Miami Guide

Miami mixes multi-cultural hipness, more than a bit of bling and plenty of star status with a sunny tropical setting and brilliant beaches...

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Where to Stay in Miami

To stay on Ocean Drive – right in the heart of the action – head to The Tides. A South Beach legend, it’s been totally revamped in a cool coastal chic theme and relaxing honey hues, and has great beach views, a bijou pool and beautifully stylish rooms as well as the perfect terrace for people-watching. (No wonder Cameron Diaz and Cindy Crawford have both stayed there.)

Alternatively, check in to The Raleigh. The authentic 50s-style place to stay in Miami, it’s brilliantly located between the beach and Collins Avenue and exudes a retro-cool South Beach vintage vibe. If you prefer to stay downtown, try the new Viceroy in Brickell (where J-Lo is a regular) – an achingly hip design hotel of bold bling decor, a stunning Starck-designed spa, and pool area and hip rooftop lounge.

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Where to Eat in Miami

To eat in Miami’s most iconic spot, book a table at The Villa by Barton G (1116 Ocean Drive). Once the home of Gianni Versace, it’s now a private hotel with an intimate restaurant set behind those iconic Versace gates. For more gourmet dining, the restaurant at The Setai hotel (2001 Collins Avenue) offers high-class food amidst stunning Asia-inspired décor. Prefer to get into the scene? The very glam STK (2377 Collins Ave) serves up Lil Big Macs, Octopus Salad and Skirt Steak to the beautiful people, including Black Eyed Peas’ singer Fergie and husband Josh Duhamel. At the sprawling Fontainebleau Resort (4441 Collins Avenue), Hakkasan is another hotspot to see and be seen (if you can) in a moodily lit, romantic and stylish setting.

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For something different, head to the Design District where the laid-back, yet cool Wynwood Kitchen & Bar (2550 Northwest 2nd Avenue) awaits. With its wacky murals and the famous Wynwood Walls graffiti, it’s the place to soak up the art scene. Another great address in that neighbourhood is Michael’s Genuine (130 Northeast 40th Street) where Jennifer Aniston has been spotted. Fancy seafood? Head to Brickell’s Area 31 at Epic (270 Biscayne Boulevard Way) to chow down on fabulously fresh rock shrimp ceviche, seared snapper and aioli fish fry with the likes of Matt Damon and Naomi Campbell in a cool, contemporary skyscraper setting.

Where to Go Out in Miami

For something new, try Soho Beach House (4385 Collins Avenue), sister to our very own Soho House. Since it’s a members-only club you’ll need an invitation to hang out at the rooftop pool and bar with the likes of Cameron Diaz and A-Rod but you can always mingle at the courtyard restaurant, Cecconi’s, where they make a mean Martini. Or, grab a drink at the swanky Setai’s Lounge – where Mischa Barton, Nicole Richie and Eva Longoria have been spotted – followed by a stroll over to the legendary Nikki Beach (1 Ocean Drive) where you might just rub shoulders with the likes of Anna Kournikova, Paris Hilton or Beyonce.

For late-night dancing, try Coco DeVille, a decadent VIP lounge at the glitzy Gansevoort Hotel on Collins Avenue. Even better, is to head up 18 floors to the rooftop bar, Louis, which has the most amazing beach views, a great DJ lounge and even its own palm tree-fringed 110-foot long rooftop pool. Another classic is Set (320 Lincoln Rd) where Giselle Bundchen, Justin Timberlake and Lindsay Lohan have partied.

What to Wear in Miami

Miami is all about the bling. If you have it, flaunt it. And anything goes. The balmy beachside city embraces all things shiny, flashy and curvy. To fit right in, you’ll need glossy hair and a great tan plus the latest in bikinis, a kaftan and some seriously cutting-edge sunglasses. At night, think sleek, high-gloss and ultra-groomed – Florida fashion. Want to fake it? Go tight and short, with towering heels and, of course, it has to be designer. Let J-Lo show you the way.

Where to Shop in Miami

Miami is a shopper’s paradise. So many malls, so many boutiques… For designer gear, try the Village (off Merrick Park), where you’ll find Gucci, La Perla, Jimmy Choo, Diane von Furstenberg and Cavalli. At Bal Harbour Shops (9700 Collins Avenue), a glitzy shopper’s paradise, it’s all about Chanel, Bulgari and Cartier.

For your staple high street offerings, hit the South Miami Dadeland Mall with its staggering 1,000,000 square feet of retail therapy. The Aventura Mall is another good bet with Kiehls, Calvin Klein, BCBG MaxAzria, Bloomingdales and Macys among its 250 stores. Don’t forget to grab a few souvenirs from the loud, obvious beachside and harbour shops. After all, this is Miami and a visit wouldn’t be complete without that 80s-inspired fuchsia pink Miami Beach sweatshirt…

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…something from the infamous Kardashian sisters’ DASH shop. Kourtney, Kim and Khloe’s bling boutique is on Washington Avenue at Eighth Street, all elegant black and white décor, with a touch of fuchsia. The reality show-starring sisters stock brands like Whitney Eve, La Rok, Naven and D’Amore, as well as swimwear from Beach Bunny, Vix and Alexis, and you can pick up anything from a $22 Junk Food T-shirt to a $450 Mason dress.

Prefer something more authentic? Stop by C Madeleine’s (13702 Biscayne Boulevard) for a little something vintage. With fab bits and pieces from all eras – from the 1900s to the 90s – you’ll find unique pieces from Mugler to McQueen and Cavalli, amongst countless other treasures.

Beauty SOS – Where to Go for Pampering in Miami

J-Lo is said to love The Viceroy’s fabulous all-white 28,000 square-foot Starck-designed spa. And who can blame her? It’s simply stunning. Another hot spa favourite is at the Mandarin Oriental (500 Brickell Key Dr) with its great bay views, and impeccable service. Try the Signature Spa Therapies, a blend of Traditional Chinese Medicine, aromatherapy and body massage. Utter bliss.

More West Coast than East? Check out our West Hollywood guide. Or see all ELLE escapes’ travel guides.

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