami Beach Gay Pride’s charitable causes. Read more

Shelborne South BeachA pair of hotel openings hit Miami Beach this week, just in time for Art Basel. Whether down south for the art or the sun, check out these two affordable newbies.

Surfcomber The totally renovated and rebranded Surfcomber (now a Kimpton Hotel) opened yesterday on Collins Avenue. The 186-room oceanfront hotel has a playful vibe, stylish accommodations, and Kimpton’s personalized service and amenities. The pool deck and bevy of cabanas look inviting, as do the opening rates from only $149/night. www.surfcomber.com

Shelborne South Beach This Art Deco mainstay which spent the last two years under renovation reopened Wednesday. The look is retro glam, the vibe is sexy. The hotel’s own exhibition “Art of Night” features intimate celebrity images from nightlife photographer Seth Browarnik, but the catwalk runway connecting the two beachfront pool decks seems like the ultimate stage for eye candy. Opening rates here start from $159/night. Note: not all rooms have been renovated so be sure to request one. www.shelborne.com

For general trip-planning info, see our Miami Travel Guide.

Book a room at one of 15 Loews Hotels locations in North America on Cyber Monday, November 28, and get 20 percent off! Choose from locations such as the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, nestled on a 15-acre peninsula, the Loews Miami Beach Hotel on South Beach, and the Loews Hotel LeConcorde in Quebec City, Canada. Other locations include New York, New Orleans, Denver, and Santa Monica. So whether you’re looking for relaxation on the beach, a cultural experience, or a quick getaway, this sale provides a plethora of options. Guest will also receive free in-room internet throughout the stay. Travel is valid November 29, 2011 – March 31, 2012.

THE VALUE: Save 20 percent at hotels coast-to-coast over a four month travel window!

THE CATCH: The Cyber Monday sale will run from 12:01 am – 11:59 pm (EST) on November 28, 2011. Prices differ by hotel.

THE DETAILS: To book your stay, visit www.loewshotels.com.

WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Guides to help find the location that’s right for you.

Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find low rates on flights to your desired destination.

Waldorf Towers South Beach MiamiIf you’re looking to head south for the holiday season, nothing can beat the sandy allure of Miami’s South Beach – or 33 percent off rooms right on Ocean Drive. To fete the opening of its latest boutique offering, the Waldorf Towers (www.room-matehotels.com), the gay-founded, funky Spanish chain Room Mate Hotels is offering a slightly watered-down expansion on its amazing opening offer deal, with still highly attractive starting rates of just $169 available throughout December, a sweet 33 percent discount off the average rates of $250 nightly that kick in come 2012. Plus, if you book quickly, we even spied some midweek rates on standard rooms from just $117! Talk about something to be thankful for.

Colorful and contemporary with a sexy tongue-in-cheek attitude (the booking engine coyly asks as it loads, “Do you want to sleep with me?”), the 44 rooms feature wood floors and modern design elements with a retro edge. Contrasting black and whites and polished chrome nod to the hotel’s place in Miami Beach’s Art Deco District, while a sense of style and fun pulls in a generally hip, younger set looking for a good time. An easy task considering Miami’s latest offerings: Read more

Stay at a downtown Miami hotel oozing with boutique charm through this deal with the Regency Hotel Miami. Book any number of nights from $119 within 7 days of travel and receive 15% off your entire stay. That means you’ll be paying a total of only $101 per night.

The Regency Hotel Miami re-opened in October 2011 after a $750,000 renovation including luxurious new bed sets and state-of-the-art HDTV monitors. Only a five minute drive from the airport, the Regency is a perfect starting point for the business or leisure traveler. It’s also just 15 minutes from South Beach and 10 minutes to historic Coral Gables. Complimentary shuttles are provided to and from the airport as well as to popular shopping centers in Miami. Or, simply relax at the Regency – lay out by the lush pool, enjoy a meal at Prieto’s Restaurant, and take advantage of the complimentary buffet breakfast each morning.

