- 1 What is the most chill hotel in South Beach Miami?
- 2 Ocean Drive, The Ultimate Guide
- 3 The exciting Lincoln Road
- 4 The Romantic Espanola Way
- 5 Free WiFi
Miami Beach, the World’s Most Spectacular Beach! The water is warm and the waves adequate enough but it’s the hedonistic excess that keeps a wildly international crowd flocking to South Beach year after year. It’s called the American Riviera for a reason. South Beach is a non-stop party … morning, noon, and night. Lights from the beautiful Art Deco hotels and bars along Ocean Drive bathe the streets, sidewalks, and sand in a pleasing neon glow. Luxury shops, boutiques, and gourmet restaurants are just a flip-flopped leap from the water.
Beautiful tourists, Celebrity and locals stroll along the water’s edge in next to nothing. If it’s a party you’re after this spring, South Beach is always ready. And the best thing about spring in SoBe? The weather … not too hot, not too cold, it’s just right. Let’s go now to read some interesting notes about Miami Beach. Miami’s geographical and cultural position brings a unique flavour to the great American tradition of cosmopolitan life.
Largest city of the southern United States, it has become in many ways the northern most city of South America Up in the gleaming glass and steel skyscrapers of the banking and business districts, the city provides a vital link in financial relations between North and South America. Down in the streets, the smells and sounds of Miami may recall the delicatessens and supper clubs of New York and New Jersey, strong Cuban coffee and cigars and perhaps the exotic beat o Haitian chants. This is the place where the sun spends the winter, a sub tropical haven that never seen the snow. Even in January, the coolest month, thermometer average around 74° Fahrenheit, while the trade winds temper the summer highs. With a good hat and the right lotions, you can enjoy this town all year round. The city stands at the mouth of the Miami River on the shore of Biscayne Bay.
Greater Miami’s metropolitan area comprises 27 municipalities, which sprawl between the mysterious Everglade swamps and the Atlantic Ocean. The city’s population tops two million-almost half of them of Latin American and Caribbean origin. Tallahassee, photo above, runs Florida’s state government and bureaucracy, but there’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that Greater Miami is the state’s major centre for commerce, culture and sheer urban bounce. For tourists, the city is most famous for the bright and breezy hotels of its resort area, Miami Beach, connected to the mainland by causeways.
But massive construction at a cost of literally billions of dollars has given a dramatic new look to the downtown district, attracting business people and shoppers, as well as traditional tourists from the beaches. Sleek office towers line Flagler Street, Biscayne Boulevard and Brickell Avenue, the Wall Street of the South. Over 200 million dollars were spent on the Southeast Financial Center alone, tallest structure south of New York and east of Houston. With completion of the Bayside leisure complex and the ultra-modern “people- mover” (elevated train) system, renaissance in Miami has become a reality. Yet a mere hundred years ago all was wilderness here. A handful of settlers traded with the Indians at the mouth of the Miami River, named by the Tequesta tribe to mean “Big Water”.
The pioneers lived in part by wrecking, salvaging the cargoes of ships that ran aground. They also farmed vegetables and citrus fruit for sale in northern markets. Sailing boats from Key West, photo below, called every fortnight, bringing news of the outside world.
To this frontier outpost came a widow from Ohio named Julia Tuttle.
Convinced of South Florida’s potential for development, she urged railway magnate Henry Flagler to expand his Florida East Coast line south to Miami. At first the tycoon refused, but Mrs. Tuttle persisted. Finally in 1896, the railway reached Miami. Flagler built a luxury hotel on Biscayne Bay and Miami’s course was set. The resilient city has weathered killer hurricanes and financial collapse, the panic of the 1962 missile crisis and the usual modern big-city woes of riots and drug traffic, aggravated by a new influx of Caribbean refugees in the 1980s.
The Miami authorities seem now to have their problems well under control. Things are looking up for Miami Beach, too. Hugely popular in the 1920s and 30s, and again in the 50s and 60s, the resort is bounding back in favour as a new generation of holiday makers discovers the pleasures of the “Florida Riviera”, with its silver sands and swaying palms.
Preservationists are restoring the Jazz Age hotels that line Ocean Drive in the Art Deco District, designated a national historic area. And the resort palaces along Collins Avenue are undergoing extensive remodeling. The beach itself is bigger and better than before, right now is considered the best one around the world. The tide was lapping at the gateposts of the oceanfront hotels when the United States Army Corps of Engineers created a new strand stretching 300 feet to the high water line. Now, as in the 20s, there’s a boardwalk by the sea.
What is the most chill hotel in South Beach Miami?
In South Beach Miami, it is possible to stay in any type of hotel. From Boutique Hotels, which are small, have a small number of rooms and trendy designs, to the large hotel chains with more classic furniture.
We have selected the best hotels for each category: 5 Stars, 4 Stars, 3 Stars and Budget Hotels, based on position, style, charm, services and price. All our hotels are quite unique. Their design is fancy, and there’s a great care for details. All of them also represent the Miami Beach’s philosophy: trendiness.
The most interesting and famous Hotels are usually found in Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue. We suggest those because that way you won’t necessarily need a car. You’ll be able to walk out of the hotel and dive into SOBE’s atmosphere. One gets a nice feeling when one opens the door and feels a lot of people talking and moving.
One will never feel alone in Miami Beach. You’ll be able to dress the way you like, eat at any hour of the day, even by yourself, and no one will bother you, as you will always feel part of the community. However, we are warning you: these hotels may be noisy, with all the music and confusion out on the streets. If you have difficulty sleeping, book rooms on the back. They are usually soundproofed, but we assure you that Ocean Drive and South Beach are alive from night until the morning after.
Here the Top Three Hotels
The Setai Miami Beach
A 40 story aquamarine glass tower looks directly onto the beach. Symbol of South Beach Luxury Hotels, the exterior is noted for its art deco style, inside dark shades and black granite prevail, illuminated only by light teak which creates a kind of Indonesian look. It also has junior suites which was famous in the “Dolce Vita”.
Delano Miami Beach
It is perhaps the trendiest of South Beach. Every room and space in the Delano is a design masterpiece. Dominated by white and marble, in a sought-after minimal style. There is a pool where you can spend your day swimming or strolling around against the backdrop of music, parties and throngs of people. Celebrities in the pool.
Tides South Beach
This is a very particular hotel in Ocean Drive. Someone as started to define the Tides as about the sexiest place you could hope to stay in Miami. The hotel was redesigned in 2007 by renowned decorator Kelly Wearstler. “Very nice and clean hotle. Big rooms. Nice position and nice people. The best in Ocean Drive.”
Do you have a car?
If you have a car, a valet will take your car from the front of the hotel and park it. However, they are usually quite expensive. On the other hand, timed parking spaces are available with nighttime fees halfway through Washington Avenue between the 11th and the 12th, or in Collins Avenue between the 5th and the 6th. There are also expensive sheltered private parking spaces, scattered around Collins Avenue.
We suggest renting a bike between the 5th and Washington if you’re planning to stay in South Beach Miami. We suggest locking it well and leave it indoors especially designed for hotel guests. If you’re renting an apartment, we suggest putting it in your room.
