Kara Franker

Ready to plan an opulent getaway to the Sunshine State?

“There's an enormous cache of elite accommodations in the Sunshine State, which might surprise people because we're most often in the news for beaches and theme parks,” said Angie Orth, a.k.a. Angie Away.  “In reality, Floridians are absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to luxurious hotels.”

"Florida does luxury right,” said Jessica Van Dop DeJesus, a.k.a. The Dining Traveler. “With sunshine year round, luxurious spas, golf, and a wide range of international cuisine, the state offers luxe for every palate."

While many resorts in Florida are indeed luxurious, a chosen few are awarded a certain crème de la crème status of luxury. So who decides which hotels make the cut?

The two most credible and trusted rating systems in the United States are The Five Diamond rating developed by AAA in 1977 and The Five Star rating created by Forbes Travel Guide in 1958. Both companies send trained inspectors on unannounced visits to evaluate service, cleanliness, amenities and location.

Let’s break it down…

Five Diamond and Five Star Hotels in Florida

The following posh properties have been awarded both The Five Diamond rating by AAA and The Five Star rating by Forbes Travel Guide on a consistent basis. Listed in alphabetical order, both rating services agree that these hotels are the best luxury hotels in Florida.

The swimming pool area at the Acqualina Resort & Spa, Sunny Isles Beach

Located in Sunny Isles Beach and nestled between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Acqualina Resort & Spa is situated on nearly five acres of pristine beachfront property.

- Acqualina Resort & Spa

Acqualina Resort & Spa

Located in Sunny Isles Beach and nestled between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Acqualina Resort & Spa is situated on nearly five acres of pristine beachfront property. Resembling a Mediterranean villa, the property features lavish interiors and guest rooms, as well as a lushly landscaped exterior including beautiful outdoor terraces. Soak up panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, go for a dip in the pool with the Roman waterfall (there are three oceanfront swimming pools), book a massage at Acqualina Spa by ESPA and dine at Il Mulino New York. Rates at Acqualina Resort & Spa start at $467 per night.

Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa

Situated on the glistening shores of Palm Beach, perhaps the country’s most affluent destination, Eau Palm Beach (pronounced “oh”) is a 300+ room resort that exudes a refined elegance. The crown jewel of the property is Eau Spa, a 42,000-square-foot haven of relaxation including an outdoor garden with whimsical hanging chairs and overstuffed lounges where you can spend the day in utter bliss. The property features two outdoor oceanfront swimming pools, four restaurants including Angle—the epitome of fine dining—and a great selection of activities like tennis, boating and more. Rates at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa start at $339.

Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach

The Four Seasons brand is synonymous with luxury and this resort in Palm Beach impresses even the most discriminating clientele. Upscale interiors evoke the sun, sand and sea, a perfect complement to the direct ocean access and waterfront swimming pool. Dining at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach is all about locally caught fish, home-grown herbs from the on-site chef’s garden and tasting the best that fresh Florida farms have to offer. Head to the spa for a signature massage, eucalyptus steam room and saltwater whirlpools. There are plenty of activities like tennis, sand volleyball, beachfront yoga and more. Rates at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach start at $359.

Mandarin Oriental, Miami

Just steps from downtown Miami on an exclusive island called Brickell Key, the Mandarin Oriental is secluded and enveloped by picturesque water and city views. With a nod to Miami’s cosmopolitan vibe and the brand’s Oriental heritage, rooms and décor offer the best in Asian-themed elegance. Guests and locals alike flock to Azul for fine dining on Asian fusion fare and La Mar by Gaston Acurio for gourmet Peruvian cuisine. The 15,000-square-foot spa, infinity edge swimming pool and the beach club (yes, there’s a private beach in the city!) offer ample opportunities to unwind and relax. Rates at Mandarin Oriental start at $359.

St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort

Nestled directly on the beach just north of Miami and across the street from Bal Harbour Shops, one of the most luxurious shopping destinations in the country, the St. Regis Bal Harbour is all about living the good life. Guests who book suites get access to the St. Regis signature butler service, including unpacking your bags, pressing your garments or arranging French press coffee for you. There’s also the lovely Remède Spa, dining at internationally-renowned Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s J&G Grill, two tropical pools and 24-hour concierge service. Rates at the St. Regis start at $504.

An aerial shot of the Ritz- Carlton, Naples facing the beach

The Ritz-Carlton in Naples is a showstopper.

- Naples Ritz Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton Naples

Perfectly situated for most spectacular sunsets on Florida’s Gulf Coast, The Ritz-Carlton in Naples is a showstopper. With 450 guest rooms, the sprawling resort is a great destination for families and features amenities like a world-class spa, two heated outdoor pools, seven dining options and access to a Greg Norman-designed golf club. Rates at The Ritz-Carlton Naples start at $450.

Florida Hotels with Five Diamond and Four Star Status

Certainly not to be overlooked, the following hotels are also gunning for the top of the ratings in Florida. Don’t be surprised if any of these luxe properties end up joining their counterparts above. These hotels have Five Diamond and Four Star status:


More Luxurious Hotels and Resorts


For additional ideas and inspiration, check out these articles highlighting lavish Florida resorts and hotels. Located all around the Sunshine State, these opulent properties have one thing in common: they're dedicated to spoiling you rotten.

Florida's Inclusive Resort Packages Remove the Stress
The Best of West Palm Beach: Luxury Hotels, Spas & More
Style, Luxury and Service, Without Pretense at SLS Hotel South Beach
Hammock Beach Resort: Golf, Luxury & Beaches
SLS Hotel South Beach - Sip, Savor and Socialize in Miami Beach
The Brazilian Court Hotel: Old Florida Charm Meets Palm Beach Luxury
The W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale: Luxurious Beach Escape in Florida
Visit the Don CeSar Hotel in St. Petersburg | VISIT FLORIDA
Chesterfield Hotel
Great Hotels in Florida Keys | VISIT FLORIDA
Relax & Unwind at the Lago Mar Resort and Club in Fort Lauderdale
Haute Hotel: Turnberry Resort & Spa
Haute Hotel: Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa
Haute Hotel: South Beach Marriott
Haute Hotel: Mayfair Hotel and Spa in Coconut Grove
Haute Hotel: The Atlantic Hotel and Spa in Fort Lauderdale
Haute Hotel: The Seagate Hotel and Spa
Haute Hotel: Vinoy Renaissance in Downtown St. Pete

Haute Hotel: Loews Pacific Royal Resort at Universal Orlando
Margaritaville Beach Resort at Hollywood Beach | VISIT FLORIDA
Discover The Stetson Mansion: Florida's First Luxury Estate
Art Meets Glamour at Luxury Faena Hotel (2/8/16)
The Extravagance of the Royal Suite at The Ritz-Carlton in Orlando
Photos: Reasons to Stay at the Ritz Carlton Orlando
Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Is for Any Occasion – or Just Because
Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, a Lavish Island Escape in the Heart of Miami

Naples' Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort Offers Luxury and Incomparable Convenience
Find a Slice of Heaven on Captiva Island

Check out more great places to stay in Florida.