Guide: 12 Hrs in Miami
Walking the Ocean Drive boardwalk of South Beach gives you an immediate feel for the eclectic vibe of this Art Deco city. Start your morning with a promenade down Ocean Drive, begin at 5th Street to get an idea of where you might want to post up later on in your swimsuit with a drink in hand. Oh and while your burning up from that Miami heat, don’t forget to buy a fresh coconut water from one of the coco vendors.
Many of the hotels and restaurants along the main drags of Collins and Lincoln Road feature the Art Deco style, built between 1923 and 1943. These fanciful buildings feature pastel or all white paint jobs, shiny chrome accents, with railings and windows you might see on a vintage luxury cruise ship. You can walk into many of these hotels on your stroll, including the historic Delano and the Breakwater, for a drink or snack and marvel at the sweeping high ceilings and the cold, gleaming terrazzo floors. Many people are brought to Miami because they want a taste of the glamorous beach life but Miami is much more than that. It truly is a haven for lovers of food, architecture, interior design and of course, beautiful people (people watchers rejoice).
Speaking of architecture, The Casa Casurina (pictured above), formerly the Versace Mansion, is a great spot to tour if you are able to get in and don’t mind detouring from Ocean Drive. It is luxe in every imaginable way, with enormous amounts of Italian marble on every surface. You can spend hours there getting lost in its eclectic and impeccably designed grounds.But I digress, I’d imagine it is time for a bite at this point in your walk along Ocean Drive.
For great eats, people watching and a gorgeous modern meets bohemian chic pool area, head over to Hyde Beach at the SLS Hotel. There you can spend the afternoon in the sun on their brightly patterned poolside lounges and have pitchers of cucumber watermelon margaritas brought to you while you eat fresh sushi. Their sushi is made at the restaurant in the hotel called Katsuya and it is one of the best sushi spots I’ve tried (yeah I know about Nobu). One of the nice parts about Hyde Beach is that there is no cover to go to the pool and you don’t have to be a guest… so no need to worry about getting kicked out, like you would at the W pool. If the pool isn’t your scene, head over to the public beaches right across the boardwalk where you can rent chairs for about $20 or free form it with your own towels.
Before dinner stop by the Sagamore and check out their extensive modern art collection. For dinner I love Dolce, an authentic Italian restaurant where all the waiters are pretty much Italian guys with excellent wine pairing ideas. You may have seen them on Bravo’s restaurant series. The ambience and outdoor seating are unbeatable, with smoldering, sexy lighting, dark wood, white leather chairs and gorgeous high ceilings lit with mod chandeliers. Most of the pastas are house made as well as the mozzarella. Start with an Aperol Spritz, the warm house made mozzarella caprese salad, the meat balls and the grilled octopus with pistachio and farro to get to know the menu before you embark on a whole dish. For a main, the seafood linguine brings you the best of fresh scallops, clams and shrimp in a perfectly balanced pesto infused red sauce with imported linguine from coastal Italy. Pair with whatever wine your cute waiter suggests. After dinner sink into the house made gelato with espresso and maybe even a piece of tiramisu if you can still fit in your pants. Now time for a night cap out at the club.
Depending on your preferred type of evening outing and your outfit, you will either want to hit up a club or a more loungey environment. Definitely dress to impress if you want to get in at most places and/or be prepared to pay up to a $40 cover. To start the night try the Wet Bar or the Wall at the W SOBE (no cover during the week.) It has a sleek modern interior with Mongolian lamb and leather on the seating and a well lit outdoor pool area with high back chairs for you to chill in. They typically have a DJ playing ambient lounge music and a mixed age crowd with above average looks. If you really want to get down head to SET, a British inspired nightclub with dancers defying gravity in cubist looking contraptions strung from the ceiling, while DJs pump out the hottest club bangers of the moment, with some remixes and throwbacks of course. Par for the course at places like these, is a $40 cover and $20 drinks, but thats just Miami and for one evening it is definitely worth your while.