THE VALUE: Stay in a newly renovated hotel and save 15% off market pricing.

THE CATCH: This deal is subject to availability, so act fast!

THE DETAILS: Visit The Regency Hotel or call 305-779-2010.

WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights to Miami.

For general trip-planning information, see our Miami Travel Guide.

Trump International Beach ResortThe 4-star Trump International Beach Resort is offering 20% discount on travel through October 2. Located in the exclusive Sunny Isles section of Florida, the oceanfront Trump International Beach resort are inviting guests to take advantage of the summer promotion “Rein in the Summer” where guests get a bunch of extras including three activities in the high-energy kids club. The best part is if it rains during your stay guests can relax in the spacious deluxe, family-friendly accommodations and receive a complimentary in-room movie that includes movie theater amenities including candy and popcorn as well as in-room video games

THE VALUE: Rates for this 4-Star luxury hotel can start at over $300 per night.

THE CATCH: Two-night minimum stay required. Package is based on availability and valid on travel through October 2, 2011 only.

THE DETAILS: To book your stay, Trump International Beach Resort or call 866-628-1197.

WE’VE GOT MORE: Start planning your vacation with our Miami Travel Guide and use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find low rates on flights to Miami!

Hotel Victor South BeachScore up to 60 percent in savings on a swank South Beach getaway, now through December 27. Hotel Victor is offering every third night free on top of discounted rates (slashed 35 percent off winter prices). Redesigned by Jacques Garcia, with its trademark jellyfish tank in the lobby, the Victor combines 1930s opulence with pure sophistication. The Victor is located right on Ocean Drive next to the former Versace mansion. Its acclaimed spa, Spa V, features South Beach’s first hammam. Rates start from $229/night with the free-night savings deducted at checkout. To book, call 305-728-6544 and mention promo code SUMV. www.victorsouthbeach.hyatt.com

For general trip-planning info, see our Miami Travel Guide.

Miami Beach restaurantComing to Miami for New Year’s is not for the faint of heart. It revs up strongly with party-goers from all over the world. You can feel the energy in the air. No matter when you visit, I have two pieces of advice. First of all, plan in advance for dining, as the restaurant scene heats up all year round. Second, decide if you want to stay in a large resort away from the action, in town amidst it all, or bayside near it.

Some of the newer restaurant spots worth trying are Hakkasan and Scarpetta, both at the famed Fontainebleau hotel. The hotel, while a bit Vegas-like, can’t help but impress with its grandness. Red (redthesteakhouse.com) in the South of Fifth district is great for amazing meat. Expect deluxe prices but those three are worth it, in a town awash in overpriced, overdesigned dining digs.

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Photo courtesy of flickr.com/Photos8These are the ShermansTravel producers’ favorite Daily Deals from this week. If you’re looking for a luxurious stay on the Las Vegas Strip, check out the 2-year-old Trump International which towers 64 stories above the Strip and bills itself as a sophisticated, nongaming hotel. Through September 2, Sherman’s readers can score a one-bedroom suite for $139/night and receive a $50 credit for use at The Spa at Trump (good for any service costing $150 or more), two cocktails at H2(EAU) each day, and a 4 p.m. checkout.

DirectAir has brought back its Family Ties Sale in which customers can purchase flight certificates (tickets) on any of DirectAir’s routes without passenger names, dates, or destinations for a total cost of $159, taxes, reservation, and convenience fees included! When purchasing the certificates, customers can schedule trips at their convenience, deciding later whether to visit destinations like Myrtle Beach, Niagara Falls, Orlando, New York, and Chicago.

Minutes from South Beach, the sleek, 205-guestroom Sonesta Bayfront Hotel Coconut Grove overlooks tropical Biscayne Bay. Rates start from just $159 per night, featuring a complimentary fourth night, free daily breakfast, and WiFi. All rooms have a 42-inch, wall-mounted LCD television, king-sized bed, and granite vanities and countertops. Taxes and gratuities not included. 

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