South Beach's Ten Best Pool Party Spots
Catching rays in our designer bikinis, sippin' on juicy umbrella drinks, and chillin' by the pool ... Yeah, life is definitely a breeze in the Magic City.
While a lot of it has to do with that whole carefree vibe you get from living in Miami, the reason we're always walking around half naked and tanned is because of all the kick ass pool parties we crash.
Just check out the ten best pool party spots on South Beach. Now go and get your splash on.
See also: South Beach's Ten Best Dance Clubs
Photo by Monica McGivern
The Freehand Miami gained popularity thanks to Gabriel Orta and the rest of the mixologists at the Broken Shaker, but the Miami Beach's first upscale hostel has made a name for itself, and a lot of it has to do with their intimate pool parties. With a ping pong table, whimsical décor, tasty cocktails, and themed splash bashes that host some of the best underground DJs in the 305, including Slap & Tickle spin masters, the Chocolate Sundays crew, and special tunes from Anna Lunoe, Lazaro Casanova, Pirate Stereo, and other beat masters of the ilk, the Freehand is an escape from reality.
"Studio 54-meets-South Beach." That's the vibe at Highbar. Located on the rooftop of the Dream Hotel, Highbar was the spot where Red Bull hosted its 2013 Guest House during Winter Music Conference, and a slew of other WMC parties this year where some of the biggest names in the uhntz-uhntz biz, including Cash Cash and the Chainsmokers made an EDM splash. But spending the day (or night) at Highbar is the closest you'll ever get to having wings. That's because the infinity pool, adorned in all white décor, golden accents, and a chained mini podium stands 70-feet above the ocean, giving you a bird's eye view of the Atlantic. Unlike most SoBe hotel pools, Highbar is open to the public and there's no cover to get in. It's like getting the royal treatment without really having to pay for it.
We get it. You're probably thinking, "You can only get into Soho Beach House if you're like super VIP or know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody." While that may be true, the members only club merits its spot on our list because, um, it's Soho House. This place epitomizes all things Miami, from a 100-foot pool lined with blue and white-striped lounge chairs, swings, and hammocks to an outdoor tiki bar decked painted with colorful benches just "steps from the pool" to wait service on the beach to the eighth floor rooftop taqueria and plunge pool overlooking the hot bodies bathing in the Atlantic. Yeah, being VIP (or kissing ass to your VIP buddies) definitely has its perks.
One of the biggest dilemma's you'll encounter at the Shore Club is deciding which of the two elevated-edge infinity pools to dive into first. Well, the answer is based on the type of person you are. If you're more of a laid back lounger, you'll likely pick the pool that's closest to the hotel. Surrounded by lounge chairs and colorful, Moroccan-like pool beds with hand-painted pillows and large painted throws by Izhar Patkin and Kim MacConne, the vibe screams relaxation. If you are etched with a spirit of adventure, chances are you'll dip your toes in the pool that overlooks the beach. Feet away from the shore line, you'll spot banana boats and jet skis zooming across the horizon. Located smack in the middle of both pools and draped with sheer curtains is the Rumbar where you'll get the best of both worlds. But the pool is only open to the public for Shore Thing Sundays, so if you wanna check it out, you'll have to wait till the weekend.
It's not every day you find a massive red and white carpet topped with velvet furniture sitting under a canopy next to a lush labyrinth of semi-private outdoor rooms. The Mondrian, however, does things differently. Especially when it comes to its pool. Named Miami's best hotel by us here at New Times, the pool is just as eclectic and detail oriented as the rest of the modern-day Alice In Wonderland-esque hotel. And on the Saturdays, it becomes the daytime party spot this side of the bridge. The day starts off with Dig'In Brunch where you can get your namaste on with free yoga at 10 a.m. followed by tasty grub, mimosas, and chill tunes. Later it's the Deep End where Poplife and Super Music Group make a splash with kick ass music from some of the best DJs in the 305. The pool area is open to anyone on a first-come, first-serve basis with hotel guest priority, and requires a $50 food and drink minimum spending fee. But if you're fast enough, getting your hands on a "sun-soaked lounge pillow" shouldn't be a problem.
