Miami's 1 Hotel South Beach is rooted in nature

“Mariette, seeds planted.”

Those words hit my inbox after booking a stay at 1 Hotel South Beach. The Miami hotel’s nature-inspired mission began during the booking process and was evident throughout my recent stay.

Though luxury and sustainability don’t always seem compatible, the resort serves as a model for blending Earth-friendly initiatives with indulgent amenities. 

First impressions 

Looming over an entire block on Collins Avenue, the hotel is impossible to miss, but it’s also tucked away from South Beach’s famous — infamous? — clubs and crowds.

One of the first things I noticed pulling up to the hotel was the exterior living wall made up of over 12,000 plants that are both decorative and functional, working to absorb toxins and impurities. 

The lobby is also impressive: White linen drapes hang from soaring ceilings, and matching white couches are positioned around recycled driftwood coffee tables. The hotel has its own scent (fresh eucalyptus leaves mingled with an earthy cedar), which is palpable but not overwhelming. 

The hotel's lobby has plenty of plants, driftwood coffee tables and other nods to nature.

During check-in, I was handed a round chip of recycled wood a bit larger than a poker chip, which served as my room key. One of the only downsides to my stay, the hotel key was easy to misplace, but the front desk was gracious in providing replacements. 

Miami Beach hotels are notoriously small, but here standard rooms start at 500 square feet with the palatial presidential suite topping out at 3,500 square feet. I stayed in a king-size guestroom, and even without a beach view, it felt airy and bright. 

Everywhere I looked there was an homage to nature: The towel hooks were recycled rocks, and the “do not disturb” sign and closet coat hangers were made of recycled cardboard. Plants dotted the room, and the hotel minibar was stocked with fair-trade beauty products and organic snacks.

The guestrooms and hallways are carpeted, which seemed like an odd choice for a beachfront hotel, but the floors were immaculate, and it gave the minimalist rooms a warmer feel. 

The hotel's rooftop pool deck is also home to the newly updated restaurant Watr at The Rooftop, which serves shareable Asian dishes.

Thoughtful amenities

The hotel stands out from Miami’s crowded hospitality scene with creative on-property events and amenities.

I spent my time alternating between the hotel’s beach club and the hotel pools, including a gorgeous rooftop pool 18 stories up. 

The hotel’s popular rooftop pool deck is also home to Watr at The Rooftop, a newly updated restaurant that serves shareable Asian dishes. On my first night, I ordered the wagyu skirt steak and chicken gyoza from the restaurant’s new dinner menu, which continues to source ingredients locally. 

The hotel’s commitment to the community extends to the on-site activities. During my stay, the hotel offered personalized poems from a local poet typed out on an antique typewriter and an animal spirit reading from a local card reader. 

Other creative initiatives include a farm stand in the lobby featuring local fruit and vegetables and a fleet of electric Audi e-trons available for a test drive or for drop-off service.

One of the resort’s most impressive features is the beachside outdoor dining venue Tala Beach. The restaurant, formerly known as 1 Beach Club, is a 50,000-square-foot, Tulumesque outdoor oasis that winds around the hotel’s perimeter, complete with daybeds, hammocks and dining tables tucked away under towering palm trees.

The restaurant’s October reopening was accompanied by a new menu of Mediterranean-influenced shared bites and cocktails, and standout brunch dishes include crispy lobster and shakshuka made with local farm eggs.

The hotel's beachside outdoor dining venue, Tala Beach, winds around the perimeter of the property.

A green ethos

Though the hotel is located on one of Miami’s busiest streets, inside it felt like a quiet hideaway from the overstimulating party scene on South Beach.

While the resort’s vision of luxury paired with environmentalism is lofty, the execution is in the small details like the complimentary organic sunscreen, tiki huts topped by solar panels and drinkware made from recycled glass.

The hotel’s green ethos will especially appeal to anyone who wants to walk away feeling good about their environmental impact and making a connection with the local community. 

I walked away from my stay satiated and well-rested, convinced that a luxury resort can embrace sustainability and community and still provide an exceptional experience for its guests. 

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