Glamorous Miami sizzles with excitement. The tropical city combines a vibrant beach scene with urban flair that includes designer shopping and a pulsating nightlife – with a strong Latin American flavour thrown in for good measure.
What to see and do
At the southern end of Miami Beach, fashionable South Beach claims the largest collection of art deco buildings in the world. It’s a place to see and be seen among its stylish shops, boutique hotels, pavement cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs.
As its name implies, Coconut Grove has a distinct tropical feel. The district has strong artistic roots, with a diverse range of galleries, boutiques and bookshops.
The sounds of salsa and merengue fill the air of colourful Little Havana. Cuban culture saturates the area, where workers hand-roll cigars and tailors sew traditional linen shirts.
Where to eat
The stars’ favourite Japanese restaurant, Zuma, has opened its first US location in South Beach (www.zumarestaurant.com). Featuring the Zuma signature theme of natural earth tones, the chic eatery includes a lounge bar, sushi counter, grill, and an outdoor patio overlooking the Miami River.
De Rodriguez Cuba (c) (www.drodriguezcuba.com) (c) is the latest place on South Beach to sample Latino fare with a modern twist. Try a speciality such as grilled mahi mahi or cod with sweet plantains, washed down with mojitos, Cuba libre or grapefruit daiquiri.
Joe’s Stone Crab (www.joesstonecrab.com) has been serving seafood in Miami Beach since 1913. It doesn’t take reservations but it’s worth queuing at this casual diner.
Where to drink
The rooftop Spire Bar and Lounge at The Hotel (c) (www.thehotelofsouthbeach.com) is one of the coolest places for watching the sun set over South Beach. A neon-lit tower overlooks a spacious deck area with white sofas and chairs and orange and pink cushions.
The glamorous Rose Bar at the Delano hotel (www.delano-hotel.com) has a strong celebrity following. Upholstered rose-coloured walls and crystal chandeliers help to make the venue a sophisticated retreat from the South Beach revelry.
Trading for about 100 years, Tobacco Road (www.tobacco-road.com) has a colourful history – including time as a speakeasy during the Prohibition. It includes an outdoor patio and a cabaret bar upstairs.
Where to stay
The JW Marriott Marquis (www.jwmarriottmarquismiami.com) is the latest luxury hotel in burgeoning downtown Miami. The 41-storey building includes two “entertainment floors” with a golf school, basketball court, billiards room and virtual bowling alley.
The former Versace mansion in South Beach has re-opened as the luxury Villa by Barton G (www.villabybartong.com). The gated property offers 10 sumptuous suites with personal butlers.
The contemporary Epic Hotel (www.epichotel.com) has its own marina on the Miami River. The 411-room property offers sweeping views of the Miami skyline.