Do not leave your car in residents-only parking spaces or timed (which use multiples of two hours), because in South Beach fines and car towing are very common practices. The classic, largest and most historical hotels with Cuban background are found in Collins Avenue from the 15th on. They provide all kinds of comforts and some of them are very famous. Most rooms offer ocean view, swimming pool, fitness area, spa, restaurants, and other services. There are lots of them until North Beach and Bal Harbour.
Up north, one may also find cheap, beach-side motels. There are also various skyscraper hotels, especially in the financial part of Miami Downtown, in front of the Miami Harbour. They are all part of various hotel chains and are suggested for quick stops or business meetings.
Miami Beach’s Six Most Fashionable Hotels
For people who want to travel in style and expect to be spoiled with every amenity possible during their hard-earned vacation, then Florida’s South Beach area is the right place. South Beach is full of boutique hotels that specialize in catering to guests in every way imaginable. These boutique hotels are well known by locals and tourists alike, because they have so much to offer in the way of recreation, luxury and amenities. In fact, these services and amenities are practically just as popular as the area’s vibrant nightlife scene. This guide of the top five boutique hotels in Miami Beach is meant to help the discerning tourist choose the right one.
Angler’s Boutique Resort
600 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida
305.534.9600 / 866.729.8800
This hotel was the creation of Henry Maloney and construction of the building was finished during the 1930s. This chic and exotic hotel has a Mediterranean flair to it and guests will feel as if they are on a tropical island. The overall atmosphere here is very relaxing Zen-like. Included among the suite amenities of the Angler’s Boutique Resort are such luxuries like jacuzzis, plasma televisions, spas and wireless internet. Guests can reserve one of the 49 suites that range from studios to duplexes, rooftop terrace rooms or ones with private garden.
The Angler’s Boutique Resort is conveniently located in Miami Beach on Washington Avenue, between Sixth Street and Seventh Street. All of the popular South Beach restaurants, clubs and bars are within walking distance of the hotel, including Opium Garden, Prime 112, Mansion and Prive. There are four different buildings that belong to the hotel. One of them is the well known Parisian Brasserie Maison D’Azur, which is a locally well known bar and restaurant. On top of that, the hotel also has other luxurious amenities that fit well in what is considerred the Miami Beach lifestyle, including 24/7 concierge service, wellness spa, gym outfitted with the most modern equipment and a cafè.
Z Ocean Hotel
1458 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, Florida
The Z Ocean Hotel, once known as the Regent South Beach, consists of 80 suites. A whopping 27 of them are located on the rooftop terrace, and the designers of this hotel, Ronald Molko and Gene Grabarnick, wanted it that way so as many people as possible could get a great view of all that Miami Beach has to offer. This hotel is truly the ideal place to stay for guests looking for glamour and luxury. The amenities offered include butler services, elegant penthouse rooms, a full spa, luxury car rentals that includes brands like Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley, as well as a fleet of Mercedes Benz house cars that are all the latest 500S model.
Everyone who appreciates art and culture will enjoy the hotel’s chic revival design by Arquitectonica. The Z Ocean Hotel is also located in the center of the area’s Art Deco district and is just a short walk away from the Cameo. The famous Table 8 restaurant also belongs to this boutique hotel and the fine cuisine served here appeals to even the most distinguished tastebuds. Many well known people come here to enjoy meals by the Chef Govind Armstrong and it is not impossible to see stars like Elton John or Al Pacino eating here.
However, even ordinary guests are treated like stars here and people who arrive in their own car can turn it in to the hotel staff who will then take care of it. In addiiton, there is an in-house concierge service that is there to provide guests with any type of assistance they need, such as making reservations for nightclubs, arranging jet ski rentals, and even purchasing event tickets. Regardless of how a guest spends time here, the ambience is relaxing and inviting. Guests can choose to just stay and enjoy the Z Ocean Hotel’s own glass-bottom pool or go out on the town.
The Sagamore Hotel
1671 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida
The Sagamore, also referred to as the Art Hotel, is a new hotel that opened up in 2002. This high class boutique hotel in South Beach is known for its large collection of artwork and the minimalist decor. Scultptures and paintings are found in every room of the hotel, and future artists can display their art work and photography in a gallery. Another unique feature of the Sagamore is the production studion that provides artists with a workspace for fashion shoots The location of this hotel, which can almost be comparied to an art museum, on Collins Avenue is also extremely convenient.
The Sagamore, which was built in 1942, has an impressive selection of suites. There are not only eight rooftop penthouse suites with three bedrooms, but also a total of fifteen two story bungalows, seven of which have agarden and eight with a balcony. Luxury is a given in any suite, though, and each features upscale furniture, complete kitchens, two 42 inch flat screen TVs and wireless internet, as well as some tasty gourmet snacks by Dylan and some products from Philosophy.
However, there is no need to stay indoors in order to enjoy all the amenities. Guests who want to soak up some of the Florida sun can go outdoors and enjoy the sleek infinity pool and poolside spa services. For the more adventurous guest, there is even an additional sundeck on the second floor that allows people to get a full body tan without having to worry about wearing a bathing suit. Location is one thing that can’t be changed and the Sagamore is in a great spot.
As the concierge points out, the hotel is only a short walk from anything a guest needs. Nonetheless, the Sagamore still provides full concierge services that make the stay even more enjoyable. This includes car services, making reservations for guests at local popular nightclubs and even bottle services.
Even though all the hotspots of Miami Beach are within walking distance, there is no need to leave the hotel to enjoy fine cuisine. This is because the fabulous Social Miami, which is famous for its house parties that take place every Friday night, is located right inside of the Sagamore. Guests need a reservation to experience one of these house parties, but there is no need to worry about that since the concierge will ensure it is taken care of.
Congress Ocean Drive
1052 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, Florida
Ocean Drive is probably the most famous street in all of Miami Beach, and this makes it a great location for a truly unique hotel. The Congress Ocean Drive is a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel that seamlessly integrates the different styles of architecture found in South Beach. The hotel is made up of five different buildings, four of which are considered historical buildigs and one which is a modern construction. From the rooftop, guests can relax in the pool and take in all the breathtaking views of the beach and downtown Miami Beach.
Guests at the Congress Ocean Drive will find that luxury is not an option here. The hotel only has suites to offer, 67 of them in all, and they start at 300 square feet and go up to 800 square feet in size. Each suite features a soaking tub, rainfall showerhead, H20+ products for the bath, and Luminaire furnishings, Attention is also paid to other details in order to ensure the highest level of comfort, including wireless internet, 300 count sheets and flatscreen TVs. The Congress Ocean Drive also offers its guests unique places to eat. Among the restaurants to choose from in the hotel is the Cheeseburger South Beach and the Atlantic Grill & Bar.
Located in the center of Miami Beach – Art Deco District – , all of the famous places to go in the area are just a few steps away. Guests can easily walk to Larios on the Beach, Wet Willies, Mansion, Opium Garden and Cameo. There are also many stores nearby, such as the Armani Exchange, Kenneth Cole and Nicole Miller.
Desires Hotels manages the Congress Ocean Drive boutique hotel and the goal is to provide guests with a comfortable, enjoyable and luxurious experience. The concierge is always there to help guests fulfill their wishes and is able to assist in setting up games of golf for visitors, schedule tours of the area, car rentals, and booking recreational activities popular in Florida like jet skiing, fishing and boating. The concierge can even obtain club passes for guests and reserve bottle services.
