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Favorite Spots Around Town – Miami

June 5th, 2009 No Comments

Favorite Spots Around Town – Miami

Several readers have asked me to reccommend fun, affordable, trendy spots I like in Miami.  When I have written expansive posts to go under my “Favorite Spots Around Town” feature, it is because I have lived in each spot and experienced each city in many different ways.  After only 3 trips to Miami, South Beach to be specific, I can’t say I really know much about it aside from a tourist’s perspective.

So the following “Hot Spots” are a combination of places I’ve been (marked with a *) and referrals from other resources (friends, magazines, websites I discovered while researching my trip).  I hope this helps!

OVERVIEW

Basically everything seems to happen on Collins Avenue around around 17th Street (cross streets of the Delano hotel).  If you go lower (8th Street or on Washington – a block from Collins), you’ll find cute boutique hotels at a bargain that are close enough to walk or cab it to the action.  But with rates so low at the main resorts, I think it’s best to stay at one to enjoy the nicer ammenities, the pool, and the trendy scene you are going to want to experience at least for a night.  The restaurants in them are pricey, but the fare usually will surpass your expectations.  Otherwise, get the concierge to reccommend a cafe on the Lincoln Road Promenade, that has shopping is a nice place to stroll after dinner.  

HOTELS

Rates are dropping for all Miami hotels, so you can stay at the big, beautfiul resorts for less than $250 a night.  My favorites:

Delano: a classic that is still rocking

Setai

Fountainbleau* – newly renovated to be breathtaking

Mondrian:  brand new and applauded by Travel + Leisure magazine

Ritz Carlton: ridiculously cheap fares in Biscane Bay and Coconut Grove on Priceline.com

The Angler’s* – boutique resort a block from the beach that’s a great bang for your buck.

RESTAURANTS

All of these spots are trendy and great places to experience the South Beach scene. But I’m not going to lie, they’re pricey.

Gotham at the Fountainbleu* – upscale, very expensive but truly delicious

Blue Sea at the Delano – apparently the fish is some of the best in Miami and it’s in the front lobby of the hotel.  I would grab a pre-party bite there, but wouldn’t sit down for a whole meal.

Doraku* – Affordable, fresh Japanese at the end of the Lincoln road promanade.  A great alternative to hotel dining.

World Resources – Another affordable Japanese spot on Lincoln reccommended by Zagat

Asia de Cuba* – The dishes are a beautiful as the people in this hot spot.  If you can’t get a resi, it’s fun to eat at the communal bar tables and meet other partygoers.

The Restaurant at the Setai – one of Heft’s favorites (she frequesnts SB often) and she says it’s worth the high price

– NYC and LA restaurants are a staple in South Beach.  Here are some of the places I love elsewhere but haven’t tried them in SB.  Note, they’re ALL expensive:  Bond Street (Sushi, NYC), Ago (Italian, LA/NYC), Phillipe (Pan Asian, NYC), Kobe Club (NYC), 

CLUBS

Not sure how you get into these places if you’re not on the list (my promoter friends in NYC were kind enough to hook me up for my trips), but definitely worth finding out!  A sure fire way to get in, is to get a group together and buy a table with a bottle.  If you’re good at negotiating, they’ll give you the table for free which would absolutely make it worth the price of the liquor.  A bottled water at one of these spots can be $10.

The Florida Room at the Delano*:  Still one of the best clubs in South Beach.  If you can’t get in, the poolside bar is always hoping until the wee hours as well.

Louis at the Gansevoort*:  New and already established in the scene

LIV at The Fountainbleu:  This place is like Fort Knox.  Ladies, leave your men at home and you might have a chance at entering the hot hideaway.  Otherwise, their poolside bar is also a good scene.

DAYTIME ACTIVITIES

If you’re not poolside or at the beach, here’s what else there is available (that I know of):

Nikki Beach* – daytime party with an all you can eat brunch on the weekends ($20, I think) with daybeds, hammocks, and chairs.

Coral Gables* – beautiful outdoor mall with big brand name stores and Neiman Marcus.  A $20 cab ride from the hotel area.

– Lincoln Road Promenade* – Blocks of stores, cafes, and boutiques.  Walking distance from the major resorts. Great place to stroll at night.

– Washington between 5th and 13th streets* – Club Monaco, Zara, Co-Op shopping.  I prefer Lincoln, but it’s nice enough.

Equinox* – 5th Street and Washington, $20 guest fee

– Ocean Drive – walking up and down this street  parallel to the water is some of the best people watching in SB.  The restaurants are pricey, but worth it to sit, grab a bite, and watch the weirdos go by.

– Golf and kyaking are other things I’ve heard of people doing

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