With some 40 floors, the Setai rises over South Beach like an opulent obelisk, serving as a playground for damn-the-expense visitors. Adrian Zecha brings Asian minimalism (Chinese black stone floors in the lobby, Shanghai-based artist Christian de Laubadere's paintings in the rooms) to the land of Art Deco. Rooms are exceptionally tasteful shrines of Indonesian minimalism, full of teak furniture, and the hotel also houses a first-rate spa and two accomplished restaurants, The Grill and The Restaurant. While service in South Beach can sometimes be lacking, the Setai runs a commendably tight ship, which suits the upscale, international clientele. That said, the hotel lacks a sense of place: the stunning central courtyard with a reflecting pool could be anywhere in the world of money.
Tip: Experience the theater of The Restaurant. Pick one of the tables around the demonstration kitchen and order the Thai-inspired lemongrass-glazed salmon with soy and chili paste from among the dishes from India, China, Singapore, and everywhere else.
Room to Book: For an amusing bird's-eye view of the celebrity-driven nightlife on South Beach, ask for Room 208, facing the entrance to Nobu at the adjacent Shore Club.
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