The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach opened a year ago, and I had the pleasure of discovering it for myself in September during an educational forum held there. I spent four too-short days there, and tasted the delights of the hotel and all it offers, as well as the eminently explorable Miami South Beach. Plus, Ritz-Carlton owns two other properties in the area, and I got enough of a taste of them to whet the appetite for more.

In the heart of the Art Deco District — with its own private beach frontage — the restored hotel, at One Lincoln Road, is just a short walk from countless shopping and dining options on that popular street. Also within walking distance are the Miami Beach Convention Center and the Jackie Gleason Theater. The hotel first opened in 1953 as the DiLido Hotel, designed by architect Morris Lapidus. The redesign preserves the best of the Art Moderne style. Its main lobby, in fact, seems almost a perfect replica of the original, and is as stylish today as it must have been in 1953.

The hotel's 375 guest rooms include 41 suites; there are 67 Club Level rooms and suites on three floors. A three-story pool-side wing contains 74 lanai rooms. The 10,212-square-foot ballroom is part of the total 20,000 square feet of meeting space. Outdoor function space, overlooking pool or ocean, is also available. Rounding out the offerings are three restaurants, and a 16,000-square-foot spa.

And then there's the Ritz-Carlton, Biscayne Bay, just across a causeway from the city but seemingly a world away from the bustle of South Beach. Just five miles from downtown Miami, Key Biscayne is the southernmost barrier island in the United States. The more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space includes a 10,000-square-foot ballroom. Guests can get preferred tee times at nearby Crandon Golf Course, and the resorts has 11 tennis courts, 12 acres of tropical gardens, 1,200 feet of beachfront, and a 20,000-square-foot spa.

The Ritz-Carlton, Coconut Grove, opened in 2002, is a 115-room, boutique-style hotel in the heart of that popular shopping, dining, and nightlife district. It offers four meeting rooms and a ballroom.