Miami - The Holidays
Palm tree-lined boulevards, white sand beaches and turquoise waters never said Home for the Holidays more than in Miami. Miami is that refuge, where those from less privileged climates flee to celebrate—or in some cases, escape—the holidays. A mere Galavante away, Miami is the destination from now until the snow melts this spring. Miami nightlife is world-renowned and it’s often the destination of choice for that girls’, guys’ or couples’ weekend getaway.
While overall a trip to Miami is “affordable,” the one area where you could do some damage is in hotels. Hotels in Miami are notoriously expensive and not necessarly well-maintained, even in the higher-end category. We’ve stayed at them all, some of which will remain unnamed for less than spotless and updated rooms. There are some gems though, which include The Tides. A long-time South Beach hotel, The Tides is an art deco hotel which is high on the romance factor and situated right on Ocean Drive. For larger scale resort amenities, the Setai is the only true luxury hotel in South Beach. Here, you’ll be in the center of the South Beach scene, in all its glory, with gorgeous rooms, a serene pool and five star service at your disposal.
If you are in Miami to decompress, migrating away from South Beach is the route to go. For luxurious value, check into the Mandarin Oriental, in a class by itself, where they will have you at ‘Hello.’ The Miami location lives up to the Mandarin reputation, where day upon day can be spent in the newly renovated spa and tranquil pool drinking mango concoctions and eating exceptional sushi. MO Bar has an encyclopedia of martini options, and if all else fails, they will custom-make any of your drinks. There’s really no reason to leave if low-key is your weekend objective. If not, South Beach is but a 15-minute taxi ride.
Miami is about vegging out at least one day under an umbrella with a frozen drink in hand. Beach access is a necessity in Miami; it has some of the most gorgeous turquoise waters and soft sand beaches in the country. If you’re not staying in South Beach, have your concierge hook you up with a day pass to one of the resorts.
Speaking of which, should you choose, Miami is a non-stop party. Start with the daytime scene at the Delano, where you will begin your day at the beach, then adjourn to the pool late afternoon for the ridiculous people watching. In between the beach and pool, you can either lunch at the Delano, or head to Joe’s Stone Crab. No visit to Miami is complete without a stop here, for this attainable luxury. Feast on the “Select” option and pile up on the sides, especially the grilled tomatoes. The crab here is so good that a certain billionaire had it specially flown in to New York for his $5 million dollar birthday party.
For evening, start with sunset cocktails at the new Fountainbleu, which can be likened to the Disney of adult hotels, or for a more chill scene, head to the Setai. For dinner, there is virtually no more seductive of a place to dine late into the night than at Casa Tua. Past the discreet iron door, you feel like you have stepped into a private Spanish manor, with candles flickering everywhere and white holiday lights strung through the courtyard trees. The food here is Italian, where everything, especially the pasta and risottos, are a home run. Afterwards, you can go the mellower route and try to sweet talk your way into their private club upstairs. Otherwise, head straight over to Sky Bar where you’ll feel like “This is Miami” and can easily spend hours chatting up the crowd.
Miami is about pacing yourself, but if you’re going out big both nights, head to Mynt around the corner, a club on the chicer side for Miami. If you are still alive for more, then head to Space, which will make your college after-hours parties look like a church coffee social. After all, Miami is debauchery defined.
Miami turns it up a notch even hotter this week, when the internationally gorgeous descend upon Art Basel, the art show of the year. Art Basel is where the who’s who in the art world converge upon Miami, party hop and rub elbows. While you come to Miami for the beach, Art Basel is the one diversion that can keep you indoors.
If you can tear yourself away from the scene at Art Basel, or just didn’t score an invite to the UBS parties, make your own party at either Nobu or Ago for a late dinner. There is a Nobu everywhere nowadays, but this one is still quite the scene. Ago will rival it though; there not many places where you’ll see women wearing diamonds so big that their table is surrounded by bodyguards. Afterwards, commit to one of the dens of debauchery like Mansion, where there will be no need —nor energy—to go anywhere afterwards. VIP and bottle service is the only way to go at this notorious club, where you will be perched above the crowd for a front row seat to the high-stakes mischief, most of which cannot be written about here. The recovery period the next morning should be spent at the Setai or Mandarin spas. If you are a glutton for punishment, Nikki Beach has their traditional Sunday beach party, where the party circuit gets under way all over again. After all, when in Miami . . .