Photo Credit: Lena Katz & Hilton BentleyOne of the Hilton group's most surprising properties, the Bentley is a sexy little Latin package with big flavor...and big rooms. It sits on an iconic intersection that's seen many rises and downturns over the past half-century; along with Prime 112 across the street and DeVito's a couple doors down, it's pretty much created its own little mini-neighborhood.
Bee-line out the sliding wooden and glass doors leading to the pool terrace, and from there make the recurring decision: sun lounger or bar? And if it's going to be a day bed, will you opt for a chaise lounge steps from the pool, or will you strike a path past the lounges, across a tiny lawn and up three stairs in order to stake a claim on one of the elevated daybeds fronting the beach?
If you don't get to the pool relatively early in the morning during busy months, the decision will be made for you; people snag those daybeds early, and no wonder. With their breezy white curtains and queen-sized cushiony comfort, they're one of the best napping spots in Miami and possibly the entire world.
The bar is not so much a scene here ó or rather, the scene isn't confined by any specific bar area. People perch on stools, then meander a few steps to the pool, or over to the outside seating for De Rodriguez, or even into the pocket-sized lobby. It's a very relaxed and free-flowing scene: friendly and lively but not too loud, and intimate but not boutique.
We're not sure why the Bentley didn't get the South Beach standard memo on maximizing real estate by packing guests into shoebox-sized rooms, but we're sure glad the designers broke that rule. And though it may seem impractical to give everyone a generous studio-sized suite, it actually works in the long-term, because it gives the home-away-from-home vibe that turns one-time guests into regulars.
If you have an ocean view room, the first thing to do ó even before exploring the mini-bar or bouncing on the Serta Suite Dreams mattress ó is throw the sliding doors in the living room open and step out onto your private terrace. From here you can see the pool, the dreamy daybeds, and beyond that, the beach in all its glory. Breathe in the heat, the humidity, the distant voices of fellow Miami Beach revelers, and within seconds you'll be saying, "This should be my home away from home," too.