Dubbed the "Cruise Capital of the World," PortMiami serves millions of passengers every year. Its convenient Biscayne Bay location eight miles east of Miami International Airport and just across the causeway from downtown Miami is home to several terminals used by 20 cruise lines berthing 55 ships. You'll find a good selection of hotels in various price brackets within a short drive's distance of the port.
Contemporary Downtown Hotels
Miami's waterfront building boom means there's no shortage of big brand name modern hotels near the cruise ship terminal. Some have conference space to attract meetings and conventions while others can deliver a more intimate feel.
Between South Beach and downtown, less than five miles from the cruise ship terminal, the rooms and suites at Mandarin Oriental all have balconies overlooking water or city views. For travelers eager to begin relaxing in style even before the cruise departs, the five-star Mandarin Oriental has an infinity edge pool, a private manmade beach, and an exotic day spa. Nightly rates start at $399 per room.
Hotel Beaux Arts, Autograph Collection
Sleek and stylish, this high-rise boutique hotel of 44 rooms has a trendy rooftop pool with a hot tub. It's a hotel-within-a-hotel on floors 38 to 40 above the JW Marriott Marquis. Extra-long and extra-wide beds are available on request in guest rooms with the latest tech touches. Four miles from the cruise terminal, travelers can get in a pre-cruise workout at Hotel Beaux Arts' virtual golf, bowling, and full-size basketball court. Rates are from $332 with better deals for Marriott Rewards members.
Consistently ranked among Miami's top hotels by Conde Nast Traveler, Kimpton EPIC is another beauty in the city's lineup of downtown high-rise hotels. Guest rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies are on floors 18 through 30 of the circular-shaped building overlooking Biscayne Bay. Dine on the open air terrace at Area 31 to soak up skyline views just two miles from the cruise ship terminal. IHG reward members, seniors, and AAA members get special rates starting from $322 nightly and guests may request rates for a tall room with a 96-inch bed and raised shower head.
If you're looking to soak in some sand and sun, either before or after your cruise, these Miami beachfront hotels offer a terrific experience.
When only a pool plus beachfront will do, The Betsy is rated "excellent" or "very good" the overwhelming majority of guest reviewers on TripAdvisor. Readers of Conde Nast agree, giving the independently owned, 61-room, sun-filled boutique hotel a place on the 2017 gold list for the world's best. Walk to everything in South Beach and get a taxi for the six mile drive to the cruise terminal. Prices start at about $499; special rates apply to AAA and AARP members.
W South Beach
Six miles from the cruise port and home to WALL nightclub, W South Beach can keep the dance beat going before or after a cruise. By day, get active at the rooftop tennis and basketball courts or borrow a bike. Alternatively, get relaxed at the spa, on a poolside lounger next to a row of palm trees, or under an umbrella on the sand. Just steps from the ocean, there are views from every room. Resort fees apply to rates from $415, with benefits for Starwood Preferred members.
An Old World-Style Golf Resort
For those who prefer the atmosphere of an earlier graceful era over a current and trendy one, the Biltmore Hotel will appeal. In Coral Gables, you'll feel a million miles from sleek high-rise Miami, yet still be within a short drive of the airport and the cruise terminal.
Miami Biltmore Hotel
For a more leisurely pre- or post-cruise experience, the elegant 1926 Biltmore Hotel is set within a sprawling resort offering fine dining, a championship golf course, tennis club, spa, and one of America's largest outdoor pools. A member of Leading Hotels of the World, the AAA Four Diamond award hotel features a distinctive Mediterranean style. In the pretty Coral Gables neighborhood with its downtown Miracle Mile and Shops at Merrick Park, the landmark property is 11.5 miles from the port. Rates from $424 include Wi-Fi and breakfast.
Four-Star Chain Hotels
Hotel guest loyalty members may opt to maximize points or get preferred rates when checking in at one of the convenient, big brand downtown properties near PortMiami.
Hilton Miami Downtown
Just two miles from the cruise ship terminal, Hilton Miami Downtown has downtown and city views from its 600 spacious rooms and suites. Guests mention the hotel's handy location, outdoor pool, fitness center, and good value breakfast and Wi-Fi package. Rates are from $299, discounted subject to availability via Hilton Honors; with AARP, AAA membership; or a government or military ID.
Watch the cruise ships docking from a rooftop pool with views of Biscayne Bay. The InterContinental Miami is a four-star Cruise Critics' Cruisers Favorite. Only two miles from the cruise terminal, the hotel with 650-plus rooms and suites is popular for its walkability factor. A TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence selection, rates are from $355 per night, slightly higher for club intercontinental rooms with lounge access including complimentary breakfast and evening refreshments.
Value and Family Hotels
Cruise passengers can find lots of extras in an all-suite hotel that ticks all the boxes without overspending or sacrificing location in the slightest.
Homewood Suites by Hilton Miami Downtown/Brickell
TripAdvisor reviewers recommend Homewood Suites by Hilton Miami Downtown/Brickell for its free hot breakfast, spacious suites, special offers, and discounts for seniors, families, and others. "Awesome," says the Booking.com site with an "excellent" rating. To save time and money, cruise passengers can select package room rates to include an airport transfer (seven miles), cruise terminal transfer (two miles), or on-site car parking. Rates from $222 also offers double points for Hilton Honors.
Crowne Plaza Miami Airport
Cruise passengers may wish to book the $214 nightly Crowne Plaza Miami Airport package that includes breakfast for two and a one-way 12 noon transfer to the Port of Miami plus parking for one car up to seven days. Or, take a free 24-hour shuttle from the airport or use self-parking at $17 per day. Located seven miles from the port, the family-oriented IHG brand property has free Wi-Fi and an outdoor pool with stays starting at $166 per night.
Be Mindful of Additional Hotel Fees
Overnight travelers to Miami should note that all hotels levy a mandatory sales and room tax per night typically quoted in addition to the room rate. Miami hotels are 10 percent; Miami Beach hotels are 13 percent. Some hotels may have a resort or urban amenity fee of $20 to $30 per room per night added after tax. Details are in the booking details or by asking a reservations agent at the hotel, a travel agent, or an online booking agency representative.