The Hotel: White-on-white (apart from the touches of shocking pink), whimsical but still classy, the Whitelaw embodies Miami Beach’s combination of old-school kitsch and sleek modern design. The 49 rooms all have crystal chandeliers, beds with ornate padded headboards, and watermelon-colored walls embellished with graffiti-style designs; a similar aesthetic prevails in the lobby lounge—where free cocktails are served every night at 7. The patio, with its umbrella-shaded tables overlooking Collins Avenue, is great for people-watching.
The Locale: Smack in the center of Miami’s historic Art Deco district, the Whitelaw is surrounded by one of the world’s greatest collections of 1930s and ’40s architecture. But while the pastel buildings and boardwalk still evoke the beachside glamour of decades past, the major-league decadence of modern-day South Beach—velvet-rope dance clubs, bars, restaurants, and gorgeous young things wearing as little as possible—is just a few minutes’ walk north (add a few more minutes if you’re wearing stiletto sandals).
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.