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Miami airport: New, affordable hotel options

Not too far from the shores of Miami’s trendy South Beach neighborhood or downtown Miami’s high-rise towers, travelers are finding new hotel options near the airport, the Miami Herald reports.

North Carolina resident Jan Huggins told the Herald that she booked a stay for her family between Christmas and New Year’s at the new Comfort Suites at MIA.

From this location, barring bad traffic, you can drive to Miami Beach in less than 15 minutes.

“I like the fact that it’s brand new. I think it’s beautiful; they did a great job,” she told the Herald while eating a complimentary breakfast. “We did think about staying closer, but it was more expensive.”

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The hotels will appeal to vacationers, cruisers and business travelers, alike, with free WiFi, swimming pools and other modern amenities.

A quick check on the hotel’s website shows no availability for tonight, but a room for Saturday night can be had for as little as $110, excluding taxes.

One of many pluses to these hotels, the Herald points out, is that they don’t charge extra – or much extra – to park. Hotels on Miami Beach and in the downtown charge upwards of $35 a night for parking.

The Herald rounded up this handy list of new and newly upgraded hotels near MIA: (stay tuned for photos, folks!)

Comfort Suites: This Miami Springs hotel, with 102 suite-style rooms, opened last month a mile from the airport. It has pillow-top mattresses, free shuttles to the airport and Port of Miami, 42-inch TVs, desks with iPod docking stations, free WiFi, free breakfast and a pool. Some rooms have terraces.

Best Western Premier: A little more than a year ago, Best Western opened one of its highest-end Premier locations at 4100 W. Flagler St. It has 144 rooms, free airport transportation, free WiFi, 42-inch TVs, a pool and radios that hook up to iPods and iPhones.

Element by Westin: On Jan. 26, Starwood will open one its 10th hip, eco-friendly Element locations just east of the airport at 3525 NW 25th St. Expect Wii Fit games in the lobby, yoga on the green space outside, loaner bikes, free WiFi and a pool.

Best Western Plus: This hotel is under construction north of the airport. It’s expected to open this summer.

Red Roof Inn: Last month, the budget chain kicked off a nationwide redesign at its MIA location.

Sheraton: This airport hotel recently upgraded its lobby and fitness center. A new VIP lounge will open soon.

The recession prompted developers to hold off on some plans, but some moved ahead anyway knowing demand at some point would rebound.

“Even though we started when things weren’t too good — things weren’t good at all — we knew the market needed it,” development firm Pfeffer Marin Holdings exec Steve Martin told the Herald. The firm just developed the Comfort Suites.

Readers: When you go to Miami, which hotel or area do you like to stay in?

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