The National Hotel
1677 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida
People looking for something different will feel comforable at the National Hotel. This boutique hotel offers all the amenities one would expect, such as movies, flatscreen televisions and high speed internet, but also a unique ambience due to the Art Deco styling combined with elements of modern design. Guests at the National Hotel can get what they want from this boutique hotel and can choose the room or suite that best meets their needs. There are so many choices, in fact, that picking out just one might seem impossible at first!
There are more than a hundred rooms and suites with great views of the ocean or city in the historic tower, 36 ultra posh rooms in the cabana wing off of the pool, and several three level penthouse suites with more than 1,200 square feet of living space. On top of all that, there are three exclusive tower suites with one bedroom that come with refrigerators stocked with whatever the guest wants to have, fresh flowers and fantastic views of both the ocean and Miami.
Even guests staying in rooms without an on-demand refrigerator can experience fine cuisine. In the hotel is the restaurant Tamara which features fushion meals from a chef who is well known, Frederic Delaire. For light meals or snacking there are is also the Zee Pool Lounge. After 11 PM when the in-hotel options are closed, guests can take a short walk or drive into the city and find plenty of clubs, bars and restaurants.
The National Hotel is located in a great location near all that Ocean Drive has to offer, as well as close to famous Miami nightclubs like the Prive, Mansion and Opium Garden. Of course guests at the National Hotel do not have to worry about entry into thse exclusive clubs, because the hotel’s own concierge will see to it that all guests are welcomed at any of the nightclubs.
The concierge is also there to assist guests with anything they need, including arranging for massages, car servicing, and tour reservations. This boutique hotel even has their own production department for shooting videos, movies and photographs and this unique service attracts many celebrities. It is not out of the ordinary for a star to show up at this hotel. However, a vacation should also be relaxing and the National Hotel offers its guests plenty of opportunities to just lay back and enjoy themselves at one of the pools or in a yoga class.
Versace Mansion (now Casa Casuarina)
1116 Ocean Drive
33139 Miami Beach, Florida
Arguably one of South Beach’s most glamorous hotels. It’s an historic 1930’s villa which belonged to the fashion designer Gianni Versace, which lends to its unique and enchanting atmosphere, featuring a blend of Persian, Egyptian and English style. Each suite is individual and has inlaid furniture, wall mosaics and Italian marble baths. The Versace Mansion it has been for sure the most romantic hotel in Miami. After the Gianni Versace dead, it become an hotel called Casa Casuarina for different years and after this period, is now part of a new property who has totally cancelled the incredible allure who Gianni Versace has created for long time in this villa.
We have decided to include The Versace Mansion in this list as tribute to the Italian designer and becouse the luxury environment who he has designed inside, is second to none in the world.
When you are in Miami, it is party all night long, going on from club to club as time pass by you don’t even realize its almost breaking dawn. For most, they will not notice, unless you are fortunate enough to be at the momentous Art Deco District during sunrise, you will see a grand sight where you feel like all seems fresh again. People may go on about how beautiful the sunset is in Key West, but Ocean Drive Miami Beach takes the win for the most beautiful sunset sight in my books as you would be able to see the pale colored hotels illuminates in the sun. The view during the sunrise is so stunning, you definitely won’t want to miss it. Tourists who knows about this would usually book their hotel rooms on a high floor, overlooking east.
Ocean Drive, The Ultimate Guide
Having breakfast while gazing at the sunrise would be something you definitely need to experience when you are at Ocean Drive. Don’t fret if you did not get to book rooms facing the east, as some hotels at Ocean Drive has roof top floors, some with pool with a wondrous bird’s eye view especially for you to watch the sunrise from above.
Back then, Ocean drive was a street that had a dire reputation of minor street crimes, as well as an underdeveloped area for low rent housing. Upbringing of the area was abandoned during the 1970s till the early 80s, until it slowly came back to life when a few valiant restaurant proprietor saw potential and started up cafes. Soon enough Ocean Drive started to get attention and the entire area was uplifted again.
The News Cafe was opened up by one of the early entrepreneurs, Mark Soyka in 1988 at the 8th and Ocean was predicted to be doomed by everyone. It was just not logical for an expensive diner to make it at a place that was not crowded, but the News Cafe definitely proved them wrong as soon after, they were the source of life and buzz at Ocean Drive.
The News Cafe, offers daily international newspapers to accompany guests with comfort food. The celebrity era begun at Ocean Drive when the Cardozo Hotel at 13th and Ocean Drive gained a very popular Gloria Estefan. Having someone so widely known in the scene definitely brought more attention, and soon everybody wants in. Ocean drive which once was filled with low cost structures with exhausted stores were replaced by boutique hotels, shopping districts and bars.
Celebrities and important figures started to flock Ocean Drive, attracting even more attention and brought the city back to life.
Plan Your Visit
If you are a tourist and you have Miami in mind, most probably chances are you don’t know where to start or to go to. If you are really blank on where to go, Ocean Drive would be a good place to start your hotel search. Keep in mind though that Miami and Miami Beach are two different places, and Ocean Drive is located in Miami Beach, which would be much more convenient and a better holiday spot for you. From the MIA airport, Ocean Drive has a $32 flat fee for taxi rides.
There are a lot of hotels along Ocean Drive, and you may choose your form of accommodation from the simple and convenient to the lavish and luxurious. It depends on the nature of your visit, whether you are on a budget, or you are on a backpacking adventure, or even visiting for business, the hotels along the strip would definitely fulfill any kind of budget or taste.
If you don’t want to go for hotels, there are also some good choices of condo that could be reserved.
If it is a family holiday, opt for an improved suite with good space for your family members and comes with a kitchen. Party people should get a room overlooking the Clevelander Pool Bar as they operate all the way till 5 in the morning, and lovebirds should consider a room with king size bed which comes with an enjoyable hot tub to enhance your romance experience.
Keep in mind that from the 12th to the 15th streets, along with the “SoFi District” (South of Fifth) are less lively after hours and more inclined to quiet and silent nights. The upper reaches of Ocean Drive are known to be quieter at night, and hotels in this zone had a great, direct view to the beach as they are not blocked by anything else since the 5th to 14th Streets don’t have hotels or high rise buildings.
Family Hotels in Ocean Drive
If you plan to visit Ocean Drive for leisure vacationing with family, both Hilton and Marriott hotels are two good options for you. On the quiet end of the “SoFi Disctrict”, lies the wonderful South Beach Marriott hotel. One of the features that makes Marriott the perfect hotel is the fact that there is a Starbucks outlet in the lower lobby. The hotel itself has a lot of features made fun for you, and even your family. They have a notable huge bedroom fit for 8 family members which comes along with a 32-inch flat panel television with free access to high speed internet.
The beach located south of the hotel is usually flocked by fans of surfing, “futevole” (a modern Brazilian sports which fuses soccer with volleyball) and volleyball. If the beach is too crowded, you could settle for the hotel’s astonishing pool area. Just as cool as the name is, The Hilton Grand Vacations Club offers fun and good time for both you and your family.
