Few hoteliers would dare open a new venue in the middle of a global pandemic, let alone one that has decimated the travel industry by $4.5 trillion. From vaccination certificates and canceled flights to mask requirements and international restrictions, the matrix of obstacles threatens to destroy even the most extraordinary product.
But the Moxy Miami South Beach not only survived that pitfall-laden start, it thrived to become one of the top-performing Marriott properties in America for 2021. In terms of achievements, it’s nothing short of a Herculean feat. Especially given the circumstances.
Just a year before launch Governor Ron DeSantis declared a public health emergency across the state of Florida. Shortly after, he announced that he would stay at home and urged all bars and restaurants to stop selling alcohol. At one point, the restrictions were so severe that police officers in riot gear fired pepperballs to disperse crowds along Ocean Drive. Hardly an optimal environment for hospitality.
However, when the Moxy Miami South Beach opened its doors in February 2021, its ambition and whimsical glamor triumphed over the Covid panic with a tropical, playful vibrancy. As a result, people flocked to the hotel — and once there, fell in love with its stylish nod to mid-century Havana and contemporary Mexico City.
Moxy led the charge in a paralyzed sector while also acting as cavalry for Covid-weary Floridians. Moxy embodied all the attributes of the all-American hero: fearless, strong, and well-built — a fitting comparison given the hotel’s proximity to Miami’s Muscle Beach.
The newly built hotel offers 202 rooms on eight floors – all sophisticated and affordable at the same time. Bathed in Florida sunshine from floor-to-ceiling windows, guest rooms feature sumptuous double beds, rainfall showers, and thoughtful, space-saving storage solutions.
Inspired by the Clyde Mallory Line, an overnight ferry that ran between Miami and Havana in the 1950s, the rooms are all toned in a gradient of greens, pinks, and citrus tones. Meanwhile, floors are tiled in colorful terrazzo, while headboards are upholstered in Shore Rug, an outdoor woven material reminiscent of vintage beach furniture.
Experienced travelers who have been to Moxy’s three venues before New York-Chelsea, East Village and Times Square—already know that you can expect something special from the facility. For the first Florida project, Rockwell Group owners personalized each room with custom artwork depicting Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí visiting South Beach.
Bedrooms at the Moxy Miami South Beach come in a variety of configurations: one king or two queen beds; quadruple room with bunk beds; and suites. The latter features a king-size bed, ocean views, a separate seating area with an L-shaped sofa, wet bar with sink and refrigerator, bar cart, two 55-inch wall-mounted flat-screen TVs, and custom neon artwork.
Where to eat and drink
Moxy Miami South Beach isn’t just a hotel, it’s a resort. To illustrate this, there are no fewer than six restaurants and bars developed in collaboration with the founders of Miami’s hugely popular Coyo Taco and 1-800-LUCKY.
The standout among these is Como Como, which feels reverent and meaningful, like the interior of a cathedral. Guests enter through carved wooden doors and wrought iron and glass archways, with shelves displaying Mesoamerican artifacts. Once inside, they can watch chefs prepare their meals using ancient Mexican techniques: whole fish cooked over a wood- and charcoal-fired grill; Vegetables roasted in cast-iron pans in a charcoal-fueled Josper oven; Tortillas sizzle on a comal, the traditional flat-topped griddle used for centuries.
In the center of the restaurant is a spectacular “Tequila Tree” sculpture made of blown glass and copper tubing, symbolizing the process of distilling the drink. The tequila wanders through this dramatically lit centerpiece and is matched by bartenders to accompany delicious cocktails. Impressive stuff.
Other dining options on the site include Mezcalistaa sexy mezcal lounge; serena, an open-air rooftop restaurant and bar with a casual but elegant vibe; Los Buenos, a taco bodega in the lobby (serving delicious quesadillas and homemade ice cream); Bar Moxy, which doubles as a social hub and check-in counter; and The Upside, an eighth-floor rooftop bar.
Outside of the hotel, guests should venture to Nikki Beach (1 Ocean Dr), America’s first luxury beach club. There you’ll find sushi boats, sharing platters, oversized salads and fried chicken, all paired with organic wines. Think Soho Farmhouse but on the sand.
What should I do
Miami has a thriving arts scene that rivals the largest cities in Europe, including London. That’s fitting because there’s one over at Ice Palace Studios (1400 N Miami Ave). The entire museum is dedicated to Banksywhich includes a complete, meticulous recreation of an underground subway platform alongside 150 of his other pieces.
Conversely hip art gallery Super Blue Miami (1101 NW 23rd St) is Florida’s equivalent of Tate Modern, but with a focus on light-based displays and digital installations. An exhibition, Massless clouds between sculpture and life, invites visitors into a giant cloud of soapy water. That Miami Herald described it as “art you can literally be inside”.
Fortunately, not all of the city’s art is indoors. South Beach’s famous collection of Art Deco buildings is also a must-see, not least because it has remained virtually unchanged since it was completed in 1941. Highlights include The Carlyle and The Breakwater.
Depending on the time of year, visitors can also attend the Art Basel Miami Beach international fair, held every December, or the Miami Film Festival, of which Moxy is an official partner. On the other hand, of course it is. It’s Marriott’s brightest new star.
Moxy Miami South Beach is a stylish and playful celebration of Miami’s cosmopolitan culture. A standalone resort with six restaurants, two pools and a gym, and an open-air rooftop cinema, it anchors the city’s Art Deco cultural district and is just two blocks from the golden sands.
To forget MiamiVice, this is more Miami Nice. Very very nice.
Rooms at the Moxy Miami South Beach start at $159 (about £120) per night. Book online at www.moxysouthbeach.com
https://www.theweek.co.uk/arts-life/travel/956521/moxy-miami-south-beach-hotel-review Hotel Rating: Moxy Miami South Beach