Miami – More Design than Sand. Where to Eat, Sleep and Play.

Miami

Turquoise, teal and cobalt blue waters bordered by fine talcumed sand and peppered with palm trees everywhere. The perfect elements set in a tropical clime, right off the Atlantic coast in south-eastern Florida. No prizes for guessing why Miami is one of the most sort after beach-holiday destinations the world over.

But what if you look at your life as one long vacation? Wouldn’t you want to settle in a place where the weather is warm; the backdrop – a constant muse for new creation; the laid back waters – a reflection of your pace of life; and your work attire – nothing more than a pair of trunks or a chic bikini? This makes it easy to understand why Miami has almost always been an artistic amalgamation of sorts, serving as a permanent hot-spot for design folks from varying backgrounds and different cultures.

Apart from the perfect sea and sand duo, there’s a lot more to the city of Miami. Bright colored buildings, beautiful wall murals, art deco signs, cross cultural rub-offs on art and architecture – all of these are the innate influences that give this metropolitan a very different vibe from other beach cities.

High on the to-do list:

Art lovers rejoice. People visit Miami for a mouthful of beautiful beaches and coquette cocktails (which is a good enough reason), but if you’re looking for more things to whet your appetite, you’ll be drooling non-stop. Guaranteed!

Photo Credit: Arrested Motion

Imagine walking down a couple blocks and discovering quirky little places that will quickly conspire to tell you what you need? Inspired by art itself is an interesting little neighborhood north of midtown Miami called The Design District, which is home to more than 130 art galleries, antique stores, bars, eateries, and other fun stuff.

An esoteric collection that houses an assortment of eclectic finds, there’s something out here for everyone. And with so many art galleries in such close proximity, there’s always an interesting exhibition or expose just around the corner.

Launch Arte is an interesting company that provides outlets and opportunities for artists, designers and entrepreneurs to be discovered. They also give the creative folks a chance to become a household name by opening their displays for the general public on Saturdays.

Through some of the most prestigious affiliations worldwide, the Art Basel Miami Beach works at bringing together the best selections from top-notch galleries across the globe. They offer a wide variety of special exhibits, international events, and correlated promos that combine relevance in other art forms.

Places to make the wallet a little lighter:

If bold Finnish designs have always impressed you, then Marimekko Miami is a sure shot winner. This well designed Finnish showroom carries a strong line of classic designs for men, women and kids. In addition, they also showcase a complete line of home accessories, upholstery and other interesting curios to add that edge to your interiors.

 

Designed by Steven Giles and put together like an art exhibit (well almost) is this amazing store, Base World catering to some of the hottest bodies in tinsel town. With a great variety of clothing for both men and women, and a very hip clientele of regular shoppers, this place is a good reflection of what’s ‘in’ this season.

You can’t blame anyone for feeling like a million bucks on the beach. If you’re in one of those extravagant moods, and are looking for good style in high end brands, then the Bal Harbor Shops should be your next stop. With brands like Prada and Versace among other reputed big-wig names, you know you have quite a plethora of designer brands to choose from.

For more than a good night’s rest:

Garden mazes, secret passes and a little twist and turn of curiousness, in the middle of a beach city. Sounds fascinating? Well then you’ve got to take a little peek at Shore Club. With a sprawling pool, low cushioned seating and candle-lit gorgeousness, it brings in the right mix of romance, exclusiveness and comfort into the equation.

Shore Club, Miami

Shore Club, Miami

Taking inspiration from Marrakech’s own Jardin Majorell, Brit designer David Chipperfield brought this beautiful ensemble to life in earthy rich hues. This calls for an air of exciting unexpected rendezvous, a close intimate moment, or semi-formal interaction, whatever the need may be.

Shore Club, Miami

And while you’re out there, it will be worth your while to check out the Sky Bar.

Who says that budgeted stays cannot be chic and stylish? One of the hotels on the Miami beach front that has constantly been on the radar is The Standard. Located right off the Miami South Beach’s oceanfront (in the quiet little residential part of Bell Isle), The Standard has been overtly popular for being exuberant and indulgent without pinching the pocket.

The Standard, Miami

What really sets this hotel apart is its state-of-the-art spa facilities that come with soap-suds soaked hot baths, relaxing saunas and steam treatments, stress relieving mud wraps and a chlorine-free pool with soothing underwater sounds to connect with the calm. So bring on that bathrobe and get ready to plunge into the communal bathhouse culture, or step aside and sink into a well deserved ‘me time’ moment.

Standard Hotel, Miami

Another budget boutique hotel that might want to explore is the TownHouse on South Beach Miami. With a complete beach house look and feel, clean lines, minimalistic decor (with obvious pops of cherry red), this hotel pitches itself as a private home by the beach.