Photo by Ciara Osorio
The beach is one of the greatest things Miami has to offer, but truth is, every time we head out to SoBe and laze away for hours on hand, we later discover grains of sand stuck in places we didn't even know existed. At the Standard, though, lounging by Miami's best pool on one of the many beach chairs that dot the deck or on the makeshift beach, sans sand, of course, is like spending a day on South Beach. That's because the infinity pool, equipped with an under-water sound system and all, is so close to the water that if you stand at just the right angle, it seems to disappear onto the Atlantic. Being that the Standard is a spa within itself, you know there's bound to be lots of pampering, like the arctic plunge, a 50-degree mini pool that claims to "increase your heart rate and kick start your circulation." If sitting in an ice box for an entire minute isn't your thing (that's the recommended amount of time you should be in there, anyway), the Roman waterfall hot tub will warm your insides with eight feet of 103-degree water to "alleviate pain and detoxify" the body. With an oceanfront wooden deck, the Standard also offers paddle boarding lessons. All this fun comes with a pretty heavy price tag ($75 for a day pass from Monday through Thursday, $125 on the weekends, or the equivalent in spa spending), but at least you won't have any sand glued to your body for days.
4. Delano Hotel
You could jump into the pool at the Delano, but why would you want to when there's a fancy silver French table set topped with a chandelier candle holder waiting to be sat on? Surrounded by wooden lounge chairs, free-standing linen umbrellas, and canopied daybeds, the pool here is as posh as the décor. It's 7,000-square-feet which means it has the capacity to hold tons of overly excited sun worshipers looking for some fun, especially for their weekly Sunday pool bash. It's free and anybody can attend, but if you wanna lock in a cabana or daybed, you're better off reserving your spot ahead of time. And when hunger strikes, you can always grab a tasty bite at Bianca, the Delano's indoor/outdoor restaurant which happens to be steps away from the pool.
The Surfcomber is where hardcore party animals hang. We're not saying that because of all of the insane Miami Music Week bashes that go down every March, which have included wild shenanigans from Armin van Buuren, Pete Tong, and other professional party masters, but because of the herd of cows and sheep that roam the poolside pasture. Overlooking the swimming pool, directly across the pool fountain, is where Lola, Brandy, and the rest of the tanned cows of the Surfcomber like to graze. But on Saturdays these crazy cows are joined by even more party animals for the hotel's weekly pool party, which just so happens to be completely free and open to the public. So go ahead and party like an animal.
The wow factor at the Raleigh is its 1940's era crest-shaped swimming pool. Named one of the 12 Over-the-Top Pools by Forbes, the two-tiered pool with a vintage diving board has made the Raleigh the highlight of Chanel fashion shows, the cover of magazine spreads, and the talk of some of the hottest pool parties around town. Lined with lounge chairs, curtain-covered canopies, and striped umbrellas, the pool here has hosted a slew of Winter Music Conference bashes with Afrojack, Steve Aoki, and the Dim Mak crew, and another handful of holiday celebrations including this weekend's IndepenDANCE throw down with Cedric Gervais. But you don't have to wait until then to dive into one of the most iconic pools in the 305. While the pool is mainly open to hotel guests only, passes are available for everyone else. All you'll need to do is call the hotel the morning you're planning on heading out there. If the Raleigh isn't over booked, $25 could get you in for the day ... At least until Tommy Hilfiger finalizes his purchase of the hotel and turns it into a private, members only club.
A 10-foot, 700-pound rubber ducky is not something you would expect to find at a swanky boutique hotel. At Hyde Beach at the SLS hotel, however, that giant silver duck statue is a trademark. Sitting on the east end of the hotel guest pool, right before the outdoor garden and beach pool, designer Philippe Stark imagined both swimming pools to resemble a bath tub (hence the rubber ducky). In other words, he wanted to make all your childhood fantasies come true. While you won't be able to take a bubble bath with 100 of your closest stranger friends, at least you can party with them. Aside from Hyde's J'Adore Sundays, XLV Miami Sessions, and other weekly and monthly bashes, the SLS was home to the Avicci Hotel during last year's Winter Music Conference, and has hosted some of the wildest Fourth of July and Labor Day pachangas in the 305. But if you're looking for some poolside down time, there's over 8,000-square-feet of pool and beach fun, as well as private cabanas on hand. Sure, it's impressive, but what else would you expect from one of the best poolside bars in Miami? Just be sure to reserve your spot in advanced, and be prepared to spend a table minimum on food and drinks.
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