• Thursday, October 1, 2020

Vacation in Miami Beach

Miami - Celebrating the Holidays Beach Style
November 29, 2011

Palm-shaded beaches, turquoise waters, bikinis and fruity martinis: This is how Miami does Home for the Holidays. A short Galavante away and comparatively easy on the pocket, Miami is the place to be from now until the snow melts.

Your Miami Crash Pad

As a winter getaway, Miami is generally quite affordable – except for the hotels. This is where you can do some damage to your wallet, as the city’s hotels are notoriously expensive yet surprisingly lacking in the luxe factor, even among the higher-end options. Miami’s old-school gem is the romantic The Tides, an Art Deco hotel on Ocean Drive. For more upscale resort amenities, try the Setai, which is in the hot center of theSouth Beach scene and has gorgeous rooms, a serene pool, and five-star service at your disposal.

The coolest way to take in your Miami bender is at the new Soho Beach House, which is part of the swank private members Soho House clubs. Here, the hotel gives you keys to their beachfront kingdom for your stay. The Soho House is not just a pretty face, either. Rooms are freshly decorated and intimate, so you feel like you’re lounging in a private casa. The Cowshed Spa is one of Miami’s best, where you’ll get pampered with top-quality reflexology and hot stone massages. 

If you’re in Miami to decompress, migrate away from South Beach. For luxury defined, check in to the Mandarin Oriental, where they’ll have you at “hello.” The hotel more than lives up to its Mandarin reputation, with a newly renovated spa and tranquil pool, and free-flowing fresh mango concoctions. MO Bar has an encyclopedia of martini options, and if that’s not enough, they’ll customize any of your drinks. If all you want to do is unwind, then there’s no reason to leave. Otherwise, South Beach is just a 15-minute taxi ride away.

Arty Party

Not much will stop Miami locals from working on their tans. Art Basel will. This famous contemporary art festival – the most prestigious in the U.S. – draws the “who’s who” of the international art world to Miami for a glittering week of culture and cocktails.

Miami Basel is the little sister of the original Art Basel located in Switzerland, and accordingly it upholds the world’s highest standards for contemporary art and the hobnobbing that goes with it. In its tenth year, Miami Basel entices jet setters hailing from as far away as China with its parties, laidback atmosphere and Latin flair. Viewers strolling past contemporary masterpieces trade their Hermes scarves and blazers for white linen, short dresses and wedge sandals.

Miami Basel attracts 260 leading galleries from around the world, showcasing works by more than 2,000 artists from the 20th and 21st centuries. The main exhibition hall is just walking distance from the beach, but the art is so engaging you will spend your time at Miami Basel indoors.

Work your concierge and/or finance connections to score a UBS Lounge Pass and experience overflowing champagne, plush seating and lots of delicious people watching. Miami Basel also hosts conversations, book launches, roundtable discussions, tours and films surrounding the main exhibition. This year Art Basel will collaborate with the Bass Museum of Art on the Art Public sector, which will transform Collins Park with a record number of public art works,featuring sculptures and performances by renowned artists and emerging talents. The Rubell Family Collection, among Miami’s other leading private collections, is open to Miami Basel attendees.

Coinciding with Miami Basel, is Design Miami, where some of the world’s most prominent design galleries were presenting contemporary and historic work. Be sure the check out Miami’s Design District, which is one of the city’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods. In addition to several excellent bars, restaurants and nightclubs, including Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink and Pascha’s, the Design District is home to many design shops and galleries. During Miami Basel, the neighborhood features an array of art installations, unique retail environments and some of the most influential design showrooms, all marked by a blue line on the sidewalk.

Fueled by free champagne and gift bags, head to Miami’s Downtown/Wynwood area which is packed with satellite art fairs, galleries and pop-up projects. As always the Pulse and Scope shows represent the most contemporary of contemporary art that will make your head spin. You will find some of Miami’s hip restuarants just ten minutes by foot. Check out Mercadito or Sugarcane. If you tire of the downtown feel grab a taxi and spend the afternoon at Sega Freddo on Lincoln Road perched with cappuccinos among fellow Miami Baselers. To round off the cultural tour, peak at the new parking garage at 1111 Lincoln Road. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron the hybrid parking/living structure is as good as any Picasso.

Cuisine as Caliente as the Scene

Miami’s cuisine is, in a word, caliente. Get messy with claws and delicious sides like grilled tomatoes at the old-school Joe’s Stone Crab. The crab here is so good that a certain billionaire had it flown to New York for his $5-million dollar birthday party.

A restaurant with one of the most seductive vibes is Italian Casa Tua.  As you open the wrought iron doors, you feel like you’ve stepped into a private Spanish manor, with flickering candles and white holiday lights strung through the courtyard trees. The menu is excellent – the pastas and risottos especially are a home run. Afterwards, go the mellow route and sweet-talk your way into their  private club upstairs, where you may just get lucky with another kind of home run. 

If you’re feeling like the music just owns you, make your own party at Nobu or Ago for a late dinner. There are Nobus everywhere, but this one is quite the scene. The swank Ago easily rivals it – there aren’t many places where you’ll see women wearing diamonds so big that their table is surrounded by bodyguards.

What Happens in Miami, Stays in Miami

In Miami, you can fiesta forever. The party starts at the Delano, when the sun is just starting to climb in the sky. Chill out on the beach and then adjourn to the pool in the afternoon for some amusing people-peeping, like the wannabe body builders flexing their muscles. If it’s Sunday, stop by Nikki Beach for their weekly raucous beach party.

After a hard day of leisure, you’ll need a beverage. Ease into the evening over sunset cocktails at the sprawling hotel Fountainbleu. Or, for a more relaxed scene, kick back at the Setai.  

For post-dinner entertainment, mosey over to Sky Bar, which is just about as Miamiesque as you can get: bronzed guys and gals wearing very little, wallet-busting cocktails, and flirting under the stars. Or, check out the chic club Mynt around the corner. For hardcore clubbing, commit to one of Miami’s pulsating dance dens like Liv or Mokai, where there will be no need – or energy – to go anywhere afterwards. VIP and bottle service is the only way to go at this notorious nightspot, where you’ll have a front row seat of high-stakes mischief, most of which cannot be written about here. If by some miracle you’re still alive for more, then head to Space, which will make your college after-hours parties look like a church social. After all, Miami is debauchery defined.