The rooftop Jacuzzi is definitely something you have to experience, especially during sunrise and sunset when the view is astonishing. Hilton proffers one and two bedroom suites which are roomy and comfortable. It should be enough for 2 to 4 members, or you could push it to 6 or more, as long as some of you don’t mind crashing on the pull out couch.
If you are an avid clubber or party animal, then the Lower Ocean Drive is the perfect destination from you, as there lies the destinations of hip clubs such as the Nikki Beach Club which opens even during the day to the Opium Garden or Privè which booms at night. Not far away is Prime 112, one of the most popular restaurant on Ocean Drive which offer favourites such as their truffle mac and cheese or giant lobsters.
If you’re lucky you are even able to spot celebrities eating there!
For a quality family time, ope for Taverna Opa, where you would definitely have a blast at this family restaurant, which serves Greek food in a perfectly fun Greek theme. Enjoy and make merry with Greek cultures such as joining their dance, even on table tops, to throwing and breaking plates to celebrate your day, or even just enjoy the atmosphere as you enjoy grilled food.
For a more serious dining experience, head over to Fifty which offers plenty of mouth watering lunch and dinner options under the Nuevo-Latino cuisine. Just as a heads up, be sure to leave some space for dessert if you dine at Fifty as they offer one of the delicious sugary sweet desserts in town. If you need more infos we have published a family guide here.
The Four Ocean Drive’s Boutique Hotels
If you want to go for a different approach to the usual hotel accommodation, you should definitely choose to book one of the glamorous boutique hotel on Ocean Drive for your South Beach vacation. Some of these low rise building keeps to the original, classic floor plan, but had been renovated with modern amenities for you to experience a comfortable stay with that classic feel. The rooms might be smaller compared to the big hotels, but it would definitely be a good choice if you are looking for something intimate, and is different from the general hotel feel. You are in the middle of the most sparkling street on the city!
One of the most popular boutique hotel is the Hotel Victor, which opened under the flagship of the familiar and big Hyatt Corporation. The Hyatt brand itself is already trusted, which could easily pull in visitors, but don’t be fooled by that because it’s not just the name, but the experience itself is commendable. The staff are very dutiful and amiable, the rooms are well-cared for and the spa is efficient and well arranged and the atmosphere is very hip but homely.
The in-house restaurant, called the Vix Restaurant offers wonderful food choice that would definitely get you salivating, and the experience of dining there definitely gives Hotel Victor added stars to be one of the favorites. And you definitely do not want to miss the enormous jellyfish tank set up directly in the middle of the restaurant.
Slightly North, lies The Tides Hotel which provides guests with a more calm and quiet atmosphere, with bigger rooms, which even comes with bizarrely spacious bathrooms. If you enjoy live music while indulging with fresh seafood and French cuisine, the Les Deux Fontaines bistro nearby would be satisfying for you. One of the oldest cafe around which toasts to the Art Deco and long gone era, the Art Deco should definitely be on your visiting list to enjoy your lunch or even sundown dinners at the Art Moderne patio.
For guests in the hunt for some peace and harmony with an instilment of an Art Deco atmosphere, The romantic Betsy Hotel in Ocean Drive would definitely be the answer. Not only will you get the convenience of being the middle of everything that’s anything, but they offer amazing rooms facing the ocean. The swimming pool might be undersized, but it is out of the scorching sun, plus, the hotel grants complimentary towels and beach chairs for those who wants to tan. You definitely need to experience the beautiful sea and city view during the day and the remarkable star gazing scene at night at the The Betsy floor sun deck.
Another favorite spot nearby The Betsy is the recently operating restaurant Quinn’s, which offers good seafood. One block south, lies The Barbizon, another well known boutique accommodation which was converted into an all-suite condominium, where you could only book online or by getting hold of private owners.
You might also want to consider the Bentley Hotel as they offer a perfect and amazing sunset view on their rooftop pool deck. Not just the comfortable rooms – not incredible decor – you are going to get, but guests are also treated with free pass to the Bentley Beach Club which offers a complete gym, a huge pool, spa tubs which comes in cold or hot, and one of the most popular, sexy club, Nikki Beach.
Four Suite Hotels in Ocean Drive
If you want to go all out with your vacation experience in South Beach, perhaps the luxurious suite hotels are the best choice for you. The Z Ocean Hotel (located at one block in Collins Avenue) is an 80-suite luxury condo-hotel which offers guests with extra huge balconies, roof gardens that are accessible through private penthouses, the unique glass bottom pool and the heavenly top notch in room spa services to pamper yourself. The hotel also is complete with its valet that has advanced security system, so you don’t have to worry about your ride when you reside at the Z Ocean.
If you have a pet you would carry along to your vacations, you could look to the Casa Grande Suite Hotel. Not only are the rooms spacious, you will also gain access to a kitchen equipped with full sized steel appliances, with tropical Indonesian decorations and a majestic granite countertop which allows you yourself to prepare your own lavish meal any time of the day. This hotel is not incredible, we suggest it if you need or love to cook.
Not only that this suite hotel serves comfort, it is also convenient as it is placed right in the heart of the local nightlife where your South Beach vacation experience would be complete with the sexy dancing Latin girls to drinking up mojitos to a happening environment at the Mango’s Tropical Cafe nearby.
Other dining options inlcude the Pelican Cafe – that is also a design Hotel – , the News Cafe that is still going strong ever since the live of Ocean Drive Started, and the Cuban Cuisine and themed outlet at Lario’s. Need something to help with the heat, get yourself the popular ice blended drinks from Fat Tuesdays or Wet Willies.
If you are looking for fun with friends, book the Crescent Resort in Ocean Drive which features the popular Jacuzi suites, which is also conveniently located in a central position to easily access to great shopping malls and pedestrian malls, such as the Lincoln Road. If you are looking for a more calm, quiet and peaceful environment from a suite hotel, go over to Betsy Ross Hotel at the upper reaches of Ocean Drive, and if you don’t mind skipping Starbucks for breakfast across the street, you will be treated with complimentary breakfast on the hotel. Front Porch Cafe is the place to head to if you would like to have quality alfresco brunch with the likes of tasty banana pancakes and other wholesome food at an affordable and valuable price no matter the time and day. Even in South Beach you could enjoy the lively environment of an Irish Bar at the Finnegan’s Way where you will be entertained by live music, with a cool sports styled bar, and get drinks two for one around 4 to 7pm.
One of the most interesting suite hotel located on the lively 10th Street, is definitely The Congress Hotel (former the Strand), and it is so lively to the point that some guests find it very hard to catch forty winks, that they would buy earplugs just to be able to catch a few hours of sleep. The Congress offers you the convenience on being on the liveliest street of Ocean Drive, but with soundproof rooms to help you catch that sleep you truly need after a long day of fun. The rooftop pool deck is definitely the place to be if you want to have a great view overlooking Ocean Drive, or even watch fireworks on New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July.
Three Fun & Funky Hotels in Ocean Drive
If what you like is more towards the classy and sophisticated kind unlike partying and bikinis, the Miami Design Preservation League has an administrative office right across the street from the Clevelander Hotel at the Art Deco Welcome Center. There are various public programs free and open to all that would educate and explore about the influences of the classic designs in Miami such as from the Deco era.
They also carry out architecture seminars and walking tours along the historic district you would be able to join from Wednesdays through Sundays and each walk lasts up to 90 minutes.
