The Miami River Inn (435 SW South River Dr., 305/545-8552, from $149 d) is the only bed and breakfast in central Miami , located just a half a block from Jose Marti Park and the shores of the Miami River. The location makes it convenient for those who want to explore Little Havana  and downtown, but if you’re planning on spending most of your time in South Beach , there are far more charming places on the island to spend the night. Although it is decorated with antiques that complement the house’s century-plus history, the guest rooms at the hotel are a little rough around the edges, and the dated bedding has routinely been a source of disappointment for visitors hoping for nighttime comfort. Still, the rates are quite affordable for Miami, and the grounds and pool are a pleasant respite.
Fortune House All Suites Hotel (185 SE 14th Terr., 305/349-5200, from $129 d) is a reasonably priced downtown condo-hotel that provides good value, especially for extended-stay visitors. While far from luxurious and not even all that modern, the standard suites are spacious, with full kitchens and washer-dryer combos. Stepping up to the “executive” suites, you’ll get more contemporary furnishings and balconies that provide great nighttime views of the city or Biscayne Bay.
The Hotel InterContinental Miami (100 Chopin Plaza, 305/577-1000, from $199 d) offers anonymous chain-hotel luxury aimed at business travelers who can’t justify the splurge at the handful of truly upscale hotels downtown. The lobby area is decadent and quite fancy, but guest rooms are unimaginative, although they are equipped with the requisite level of mass-market plushness one expects from the brand. With three decent restaurants, two bars, a spa, laundry service, and a heated outdoor pool, there’s not much need for a short-stay executive to leave the premises, but there’s little here to tempt other travelers.
The Epic Hotel (270 Biscayne Blvd., 305/424-5226, from $299 d) is a Kimpton Hotels property that definitely maintains that chain’s reputation for combining hip design, modern luxurious touches, exemplary service, and surprisingly large guest rooms. Even the most basic guest rooms are around 475 square feet, with gorgeous views and private balconies; as you go up the chain of guest-room quality, there are loft-style junior suites (700 square feet) and one-bedroom suites (950 square feet). All 400 guest rooms are painted in muted clean colors, appointed with sleek indulgent furnishings, and boast touches like deep air-bath tubs, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and more. The hotel is pet-friendly, has an on-site marina, a spa, and an excellent restaurant named Area 31.
The Viceroy (485 Brickell Ave., 305/503-4400, from $350 d) is a sophisticated business-oriented hotel that manages to exude a sense of stylish modernity combined with buttoned-down professionalism. Smaller than the Epic, the 162-room Viceroy is beautifully designed and elegantly appointed, but despite its more intimate scale, it is a bit stuffier. Nonetheless, the guest rooms are beautiful and bright with interesting artistic touches reflecting a pan-Asian flair and all the expected luxuries of a modern hotel, including kitchenettes, iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and more.
If you’re going to spring for a luxury downtown hotel with Asian touches, you may as well go for a few nights at the Mandarin Oriental (500 Brickell Key Dr., 305/913-8288, from $459 d). Although you can occasionally stumble onto somewhat lower rates on the weekends and during the melting humidity of hurricane season, those rates could hardly be called a bargain. Still, from the open-yet-intimate lobby area and the award-winning restaurants to the excellent spa and beautiful guest rooms, the Mandarin more than delivers on the pricey deal. Guest rooms are spectacularly simple, with clean modern lines and minimalist furnishings that manage to be simultaneously unobtrusive and sumptuous; although the standard hotel rooms are slightly on the small side, the suites range in size from 625 square feet all the way up to the 2,365 square feet of the deluxe Oriental Suite (and if you want to talk about expensive, your conversation should really start there, either in the eight-person dining room or the private theater). Though the hotel is downtown, the Mandarin is less focused on the needs of business travelers than on the needs of those high rollers who can do without the glitz and noise of South Beach .