When my wife and I started planning our trip to South Florida back in late March, our intent was to stay in South Beach. Having lived and worked in the 305 almost a decade ago, we were looking forward to visiting some of our favorite places. We thought one of the Art Deco hotels along Collins Avenue or Ocean Boulevard would be our base of operations.

Then we got to thinking about the hassles of staying in South Beach. The traffic, the 24/7 party atmosphere, the sometimes less-than-accommodating staffs at the hotels. Did we really want to deal with the headaches? After all, the point of a vacation is to relax.

We decided to focus our search further north and, after some online digging, zeroed in on Hollywood Beach and the newly opened Casa Pellegrino Boutique Hotel. We’re so glad we did!

The Pellegrino family spent more than two years transforming the property along A1A into the Mediterranean showplace you see today. The Hollywood Beach Boardwalk and the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean are just steps away.

Alessandro Pellegrino, a son of the owners, graciously gave us a tour of the hotel, including several rooms and suites.

The centerpiece of the hotel is La Piazza, an inviting private courtyard with splashing fountains, covered tables and flowering plants. This area is the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of vino or get to know your neighbors in the next room.

The courtyard is surrounded by 13 concept rooms inspired by the isles of Italy, Spain and Greece.

“Each room has the name of a Mediterranean Isle with beautifully designed interiors that have colors and accessories reflecting that location,” Alessandro explains.

Even the signs on the room doors have meaning. “You will notice the typeset is unique to the individual isles. We want to educate visitors about these places while they’re here.”

The vibrant designer rooms come with modern kitchenettes, a fully stocked minibar and a European-style bathroom. The comfortable beds are simple, with just a pop of color on the accent pillow and a throw in case you get chilly in the middle of the night.

While the little design touches are extraordinary, it’s the personalized service each guest receives that’s the hallmark of this boutique hotel. It’s something you won’t find at any other property in South Florida – not even South Beach.

From the moment of arrival, guests are treated like part of the Pellegrino family. Your host will treat you to a free glass of wine, tell you the history of the family and the hotel, and walk out to your car to get your bags. Complimentary tapas will be waiting for you in your room.

“Being Italian, you have the desire to welcome people with open arms. It’s in our blood,” Alessandro says. “It’s very, very special for us to receive people.”

When the staff knows someone is celebrating a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary, they go over and beyond for the guest. You might find flowers in your room or a swan sculpture made out of towels at the foot of the bed.

“This hotel was an incredible opportunity for us to meet people from around the world. Service is the most important thing to me and my family.”

Watch Our Video Tour of the Casa Pellegrino Boutique Hotel