The MDPL are serious with their arts, as every January, they will hold an Art Deco Weekend which closes traffic at Ocean Drive for a full-blown three day block party full of fun where guests will be served with food, musical entertainment and dances along with display and sales of crafts and antique cars. Due to this, you are advised to plan your visit accordingly as travel would be tougher. Traffic is also closed on every Memorial Day Weekend, the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve and navigation would be a lot harder and certain areas will be clogged by heavy traffic.
1) If art, design and architecture is your thing, the Pelican Hotel is definitely the place to visit as its design is extremely unique and should be experienced, brewing from the creative minds of the folks at Diesel Jeans. The hotel experience at Pelican Hotel is very quirky, as each room tries to create vintage feel to themes such as Deco, Retro, Jungle, Tarzan, Cowboy, Brothel, Whorehouse and many other motifs. The staff there are very friendly and personable too.
2) If you like to party, there’s a place where the party never stops, and that is the Clevelander Pool Bar which offers suites at the Clevelander Hotel in Miami Beach. This well-known attraction offers a huge 5 poolside bars, flat panel Television sets almost everywhere, live musical entertainment, happy hours and two for ones, and the ever popular Saturday bikini contests. It’s always a party at the Clevelander Hotel!
3) Sophisticated guests who are on a budget could always opt to stay at the little Century Hotel where everything is simple, quiet and friendly. The rooms might not be lavish, so this is the place to stay for those who wants to enjoy and explore the city rather than to staying in their hotel rooms. The rooms are affordable and should be the choice of visitors who wants to experience the classic South Beach experience. Whatever your style is, however you want to experience your vacation whether it could be luxurious to the part life, or the simple and quiet to the dining and art experience, everything is there for you on Ocean Drive, and you are at power to customize your vacation experience however you want to.
The Past of Ocean Drive!
As the development of the South Beach area in Ocean Drive was rampant, some preservationists group saved a lot of historical buildings just to give you the opportunity to experience what was once historical landmarks during the Art Deco era of the 80s and beyond. And by holding onto these historical side of the past, it definitely help to build Ocean Drive, and Miami Beach to be what it is today.
If you want to find a good hotel and check prices for your next vacation in Ocean Drive, click here.
Wherever you go, anywhere you travel to, you will notice that each and every one great cities have a similar trait – they all have that one street where everyone flocks to where everything is right there. The same goes to Miami Beach, don’t disregard the other places as well as they have their attractive traits to, but if there is only one street you can go to, you definitely have to go to the Lincoln Road Mall, where there’s everything you need of South Beach. If you want to enjoy the retro decorations filled with true-blue Miami style neon signs, Ocean Drive is definitely the place you would go to. If you have friends from the South Beach, and you pay them a visit, they would take you to Ocean Drive to enjoy the sights. But if you want a more true and wholesome Miami Beach experience, Lincoln Road mall is your best bet where every shop and diner is there under the steamy Miami sun with a touch of homely fashionable, sexy and Broadway themed style.
Where is Ocean Drive?
The exciting Lincoln Road
For the ultimate South Beach Experience, Lincoln Road have it all. Whatever your vacation needs are you can always customize your experience here, might it be a cup of energizing coffee in the morning, to a scrumptious lunch, or a romantic dinner in the nights away from the hot sun of Miami, there is always somewhere you can go to in Lincoln Mall. Entertainment, Food and Fun, all packed in one place for your convenience for the ultimate South Beach Experience, right here at Lincoln Mall.
Lincoln Road is so popular you see people flock to it 24 hours, 7 days a week. If you fancy the feel in fictional TV series like Friends and Cheers where they hang out in a homely, comfortable place, you should definitely try out the cafes on the sunny sidewalk of Lincoln Mall where everybody knows your name if you are a regular and it is after all a place where the neighborhood hangs out to catch up or hold social gatherings.
If you are new to the cafes there, you might be slightly confused at first as they incorporate an open system which is properly planned where you might need to figure out where one cafe begins and another ends. All you have to do is find an empty table to sit at to join the community as the coffee shop, the gay bar and the sports bar shares customers and tables.
You would see extreme sports enthusiasts such as the skaters and bikers chilling at Lincoln and even newlyweds and brand-new parents with their excited children gather at Euclid Circle to have some fun. Expatriates meet up with their fellow countrymen to talk about all things new in their home soil.
Basically it is the place to be and meet up with everyone else in entire of South Florida.
The Tour Begins
To start of the week with a bang, there’s the Farmer’s Market and The Sunday Antique where everyone would flock to from the excited home cooks, to the morning joggers and the relaxed shoppers who are all hoping to land a great bargain. You might find decent decorating accessories fit for your lawn or balcony, and this is the main attraction of visitors, hoping to get stuff to beautify their own place and fill up their pantries from these weekly markets. If you would like to enjoy homely cooking, without doing any of the cooking, you should go where the crowd of South Beach go to, the Rosinella Cafe. It is so homely and warm that you would feel welcomed and apart of the family as soon as you get in it, and wait until you taste the delicious Italian dishes served and prepared by “Mama” Rosinella Doino herself, from day to her nightly specials. Head right over for a family dinner, or a romantic date, or even whenever you’re hungry, as Rosinella pairs up with the great New World Symphony right next to them.
Van Dyke Cafe, one of the most sought after hot spot could be found at Jefferson Avenue, where they open up early for visitors who would love to get a table during the busy times at the sidewalk cafe, and to sweeten the deal, there are live jazz musical entertainment on every night at the second level.
If you are unfortunate to not score a table, simply head over across of Van Dyke, and there lies Pasha’s, a place serving mouth watery Mediterranean cuisine such as falafels, gyros and other variety of street foods from their open air kitchen. If you are looking for something more hearty and wanting to have a good time with some hearty German beers, head over to Hofbräu München for delicious, robust German food.
Every alternate Sundays from October through May, you will see antique enthusiasts, fashion stylists and intellectual decorators flocking to the Lincoln Road Flea Market as over the years they have uncovered a lot of valuable treasures sold cheaply, underpriced by the merchants there. Competition to get the best bargain could go crazy as all these aficionado would simply crowd at the antique dealer’s truck and ‘attack’ as soon as they unpack.
It’s a Big Party
There is nowhere else where the atmosphere is like a big, ongoing party all the time when drag queens in their full costumes parade around Lincoln Mall to entertain the visitors, mascots in costumes working up happy diners and posing for photos, as well as costume competitions which are a hit among the crowds. Big family gatherings on popular holidays, or social gatherings and events here and there Everyone is constantly laughing and cheering, snapping photos and having fun – it truly is like a big party.
As soon as October starts, it kick-starts the holiday season officially as the busiest time of the year at Lincoln has to be the weekends before and after Halloween. The weather might be hot with the sun scorching, but the holiday spirit is kept alive with the sparkles of lights decorating trees everywhere. Places like chain stores, boutiques and art galleries will always hold some kind of quirky holiday promotions that would keep the customers coming.
Lincoln is full of crowd too during New Year’s Eve where adults and teenagers finds a spot to celebrate the fireworks. There’s always something up when you are at Lincoln Mall.