Townhouse, Miami

Townhouse, Miami

Slurping by the sea-side:

Who wouldn’t want to sip on some delectable cocktails and watch the sun bid adieu for the day as it immerses itself into the waters? At the Mondrian Sunset Lounge, the view is even more breathtaking as you see the sun disappear into the sea, while the city’s skyline stands around to witness this grand exit.

Mondrian, Miami

With lounge music in the backdrop, private poolside cabanas and a labyrinth of foliaged alcoves, the place feels like an ode to the sun.

Mondrian, Miami

Conceived and executed by Philippe Starck, this unique ‘Water Salon’ at the Delano called Delano Pool & Orchard is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry. Soak yourself literally as you converse in the pool furniture, while soft soothing underwater notes do their magic in the background.

Delano

With the idea of making an indoor room outdoors, the Orchard has a luscious landscape with interesting pieces that add charm and character to the place. To add that surrealistic touch to an already whimsical ambiance, they have included elements like an antique daybed and an over-sized chessboard to the mix of things.

When you pump up the volume for a little feel of the Miami Beach nightlife in mid-century, you know you’re in The Florida Room at Delano. As a contemporary piano lounge, this place has taken its inspiration from the glitz and glamor of the South Floridian classic period.

Delano

The beauty of this lounge lies in its Lucite grand piano in the center, opening the stage for live performances by noteworthy artists. Some of the more popular fingers that have left their imprint include music legends like Lenny Kravitz and Jamie Foxx.

When Miami and movies come up in the same phrase, chances are that you’re talking about a scene shot in or around the Fontainebleau. With over a billion dollars in renovations alone, this hotel puts high-end luxury to a different notch all together. For more references on the grandeur, we’d recommend you to watch Goldfinger and Scarface (again), in case you missed them!

Fontainbleu

Liv at the Fontainebleau is one of the most exciting nightclubs in the city that is usually braced by the presence of celebs from Hollywood.

Enjoy the city from a different perspective as you sip on your favorite drink at the Gansevoort Rooftop. From interesting options to snack on, to great mixes at the Plunge Bar; from having a relaxed afternoon by the open pool with calming water-induced sounds, to getting a panoramic view of Miami’s skyline, this bar is a true urban oasis of sorts.

Gansevoort Miami

To shake a leg, or head-bang:

If you’re visiting Miami in the month of March, you must definitely show up for the Ultra Music Festival (UMF), an outdoor electronic music festival that has been recorded as the highest grossing music festival in the world.

 

Some of the more familiar names that have braced this fest in the past include, DJ Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold, among other popular regulars on that list.

The UMF is usually a part of the Winter Music Conference which is a week-long music conference (also held in March), and hosts around 300,000 people per year.

Lick your lips, and your fingertips too:

When we say home grown and natural, we mean home grown and natural! At Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, everything’s nurtured and created from scratch. From preparation through presentation, the one common consistent ingredient is the passion for food and the love to serve food-appreciators. Some of the must tries – The caprese salad, the ceviche, the pork chops and an incredibly interesting collection of wine offerings.

For a little bite of bliss, the Haitian way, step into Tap Tap. If you haven’t tried Haitian cuisine before, some interesting recommendations would include the Malanga fritter and the Taso Kabrit. Besides, if you’re a rum person, you’ll be happy to note that this place serves the best mojitos in town.

Chef Michelle Bernstein is a celebrated artist. He is an artist indeed for his background and origins play a huge role in what he brings to the table, literally. Being a Miami native of Jewish and Latin descent, this culinary connoisseur whips up creations that excite the eyes and taste-buds alike. Having won many prestigious awards as the ‘Best Chef’ in the city, it would be sinful not to visit Sra Martinez to experience what he has to dish out.

Sra Martinez, Miami

House-turned-restaurants, if done up tastefully, can let the drama unfold piece by piece as it narrates a very interesting story. That’s quite the case with Mandolin Aegean Bistro. Set perfectly between the Design District and the Historical Buena Vista, this bistro transports you to another place in another time. With a 1940’s elegance brought through the color scheme and vintage furniture, this property brings out the distant echoes of the Grecian islands through subtleties and overtness in its styling.

For the artist with or without a muse, the lackadaisical laid-back beach lover, the design addict, the foodie, the musically inclined, the vacationer, the romance re-creator: there’s a little bit of all of that in every slice of Miami.

Opening Image Credit: Arrested Motion

Curator. Dreamer. Designer. Founder of FreshGrub. Based in NYC. Seeking Inspiration Everywhere.

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