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Southerners know all about luxury travel and food too. If you've been torturing yourself over left-over pasta while watching food porn on the Food Network, it's time to jet-set to Miami Beach and crawl over to Yardbird for some authentic, gourmet Southern food at its finest. You won't believe how good mac n cheese can really be. They must put crack in all the sauces...wait, there's another word for that...I think it's called bacon. In any case, the food and drinks are excellent, so whatever you do in Miami, make sure you put Yardbird on your itinerary, because you know you'll be famished after that helicopter auction.
I'm sure kinds of old had servants chew their food for them, but at Zuma you'll want to chew the food yourself, it's that good. The only problem is that the food is so artfully and beautifully displayed in every dish, that you'll annoy your friends with the constant compulsion to photograph everything you eat and then post it on Instagram. Also, make sure you dress to impress because the everyone here is a professional jet-setter who shops at Bal Harbor Shops, but I'll get to that later...
Not only is the view of Miami Beach exquisite, although the view from your penthouse is just as good, the people are fabulous. You'll find flocks of peacocks with too much perfume and designer clothes all trying to out-sparkle each other. And it's one of the few places on Lincoln Road where you can order the most expensive bottle of bubbly and only drink one glass, just because you can. The food is excellent as well. Sip on some over-priced Prosecco, chat about your Italian villa, and enjoy the best view of Miami Beach.
Situated in a quiet part of South Beach, Circa 39 is a posh boutique hotel that offers nice amenities but without the crowds of other large hotel chains. The lobby has an arty, eclectic atmosphere with immaculately renovated rooms to match. Plus, for a reasonable price you get a lot of amenities such as a pool, fitness center, and bar and restaurant. And it's right across the street from the beach. If you're looking for a reasonably priced, quiet holiday, Circa 39 provides a lovely retreat from the world.
Far enough from South Beach, Canyon Ranch is an oasis for travelers on a quest of wellness and relaxation. The spa services here are incredible. Anything you need, from naturopathic medicine, massage and facial treatments to specially-tailored fitness and nutrition programs, Canyon Ranch offers it. If you want to recharge your batteries at the beach and turn over a new leaf, this is the best place to do it. There are a few things they should work on though. The lobby smells like floral bleach, which is surprising since they encourage holistic wellness. The posh apartment rooms have a full kitchen, so you can hop over to Publix across the street and make your own food. Overall, the place was perfect and I hardly wanted to leave.
South Beach Hostel is perfect for solo travelers looking to meet people. Situated in the Deco District, you can walk around the neighborhood and take in the local architecture that Miami Beach is famous for. Also, the clubs and beaches are only a few blocks away. This hostel offers more amenities than comparable places in South Beach, which makes it a great value for the money. The staff is friendly and helpful, and they also offer free breakfast, airport shuttle, WiFi, and an Internet café. Also, the bar and lounge is a fun hangout before going out to the clubs. The only downside is the hard prison beds and tiny rooms, but after a night of partying with your friends, sharing a small space is great for bonding. If you're young and have an adventurous spirit, South Beach Hostel won't disappoint.
Story has a magical ambiance that radiates upscale debauchery. While it shares many of the characteristics of a typical South Beach nightclub such as semi-nude go-go dancers, an ultimate light show, world class DJs, and bottle service, there's more to the Story that simply dazzles the senses and carries you away to a place you never thought imaginable. Of course, when you stumble outside at sunrise you'll realize it was all a wonderful façade. But let the haters never forget: illusions are the first of all pleasures.
If neighboring Chesterfield is the rowdy cousin, then Lily Leon is its relaxed and grown-up counterpart. The garden patio situated in the middle of the hotel is a lovely place to relax under the shade and conjures up images of Melrose Place. The apartment vibe is cool because you can feel like a local in the midst of South Beach, since it's right off Collins. There isn't a pool, but I didn't mind since the beach is only a block away. The rooms are pretty laid-back, with a funky art deco vibe. The décor is modern, sleek and immaculate, which is nice for the rates. There also is a bar and restaurant onsite, which is convenient if you want a rest from exploring the neighborhood.