No matter what activities you have in your mind, whether you want to have a nice and warm family dinner, or to have that romantic dinner dates, to having a quick lunch or to fill your tummy before a movie, there’s always a great line of choice for you to choose from, all the way from the Bayside up to the Seaside along Lincoln Road. Keep in mind that you cannot bring vehicle pass beyond Washington Avenue to Alton Road, so if you want to find that perfect spot, you need to be ready to do a little walking.
Have the best empanada pocket pastries from the ever popular Argentinean bakery called the Panizza Cafe located one block west of Alton Road at West Avenue. Right next to it is for seafood savvy visitors called the Altamar Seafood Restaurant. You should be thankful that most of Lincoln Road are closed to cars, as even if you drive in you might be stuck in the traffic of humans shopping and gathering at the residential district.
For visitors who prefer quiet atmosphere, they should head over to the west of Lincoln Mall, where you could find a hotel that is all about relaxation and serenity, called The Standard Spa. They also provide transportation if you’re too lazy to walk to Lincoln Mall, and even a ride to other popular South Beach destinations.
Guests would vouch that the West side of town has a totally different atmosphere compared to those at Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue.
Dining on a Budget
While most of the eateries in South Beach charges a bomb for dining, some folks have problem finding a good place to eat with a budget. If you are under a budget, then Balans Restaurant is definitely for you, and his loyal customers and locals who flock to this restaurant would definitely vouch after them.
Balans Restaurant offers discounts of $2 for breakfasts on weekdays, dinner entrees and never to forget happy hour. Opt for their egg benedict for breakfast, or go for the popular Tiramisu and Spris that are sold on a discount before 7.30pm, and they even offer discount on wine on early evenings.
For bargain hunters, Zeke’s Roadhouse is a popular destination in Lincoln Mall, especially when they carry beers for just $3. There’s not much on the menu but they offer enough seating on the busy sidewalk cafe of Lincoln Mall, and because of these bargains, Zeke’s Roadhouse attracts young families, spring breakers and young adults who wants to socialize in Lincoln Mall without having to spend a fortune on dining.
Fancy reading books while having a hearty meal? Head over to Books & Books where unlike any other bookseller stores nationwide that offers coffee bar, Miami’s Books & Books boasts a full menu and eatery at their place. It is not a surprise that most people actually visit and go to Books & Books only for the food, and not to visit the best seller shelves.
If you want to dine at the tables lining the atrium, you better be fast to reserve a spot as competition for seats could be pretty fierce. This is mainly because of the BASE boutique, the bookstore, Design Within Reach and the brand new stunning BASE Annex which pulls in all the big names of the Miami design scene.
Lined up at the busy intersection on Lincoln Road are popular stores that should be on your ‘must visit’ list. And the best part is they are all nearby each other from the legendary Starbucks to the ever popular Tropical Cigar Bar, the family Italian restaurant da Leo Trattoria, and the chocolate heaven Ghirardelli as well as the tiny sandwich shop called Paninoteca that could be easily missed, but definitely should not as they serve mean pressed paninis and gourmet salads.
If you haven’t noticed yet, South Beach features a full range of Italian cuisine more than any other kinds of cuisine. There are typically the three kinds of Italian restaurant, and they are the simple pasta and pizza eateries like Spris, Rosinella, Pizza Rustica and Piola. Then there are the upscale Italian restaurants like da Leo Trattoria and Locanda Sibilla, followed by the priciest of them all, high-end restaurant called the Piedmontese Quattro Gastronomia Italiana.
The Quattro is definitely top dollar, top notch quality, be sure you can afford them before you dine at them, and make your reservations early.
Head over to David’s Cafe II located north of the mall on Meridian to try out their delicious Cuban dishes. Not only they serve good food, but what makes them different is the 24/7 great service that would definitely satisfy you and the unbelievably low prices on the menu. Any time of the day, David’s would be a good place to get your quick fix of appetite.
Right across of David’s is Miss Yip, one of the popular destinations of locals for lunch and dinner. Local workers all around Lincoln Mall would take an early lunch break just to take advantage of the $10 lunch specials and later on crowd at the tropical lounge area for drinks during the Happy Hour.
You definitely need to try out the dim sum which is on the menu until midnight, and later on you could move up to the second level to part at the Buck 15 lounge late night.
Pizza before catching a Movie
Feel like having a pizza before catching a movie at Lincoln Road? Head over to Piola Pizza right under the Lincoln Road marquee for the movie theater. Their pizzas are baked with a wood burning oven and you will enjoy their thin crusts pizzas. Don’t have much time before a film? Opt for the fresh sandwiches from Panfiore Sandwich Shop where you could grab a quick bite when you are having time restraints.
If you feel like having a sandwich but making it on your own, head North of the Cinema and you will find Epicure, where you are able to buy for all things picnic. Ranging from ready to eat sandwiches, or you could try out the take out entrees, fresh juices squeezed right in front of you or delicious gourmet treat, they offer all your needs for an upscale picnic lunch where you’re able to get freshly out of the oven cakes and pastries as well as fresh goods and a good bottle of wine.
Enjoy the deliciously served panini sandwiches with espressos as well as creative giant cocktails in the open air cafe called the Segafredo Espresso located at the western edge of the mall. They are always full with customers and it is easy to spot as they are uniquely spread around a mosaic fountain right in front of the Cameo Theater on Lenox Avenue.
Located right in the middle of the Pottery Barn, the dancing waters and the recently refurbished theater, is the perfect location to meet up with friends any time of the day before a movie. You might think it is safe to just put on something for a short shop at Lincoln Road, but think again as you might want to look your best going there, flooded with big name celebrities, young and stunning models as well as suave European playboys alongside with family members, kids and even pets.
If you are a fan of European soccer (or football, as that’s what they call them), head over to Finnegan’s Two at the intersection of Lincoln and Michigan during the day with this savvy sports bar. During the nights, rock music enthusiasts flock here to be entertained by live rock musicians. For that classic bar feel, they put up the name of the band performing at night and the prices of drinks during happy hour written on a chalkboard. You might expect the clubs at Lincoln Mall to have the strict velvet rope policy, but unlike the popular clubs in South Beach, but they actually don’t.
A walk slightly south on Michigan is the popular Frieze Ice Cream Factory where they would fulfill your deepest ice cream fantasy as they are able to scoop up any mix of flavor you want to making it an instant favorite. The Ice Box Cafe might hold a name that makes you imagine of ice cream, but it is not an ice cream store. It is one of the most popular bakeries, especially after they received a nod from Oprah Winfrey, claiming in to serve the best cakes in America.
What’s more fun for a family gathering or even out with your friends to have lunch while trying your luck striking down pins at the bowling alley? Definitely a favorite spot on afternoons, rainy afternoons especially when the sidewalk cafes are slow, visitors flock to the Lucky Strikes Lanes to have lunch and enjoy games of bowling.
You can enjoy the family atmosphere and play bowling until 9pm, where it turns to a chic nightlife spot to those over 21 after the 9pm mark where videos, music, parties and cocktails storm up the party at the Lucky Strikes Lane.
In the center of Miami Beach’s high-end shopping district and the center of the Cool Hotels, clubs, theaters, and outdoor cafes on Lincoln Road which stretches from Biscayne Bay to the Atlantic. It doesn’t matter if you are a resident, a snowbird here for the season, or a vacationer, Lincoln Road/The Traveler’s Guide is a must have for anyone wanting to make the scene.
