Things to do in glamorous Miami

By Eloise Barker

Photography by Alexander Spatari

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March 2017

Is there more to life than being ridiculously good looking? At first glance, Miami doesn’t seem to think so. But the morning after the party you’ll find Everglades, beaches and fit Cuban sandwiches in between shopping malls and street art.

Miami says relax

What is it about South Beach that makes it so legendary? There are beautiful art deco buildings in candy colours. The lifeguard stations are the only thing that breaks up the expanse of sand and bronzing bodies stretching down to the sea. Crowds come to wet their whistles at Wet Willies or pootle along the promenade by Segway. The tingle of glamour is palpable at Ocean Drive – you’ll see tourists photographing Versace Mansion through the shrubbery.

Where to stay: The Miami Beach Edition is right on the shore and, as well as its glamorous bars and spa, it has an unusual perk:  its buzzing Basement, below the rooms, has an ice skating rink and bowling alley.

“Miami’s tropical climate means that, more often than not, it’s perfect pool weather.”

LIV it up

In Miami, you're here for the nights as well as the days. The definitive destination in Miami is LIV, an expensive two-storey monster club comprising 18,000 square feet of stunning architecture and plush furnishings all illuminated like a kind of colourful spaceship-grotto. LIV has lit up the lives of many visitors – but it also lightens the wallet.

Where to stay: LIV nightclub is within the massive Fontainebleau Miami Beach resort, comprising 22 acres of magnificent indulgence. Beyoncé has performed there. Enough said.

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  • The Art Deco district of South Beach, Miami in Florida USA. Photo credit: Pola Damonte / Getty Images.

    Ocean Drive

    There are 800 Art Deco structures in the district, and they’re home to plenty of scandal and stories.£644 pp

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Fun and games

Inter-city team rivalry is real down south – see the Miami Marlins battle their way to baseball victory or cheer on American football stars, the Miami Dolphins. Head to Little Havana for even fiercer competition. Watch residents slam down domino tiles in games at Máximo Gómez park. For something a little different swing by the Wynwood Walls – graffiti artists have made them a glorious outdoor gallery. Spot work by the famous Os Gemeos from Sao Paulo.

Where to stay: W South Beach has grand, opulent spaces filled with famous contemporary art and jazzy seating. Take advantage of their ‘Whatever/Whenever’ service policy.

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  • The St Regis Bal Harbour Hotel – Grand Hall. © Marriott International.

    How to make an entrance

    3,000 rock crystals adorn each of the three chandeliers in the Grand Hall of the St Regis.

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  • The Miami Beach EDITION – Ocean View room. © EDITION Hotels.

    Stay on the beach

    Soak up the sun in the day and then visit the hotel’s own nightclub in the evening.

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  • Aventura, 18th hole on golf course at Turnberry Isle Resort. Photo credit: Cosmo Condina / Alamy Stock Photo.

    Off putting

    There’s nothing to stop you playing golf all day on the courses.

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Malls and outlets

This glamorous city has to keep its residents well dressed. That’s why you’ll find beautiful beach wear and chic espadrilles at Sunset Harbour – it takes 20 minutes to drive out to this rather over-the-top arcade and bowling alley. Bal Harbour Shops is for upmarket offerings and upmarket people – there are Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren and Bonpoint boutiques. For discounts, though, most people head out of town, to Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, Florida, which has everything from a Bose factory store to Calvin Klein, Coach and Converse.

Where to stay: St Regis Bal Harbour is a beautiful and sophisticated hotel, recently awarded five stars by Forbes Travel. And, being in Bal Harbour, it’s dangerously close to the upmarket shops.

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  • W South Beach Hotel - Wet Pool. © Starwood hotels.

    By the pool

    Miami’s tropical climate means that, more often than not, it’s perfect pool weather.£644 pp

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Florida is made for golf holidays – the pleasant people, the relaxed atmosphere, the space and the weather means it’s easy to find a fair fairway. Originally designed by architect Robert Trent Jones and then reimagined by Raymond Floyd, the two 18-hole Championship Courses at Turnberry Isle Miami are a dream to play on. Have a lesson or improve your game in a clinic whilst flamingos watch from the surrounding pools.

Where to stay: Turnberry Isle Miami, Autograph Collection has more than just good golf. Enjoy the seclusion of a resort set within an oasis of gardens and the sanctuary of the light and bright âme Spa, which is set over three floors.

Looking good

For better or worse, Miami is an image-conscience city. Eventually it may have you reaching for a mirror. So, escape: cover your eyes with cucumbers at the Carillon Hotel & Spa, a wellness hotel with a 7,000 square foot spa. Try a sunrise meditation to kick off your day or try yoga and barre. Have a full makeover ready for a big night out or spoil yourself with an indulgent treatment.

Where to stay: The Carillon Hotel & Spa is on the Ocean Front at Miami Beach. As well as wellness, for something a little different, you can always take advantage of its two-storey indoor rock climbing wall.

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River of grass

The Floridian Everglades is a vast expanse of tropical wetland, flat and wild, with only a healthy population of crocodiles, alligators and manatees for company. Don’t let that put you off kayaking, or exploring by airboat – these totally flat bottomed craft can venture into the shallowest waters in search of gator holes. Florida only gets stranger from here – drive down the Florida Keys. This chain of interconnected islands ends at Key West, just 90 miles from Cuba, but a thousand miles away from stylish Miami. This is where things get a bit weird, the locals are colourful characters and even the cats have five toes.

Stay: The Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne boasts a gorgeous beach on the Atlantic and a huge tennis centre with 11 courts.

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