You can get a quality burger at Shake Shack for pretty cheap, and if you want to really slut it up after a night of drinking, go for the high cholesterol, love-handles Shake Stack, a cheeseburger with fried cheese balls and mushroom. It's got enough calories to feed a Somalian for a week and tastes amazing. Come hungry because this place doesn't mess around. And if you've gone this far, why not try the cheese fries? But to be honest, the milkshakes aren't that spectacular. I would stick with the savory snacks.
Chalk is one of the few places in South Beach that is a fusion of a bar and nightclub, but without the dirtiness or pretentiousness of either. Guys can't wear shorts, but it's worth it because there are loads of hot hipsters swarming the place. On the plus side, drinks are reasonable for the area, about 7 to 9 dollars, and they have ping pong tables and billiards. And if dancing is your thing, on the weekends the DJ's are a mixed bag of house and 90s jams, depending on the night.
This place is awesome. There is bottle service, posh interior, fluffy couches, and beautiful, scantily clad women everywhere. The tables are so beautiful you would never believe the amount of gum stuck underneath. Plus, the music drowns out the insanity happening before your eyes. And there are girls, lots of hot girls. Also, come dressed tip top because Mansion has a strict dress code. Over-priced and decadent, this is the place to be seen in South Beach.
If you want to hear good electronic music and dance but without all the pretentiousness, Treehouse fits the bill. Depending on the weekend line up, you won't mind the over-priced drinks and black-lung plumes of cigarette smoke, which is the case with most clubs in South Beach. The music is definitely Treehouse's strong suit, and it's one of the few clubs that doesn't have a dress code. The crowd is very low-key and it's typical to find people dancing in cut-offs and sandals. It's the place to dance and have fun, not a place to be seen, which is sometimes a good thing.
Segafredo is great for people-watching on Lincoln Road in the late afternoon or evening and their outdoor seating by the fountain is a relaxed place for pre-party drinking. It's also one of the few drinking establishments that has Italian quality espresso drinks if you're not ready for cocktails. They also have a happy hour weekdays from 6 to 8pm where the drinks aren't discounted but they offer complimentary bruschetta, caprese salad, and other apertivo buffet dishes. It's a great way to experience the local culture and check out the evening scene.
La Sandwicherie is the best sandwich on the beach, without a doubt. The place has something for everybody, plus it's open late night, so you can roll out of the club for a midnight snack or for a late evening meal. Everything is fresh and made to order, plus you can get a big salad if you are one of those fussy gluten free vegan weirdoes.
This place is a little crazy and crowded, so if you like a boisterous, messy atmosphere it's not bad, especially for the bohemian trendsters. The location is great as it is footsteps to the beach and the price is perfect for the broke backpacker. The people staying there were pretty friendly, but the staff were a mixed bag. Some were grumpy dictators taking their job way too seriously, others decent and helpful enough. The place was cheap so I can't complain too much about the small, crowded, dirty rooms. Plus, if you're an art history buff you'll love wandering around the neighborhood admiring the historic art deco buildings. The people are friendly and cool at the full bar and lounge, so it's a great place for pre-clubbing libations. Also, they have a continental breakfast, which is a nice freebie after sleeping on hard prison beds.
Everybody comes to Miami for the same thing: drinking, dancing, and sunbathing at the beach, but Sense Beach House hotel and restaurant is the place for the grownups to party. It provides a cozy and posh beach house atmosphere right out of a House Beautiful magazine. The kids on Ocean Drive can drink their trough-sized margaritas on the well-grooved tourist track while you stay tucked away in South Point drinking bottomless mimosas on the restaurant patio a block from the beach. Their brunch isn't phenomenal but it's better than most in the area. Plus, the friendly staff is very generous with their mimosa refills, which will definitely change the course of your afternoon. The rooms are quite spacious for a boutique hotel and are so fluffy and comfortable you'll feel like you're on a photo set for Ocean Living magazine. It's also very close to the beach and Ocean Drive but still south enough to be away from the hustle and bustle of the strip.