The outdoor cafes are one of the high points of being on the Miami South Beach. Whether you go for a relaxed breakfast to sit with your best friend and read the paper while eating breakfast or to people watch along the beach during lunch or dinner. The outdoor cafes are certainly a relaxing part of South Beach.
1. The beautiful shrubs and potted plants gives Balans a serene atmosphere. Their exotic salads are a concocted to perfection are one of my favorites. I particularly like the Mile High Lobster Sandwich and the Pumpkin Ravioli. The place is packed to the rafters in the evenings when people come to celebrate with a bottle and a light supper. My husband and I agree that this is one of the best outdoor cafes in South Beach.
There are discounts available at certain times, so be sure to check with your waiter before ordering.
2. Nexxt Café is always jammed packed with customers. My husband and I ordered a salad and a seafood plate. The waitress told us we probably ordered too much food. She was right, the portions are huge and the food is extremely good. Some of our friends said that the menu was very similar to the Cheesecake Factory.
3. If you are going to Van Dyke Café then the time to go is in the evening where world renowned jazz musicians perform every night of the week. For a nominal fee my husband and I were able to sit in on a jazz session and still had full access to the restaurant and drink menu.
4. For Italian food one of the best places to go is da leo Trattoria is great for pizzas and pastas, however, we discovered that the salads are just not worth the money. They serve some fine Italian beers. While they have one of the largest outdoor dining areas on Lincoln Road, the indoor restaurant is tiny, don’t even try to go in there.
5. Quattro Gastronomia Italiana is a beautiful authentic Italian restaurant that will seat a total of one hundred sixty patrons; eighty inside and eighty outside on the patio. The chefs are twins from Northern Italy cooking for the first time in the United States. The quality of the ingredients was high, but, the flavor of some of the dishes we tried was a bit bland. The menu was a little bit overpriced, and the wait staff seemed snooty.
The next time you go to South Beach I hope you will enjoy the outdoor cafés along Lincoln Road. Don’t forget to take your Lincoln Road/The Traveler’s Guide with you so you don’t miss anything on this fantastic street. And now? Now we go ahead!
If you like Asian Food
If you like Asian Food, fret not, there are plenty of good ones in Lincoln Mall, ranging from Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Asian Fusion. Sushi Samba Dromo is an Asian Fusion themed restaurant which mixes Japanese and Brazilian style cooking, and past after hours it becomes a hip nightclub. Doraku is a popular spot every weeknights for its happy hour, while Sushi Siam mixes the art of Thai and Japanese cuisine and they are done deliciously well.
World Resources Cafe is a more all in one kind of restaurant at the sidewalk cafe on the mall which has a large menu covering plenty of Asian delights from Indian to Japanese to Thai cuisine. Miss Yip is one of the more popular Hong Kong style Chinese restaurant and Yummy Chinese offers delightful Chinese and Japanese cuisine, and not to forget that they offer free home delivers for the entire of South Beach.
Dining with the Kids
You might be attracted to that little green isle of grass where you could spot kids and pets which are surrounded by multiple decent cafes and ice cream shops, then you are looking at Euclid Circle. Up on the line to serve the chirpy crowd in Euclid Square is the Italian store, Gelateria Parmalat which serves deliciously flavored gelato to kids and adults alike.
Nexxt Cafe offers tables with shades for visitors enjoying fun in the sun, and they are popular for serving huge portions of breakfasts, towering sandwiches and large main plates which could be enough to share among family members. If you hunger for a good baked pie or pizza, Pizza Rustica would satisfy your cravings, and if you feel like having burgers with your brood with a nice family atmosphere, Johnny Rockets is the place to be with its unique 50’s style theme.
HEAR this up!
Music fans all rejoice with the opening of the first concept store HEAR Music by Starbucks at the Pennsylvania Avenue. Enjoy eating up deliciously served cakes and lattes as you blast your favorite music from one of the video listening stations. You could even get a modern mix tape (more like CD) as a souvenir by saving the songs you like on a programmable magnetized card, and later getting the baristas to burn for you on a CD for you to bring back from your vacation.
There might be plenty of Starbucks all over South Beach, but the HEAR music outlet is definitely the most popular amongst all.
South of the Border Experience
El Rancho Grande lies just south of the mall, and this is the place to head to if you are looking for a true-blue south of the border experience, as they are one of the eatery that would give you the best experience you need from this friendly Tex-Mex eatery. Savor on mouth watery South Beach delight classics such as the tacos, burritos, chips, spicy salsa, margarita and the best part is they are all inexpensive.
Dining and Dancing
Head to a place that is active every night of the week such as the Lincoln Road Supper Club Scene. All you need to do is call them and reserve a table to enjoy the dining and dancing experience. Sushi Samba Dromo is a good place to have a dance after dinner, and they even have a sexy, popular cosplay night every Tuesday where customers come in costumes.
Cosplay is a Japanese culture of dressing up like a popular anime, manga and pop culture character, so head to Sushi Damba Dromo and you might just win the prize for best dressed as you enjoy to the beats of the DJs, Taiko drummers and sexy geisha girls.
Enjoy haute cuisine with the mix of a high end nightclub environment at the inner reaches of Santo. Look forward to their night parties every Wednesday nights which are always done off-the-radar.
These are not just local entertainment as Santo always rounds up popular late night DJs, mainstream house bands and even Grammy Award Winning celebrities who come to entertain unannounced, as well as appearances of pro athletes. They however have the velvet ropes policy, and you’d be lucky to make it in.
The Lincoln Road sidewalks by the Washington Avenue might seem like a normal looking place to chill by day, but it becomes a popular nightspot after hours. Visitors always enjoy the true blue South Beach dance experience, which is why the Yuca Restaurant attracts diners. At first glance it may seem that everyone is there for the delicious Cuban cuisine, as the first floor is elegantly decorated with twinkles and candlelight with crystals all over.
Move up to the second floor on a Friday night, and you’ll get to watch new and improving salsa dancers. Visitors will be thought with traditional Cuban dance moves such as the salsa by the friendly hosts from salsamia.com and when you are all ready, you can hit the high energy dance floor at the Salsa Party of Fridays and Sundays.
After hours, when you are done dancing, join the rest of the crowd as they flock to D’Vine Hookah Lounge where they would enjoy the samples from the fragrant water taps as well as delightful Mediterranean tapas.
Where is Lincoln Road?
The Romantic Espanola Way
Old fashioned with a touch of contemporary, pleasingly charming yet down to its core very artistic right to the paints of peach, Espanola Way Miami Beach is where culture meets history. Espanola Way is filled with buildings built ala the tasteful European style which had not yet been contaminated with the touch of the modern world, is placed nicely right above 14th Street in the middle of Pennsylvania and Washington Avenues. All the way back then to the 1920, Espanola Way was a place where the rich met, a place of party all night long where it is taken to the streets, and a place where everyone all over Miami would come to sit together and watch the sun set and rise as it is one of the most beautiful place to watch it.
With scary stories of mobsters running rampant with gambling dens and right out to the streets in the 80’s, Espanola Way is also the set of popular Hollywood production like Miami Vice. Not to forget the colorful culture of the Art Deco architecture which made the art popular all around the world.
