Miami is the best place on earth if you are looking for sunshine, beachlife, shopping and the best outdoor parties. And the mojitos, they are addictive!
South Beach is where you stay. Preferably at one of the oceanfront hotels. I like the ones on Collins Ave close to Lincoln Rd; Shore Club, Delano, Gansevoort South and the elegant, luxurious Setai.
Gansevoort South is quite new and you won’t be disappointed, they have a Rooftop Pool and Bar on top just like in NYC! If you don’t stay there, at least stop by for a drink.
Morgans Hotel Group recently opened Mondrian on West Ave, facing Biscayne Bay and downtown Miami. A new superdesigned hot-spot with a spectacular sunset view! Unfortunately no beach, but if you’re a pool person you should stay there. Sanctuary Hotel is not located on the beach but it’s definitely a priceworthy boutique hotel alternative.
When it comes to shopping there are two areas on South Beach. First, Collins Avenue where I usually start at Intermix (6th and 7th Sts) and continue upwards, visiting Sephora (favourite cosmetic shop), Banana Republic, Urban Outfitters, Ralph Lauren, Barney’s Coop etc.
The Lincoln Road Mall is a pedestrian street starting from Washington Ave. Lots of bad taste clothing hit you at first but just walk on by, it gets better:-) You’ll soon find Kiehl’s, Ricky’s (with super prices on salon shampoos), Miss Sixty, Victoria’s Secret and Gap. Last one on the street is wonderful Anthropologie, a lifestyle boutique with a mix of clothing and home decoration (I get my Voluspa candles here). If you feel for lunch, try Locanda Sibilla’s italian menu.
If you’re a fan of Americal Apparel it’s located on Ocean Drive. I try to avoid this street nowadays. That scene is too touristic for my taste;-) but there are lots of restaurants and bars if you like this busy area.
Inside the Shore Club, Scoop has a perfect assortment of designer clothing for both him and her. And next to Shore Club on Collins you can get yourself a rockstar style at Atrium. Gansevoort South also has some really nice shopping spots, my favourite is Curve de Soleil next to the hotel lobby.
45 minutes by car from South Beach is Aventura Mall with lots of american brands. I go there mainly for the cashmere and color expert J Crew and the american leisure store Abercrombie & Fitch. If you want to make some top designer bargains, take a cab to Dolphin Mall where Neiman Marcus Last Call has an outlet with outrageous prices!
Bal Harbour Shops are closer and offer the finest brands from Europe and America.Expensive stuff, but OMG it’s designer heaven!!! Plus department stores Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Start with lunch at Carpaccio and enjoy watching the wealthy Bal Harbour people socializing.
FOOD AND NIGHTLIFE:
The designer hotels are the key to a great nightlife and good food. In Sanctuary Hotel you’ll find the cozy little OLA, bringing you the Nuevo Latino Cuisine like Ceviche, Tuna Taco and Mystery Meatballs. Don’t forget to order your mojito… Jennifer Lopez and Paris Hilton have been spotted here.
A good lunch-spot is the Raleigh Hotel in the garden, with a sooo cool vintage pool. The Shore Club offers two premiere restaurants; Northern-Italian AGO, where I could eat every day (Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson had a romantic dinner here), and Robert de Niro’s Nobu, with cutting-edge japanese food. Delano Hotel’s Bianca is another perfect option for both lunch and dinner.
If you’re looking for a steakhouse, try Prime One Twelve in Brown’s Hotel. There’s a good chance to spot a celebrity or two in this busy and popular place. For another expensive, and high-class experience, book a table at Casa Tua with a well hidden garden for outdoor dining. Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer were seen here during the shooting of Marley & Me. Upstairs is a Private Member Club where the rich and famous can play.
For Italian dining on Lincoln Road, try classy Quattro or friendly and relaxed Tiramesu. Sushi Samba is another cool spot. Or why not have a mexican experience at El Rancho Grande at Pennsylvania Ave/Lincoln. For an authentic cuban food and music evening, go to Larios on Ocean Drive, owned by Gloria Estefan. The live band is playing, people are eating and can’t sit still. It’s really a great experience:D
Skybar at Shore Club has different bars around the pool and in the Bali-like garden. The cabanas with flowing curtains are perfect for sipping a drink. Don’t miss the Sunday Pool Parties. Thursdays, it’s Delano. Start inside with at the Rose Bar and finish your evening dancing downstairs at the Florida Room. Other cool scenes: Louis at Gansevoort, Sunset Lounge at Mondrian on Fridays. I prefer the outdoor bars but if you’re into nightclubs: LIV at Fountainbleu (best on Saturdays), SET, Mansion, Mynt, Mokai.
STUFF YOU NEED TO BUY:
A beach outfit – a floaty kaftan and a new bikini… Atrium, Scoop and Intermix have lots of choices. Cashmere!!! Fair prices at Banana Republic, J Crew, and the department stores.
Bodylotion from Kiehl’s: “Creme de corps”. The best there is.
Shower creams from Philosophy (at Sephora), and Purity Made Simple, a super-efficient cleanser. Sephora also offers miracle creams like StriVectin.
Panties from Hanky Panky; the celebrities’ favourite, it’s a must! You’ll find the small rolls in bright colors on counters at Intermix, Scoop or in the department stores.
Voluspa hand crafted candles are very favourable in price compared to Scandinavia. Anthropologie on Lincoln Rd has many different scents.
American designer jeans, famous for the ultimate fit.