Travel guide to Miami

Jan 25, 2013 at 9:10 a.m. ET

Miami’s South Beach is known as a getaway for the rich, famous and trendy. Lucky for us, this coastal resort city lives up to its swanky reputation.

Woman in South Beach


Built in 1953 by the “Father of Art Deco,” Morris Lapidus, the polished Ritz-Carlton South Beach pays homage to its architectural history and dazzles with shimmering accents and aqua-colored textures. Admire the collection of avant-garde art, then drink in a South Beach sunset while sipping cocktails on The Dilido Beach Club’s oceanfront patio. At The Ritz-Carlton Spa, results are just as important as relaxation. The Precious Ceremony Diamond Facial sounds indulgent, but it's actually an anti-aging superhero.

Drop your bags and head straight to the pool at Kimpton’s Surfcomber South Beach, where a major highlight is The Pasture — a green space that doubles as a lounge spot and sand volleyball court. At the laidback Surfcomber, you can while away the hours noshing on street tacos from the poolside Sand Bar, or get active and cruise the boardwalk on one of the hotel’s complimentary Deco bikes. The Surfcomber is all about playfulness with a backyard bliss theme — chic porch-style furnishings, quirky life-sized animal sculptures and cozy nooks with oversized rocking chairs.


Miami’s South Beach is an absolute foodie playground. At Kimpton’s Surfcomber, Lantao Kitchen + Cocktails is a dynamic ode to Southeast Asian street food. Updated versions of classics like Banh Mi are served family-style, and the striking flavors of lemongrass, ginger, and kaffir lime dominate in the best way.

Lantao Kitchen + Cocktails
Lantao Kitchen + Cocktails

Think a vegetable is just a vegetable? The charred Brussels sprouts — dressed just so in a tangy mustard crème fraiche — at 1500 Degrees will convince you otherwise. Headed by Hell’s Kitchen alum Paula DeSilva, the restaurant’s wholesome, locally-sourced menu (mostly centered on seafood) draws locals and visitors alike.

At Barok, culinary adventures come in the form of a shrimp, scallop and calamari risotto that’s somehow both light and creamy. Here, a selection of salads, meat and seafood dishes are uncomplicated but inspired. And speaking of inspired, 660 at The Angler’s is a foodie favorite for a reason. Try the short rib empanadas for a delectable twist on this South American staple — goat cheese and pineapple! And here’s a cool side note: Ernest Hemingway loved The Angler’s Hotel and spent endless nights at the bar drinking — what else? — rum. For a totally casual, but totally delicious experience, head to Joe’s for chilled stone crab with homemade mustard sauce.


Eat your way through South Beach with Miami Culinary Tours. Sample dishes from seven of the area’s best restaurants. Savor traditional South American bites like grilled plantains and fried yucca, and learn the difference between Argentinian and Cuban empanadas. Miami Culinary Tours’ expert guides share interesting bits of South Beach history along the way.

Miami Culinary Tours
Miami Culinary Tours

Take the Official Art Deco District Walking Tour for an introduction to the Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival, and Miami Modern styles found along popular Ocean Drive and its surrounding area. On Fridays, Viernes Culturales in historic Little Havana is the best reason to leave swanky South Beach. Hop on a free tour with a local historian, groove to live music along Calle Ocho (8th Street), and catch a lively game between locals at Domino Park.

Little Havana
Little Havana

After all the excitement, unwind at ELLE Spa — a beautiful place for pampering with a cozy seaside-cottage feel. The 22,000-square-foot spa has a range of exclusive products and treatments curated by industry experts like celebrity esthetician Tammy Fender. Her ELLE Spa Signature Facial is personalized with essential oils, oxygen therapy, and foot reflexology. And don’t miss the organic scrub bar where you can mix your own body scrub!


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