Espanola Way was birthed under the wing of N.B.T Roney from Roney Palace and the father of Stanley Whitman, William Whitman who owns the Bal Harbour Shops, it is also known as the Historic Spanish Village as the buildings are inspired by exotic villages of Spain and Paris. Back in the 1920’s, it was a place fit for only the rich, however historic gangster figure, Al Capone brought ‘low-lives’ to this side of town as he made gambling famous at the Clay Hotel.
After the fall of the mobsters
After the fall of the mobsters, Espanola Way fell back to its normal ways as the place became more and more popular with the rumba. After three decades, the party jive and feel all faded as a different era came through. An Era of downfall as the streets were no longer all party and happy, and it even saw its downfall of the Art Deco era as well. It all became dissimilar.
A decade after, in the 1980s, Espanola Way made its way back up with the help of the visionary Linda Polansky who did plenty to ensure its upbringing. Together with Barbara Capitman, the both of them restored the old and decaying buildings. After renovating and restoration of certain key areas, not only did they bring attention back to Espanola Way, but also to Miami Beach as well.
Polansky, knowing it was a risk, but still believed in the potential, bought over the whole South side of Espanola Way, all the way from Drexel Avenue to Washington Avenue. Having the Clay Hotel in mind as the center of the South District, she transformed the once popular hotel to a semi-hostel where visitors would be able to stay, but most of the building were kept for viewing pleasure of the beauty of its art. She brought back vibrant colors to the buildings instead of the trend of brown or beige at that time.
Polansky wanted to color the Clay Hotel into the hue of peach, and at the same time Mel Bourne arrived at Miami Beach. Bourne, who was in the production of Miami Vice, he had a deep attraction towards Espanola Way. Together with Michael Mann and Don Johnson, after reconnaissance of the beautiful area, they requested a meet with Polansky, and together, they sat down to discuss the development of their idea.
Bourne, the set designer of hit series Miami Vice told Polansky about his idea, and how he wants Miami Vice to be. It was known that Bourne gave Polansky a book of over a thousand different hues of peach for her to choose from. The group became very close with each other, and after years of working together, viewers see Espanola Way in the first episode, the final episode as well as 10 episodes in between of the Miami Vice Series.
This ultimately was a huge help for the development of Espanola Way.
With the creative forces working together to bring up Espanola Way, it soon got an advantage of upbringing. This is due to the fact that the show brought interest of other Hollywood producers where it soon made its appearance in films like The Birdcage and the famous Chains of Gold starring John Travolta. Many other production like Dunhill’s advertisement and Elton John music video used Espanola Way as well. Polansky was delighted that people are starting to realize the beauty of the place.
Today, Espanola Way still remains a charm for passersby day in and day out. There is a lively marketplace that people love to crowd on the weekends, and you will see plenty of people taking a stroll down the classy roads of Espanola Way. Plenty of hawkers sell all sorts of stuff from dresses to precious stones, from souvenirs to flowers, there are plenty to be seen there.
The crowd loves the artistic eateries like A La Folie where you would be able to see groups chatting while eating pastry. Olivier Corre, the owner of A La Folie opened up the café only three years back, came all the way from Paris. The reason he chose Espanola Way is because it suits the mood, character and feel of his café. He insists that his place is more of a café then it is a restaurant, therefore he wants a place where people could just come down, sit, enjoy coffee while having a chat or reading magazines.
Corre also promotes how he has the most affordable French cuisine in Espanola Way. Artistic and Bohemian eateries like A La Folie makes Espanola Way much more beautiful as it enhances the rich culture and look. Other restaurant that adds in the flavor of the place are the likes of Tapas and Tintos from Spain, the Mexican Oh! Mexico and the Italian Hosteria Romana.
Art is also brought to the streets of Espanola Way from the establishment of art galleries like Marcel Gallery and the Espanola Way Art Center. As for Marcel gallery, it has been in the same very spot for 19 years and still counting, and it had gone through the test of times in Espanola Way. Pierre Marcel, an artist who inspired the Marcel Gallery traveled all the way to Espanola Way to paint murals on the walls of a café in Lincoln Road.
After a while in the faux finish and renovation scene, Marcel soon became successful and which he dived into fine arts. Ever since, his gallery was the only one on Espanola Way. The owner, Howard Levine says that he chose Espanola Way due to its historic qualities, which is also rich with color, character and elegance.
Unlike the Marcel Gallery, Espanola Way has a rich history due to its opening and closing of establishments. The artist who was popular back then by the name of Kenny Scharf once had a studio which resided at now where Synergy Yoga Center is at. Seven years before he opened the studio, it was a place of private residence from the 1930s to the 1940s.
Synergy Yoga only took over in 1996, where they offer a variety of yoga classes from ashtanga to power yoga and vinyasa, owned by October Rose and Gaia Budhai, which said that the reason they chose the spot was the intriguing atmosphere.
This is the reason why despite a lot of establishments came and gone, this made Espanola Way the way that it is. Like the Contesta Rock Hair, it is a place where people now go to see doo inspired by the style of rock and roll.
Fans of fine films could enjoy films sponsored by the Miami Beach Film Society by catching it at the Miami Beach Cinematheque and Gallery. This gives the opportunity for independent film makers to show their work. While the crowd flocks to Debbie Katz to try out its latest garment collections, most do not know the history on how the owner, Debbie Katz herself started out at Espanola Way.
Six years ago, she did not own the establishment like it is today.
She was making and selling them at the outdoor weekend market. She only was able to open up her own space after years and years where she slowly gained popularity and fans of her designs. Even though the price to open up her establishment was pricey, she still wanted to open up there because she insisted that her designs were born in Espanola Way. She also claims that Espanola Way is the perfect place to open boutique style outlets due to its beautiful history of vibrant colors and fashion.
Perhaps the best spot to open in all of Miami Beach.
It’s not just as Debbie Katz, but for other shops as well, it just oozes the feeling of calmness, relaxation and fun-filled atmosphere. There are people from all around the world in all walks of life at this place. Linda Polansky had once mentioned how architecture plays an important role to pulling people from all around the world. This is due to the fact that people appreciate the foundation of how the building is made, its rich history and its culture.
Espanola Way symbolizes the rich culture and history of Miami Beach. It was one of the first areas to be set up in Miami Beach, and it saw many changes and withstood the test of time. People like to experience history, and it could most definitely be experienced through the architectures of Espanola Way.
Many preservationists of Espanola Way agrees with Linda Polansky, and often do their best to keep the historic architectures and constantly getting them repaired and maintained. They are saddened by the fact that there are many more Florida’s history had gone away in either storms or bulldozed down by developers. However, they tend to be overprotective of Espanola Way as they don’t want that to happen to what they believe to be the ‘sacred grounds’ of Miami Beach.
The past is the past, however Espanola Way is still in the midst of upbringing. With a budget of $900,000, developers plan to connect Lincoln Road with Espanola Way by Drexel Avenue, producing a 10 foot walkway for pedestrians. The Plaza the Espana would soon be garnished with a fountain, which is given as a endowment from the South of Spain.
There is still so much more to be done to promote and make Espanola Way the biggest attraction of Miami Beach.
Where is Espanola Way?
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