Miami is unique – think Blackpool souped up with an injection of millionaires and celebrities and you’re there. It’s Vegas by the sea. Everyone in Miami seems to have money but its trashy money; money thrown around by the latest rap sensation or reality star. People want you to know how much they have and will flaunt it in their cars and style as if they are the next Kardashian coming through the ranks.
Lets be fair though, it’s a playground and you can watch people all day long. Spot the wannabe models walking their tiny dogs or the old rich millionaires walking their wannabe model girlfriends – it’s great eye porn.
You cannot be unhappy in South Beach – leave that for when you get home and look at your bank balance as the place is decadent brilliance with a bit of tack thrown in.
I was lucky enough to travel here for a few days on New Years eve for 48 hours. If you love to party and eat great food with beautiful people then I wholeheartedly recommend a trip over here where the days are warm and moist and the people are smily and glossy.
I stayed at the Hotel Viktor. Most hotels in Miami are known for being furnished in completely white and this was no exception. Viktor was a stones throw from Versaces mansion and overlooked the sea. As a British person I am always astounded at how cordial American hotel staff are and this hotel was no exception, staff could not do enough. Miami hotels aren’t as expensive as you might think especially of you avoid key times like 4th July and spring break where the place gets descended upon by 100s of college students acting like they’ve never seen a beer before.
Along South Beach the cocktails are as big as your head. You could practically climb in a glass and kick your legs over the side like Dita Von Tease in her stage show. They’re good cocktails though. Every bar mixes drinks well with some of the best cocktails being found in the hotel bars such as the Raleigh.
Miami Beach caters to an international crowd ready to mix and mingle on vacation. Wander into the Art Deco boutique hotels and swanky luxury high rises where stunning hotel bars run the gamut from historic glitz to poolside tiki. Try the Rose bar inside the Delano’s dramatic lobby or the romantic indoor/outdoor Sunset lounge at the Mondrian. Raise a glass to your vacation at the Lapidas Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton. At The Play Bar at Circa39 boutique hotel you can play a game of chess while taking advantage of their daily happy hour. Keep your health in mind at Carillon, the bar at Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, where mixers are made in-house and drinks are served alongside healthful snacks.
It’s not all tourist hot spots on the Beaches. Dives like Mac’s Club Deuce, Abbey Brewing Company, Purdy Lounge, and Abraxis cater to a laid-back local crowd.
Miami’s hotels have become hubs for chefs to show off their latest and greatest creations. Some of the biggest names on the international food scene have outposts in Miami and they’ve crafted menus to excite.
When SLS South Beach opened, the bar was raised on culinary excellence inside hotels. Featuring Katsuya, a sushi restaurant run by Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi, there’s also The Bazaar by Jose Andreas, who is known worldwide. He’s popularized his particular brand of gastronomy and modern Spanish cuisine.
DB Bistro is at JW Marriott Marquis Boulud is a Michelin star chef with restaurants around the world, and many top culinary honors.
The Four Season’s Edge Steak bar, Aaron Brooks touts a menu of farm-to-table freshness with a Latin flare that’s perfectly Miami.
Local Miami Chef Michael Schwartz is a James Beard Award-winning chef and owner of a handful of Miami restaurants, including the newly opened Restaurant Michael Schwartz at The Raleigh Hotel. For a taste of farm-to-table South Florida at its very best, try one of Michael’s restaurants where all the food is locally sourced, from the tomatoes to the fish.
If you want to keep things simple then Miami is full of amazing Delis and sushi bars that do great sandwiches and breakfasts that you can graze over most of the day with never ending cups of coffee. It’s all about the brunch. Miami is a night owls’ town so get with the culture; dine late and brunch late with cocktails in between.
Just sunbathe and watch people go by… If you want more then feel free to try one of the amazing hotel spas, which aren’t that expensive. If you stay in cheap accommodation with no pool then it’s well worth $30 to go to a nice spa for the day. Discover the healing powers of salt, seaweed and hydrotherapy with organic and nature-inspired treatments. Benefit from ancient healing remedies and anti-aging solutions. Sip fresh pressed local fruit and vegetables juice. Go ahead and indulge. Oh and if you don’t want a shot of green gunk, then these places are happy to serve cocktails while you relax!
If you love shopping then on Bayside marketplace there are more than 150 shops include big names like Gap, Wet Seal and Victoria’s Secret, while small carts and kiosks sell local crafts and memorabilia, exotic jewelry, leather goods and gift items from around the world. An open-air plaza invites strolling and relaxing in between purchases, as shoppers take a break from browsing to take in street performances and concerts while enjoying spectacular waterfront views. Remember some brands are so much cheaper in the states – I always fill up on Mac make up!
Right now on a private jet to Mexico Ariiiiibaaaaaaaa
- Try a decent Cuban restaurant – Cuban food and dance is huge here so try something new. Try Versailles or La Cariatta.
- Sort club guest list before you go – it’s hard to get past the velvet rope and blagging won’t work so book up in advance!
- Get off South Beach – Go down town and see the difference in culture. It’s not scary and I’m sure nobody will shoot you (it’s not Miami Vice)
- Don’t stay for more than 3 nights – it’s expensive and much like Vegas Miami tends to use you up and spit you out. Use it as a stop on a Florida holiday but go on to Clearwater Beach, Orlando or St Petes Beach.
- Buy things that are much cheaper in the US than anywhere else – brands like MAC, Nine West, Dash.
- Try seafood – even if you’re a meat and veg kind of Brit – the seafood and indeed the sushi is amazing everywhere.
- Hang out people watching
- Check out the holocaust memorial, the Venetian pool and the Botanical gardens – Miami does have some history and beauty if you look for it.