Chic Suites Steps from the Ocean, Nightlife, and Shopping
Along Ocean Drive, bustling canopy-covered patios spill onto sidewalks as tanned rollerbladers zoom by on a palm-lined path bordering a seemingly endless blanket of velvety sand. The water, crystal clear up close, sparkles emerald from afar, tempting visitors to wade into its warm expanse. Two blocks west at the Clinton Hotel & Spa South Beach, water performs a similar seduction, this time from within the hotel’s enticing, cabana-lined lounge pool and from jacuzzis bubbling on the Loft suites' private terraces.
The retro neon sign gracing the front of the hotel belies the Clinton's contemporary interior. In the lobby, glass-bead chandeliers and white cube ottomans contrast with dark floors, and in the small but sleek Loft suites, a king platform bed dressed in crisp white linens faces off with a 52-inch wall-mounted television. Sliding glass doors lead to a compact terrace, where lodgers can rest on wooden patio furniture, soak in the jacuzzi (located on the terrace in some suites and in the room in others), and knit mittens for the fronds of an oversize potted palm.
At the hotel's X/O Restaurant, travelers can enjoy the bottle of house champagne and mojitos included with this deal from a glassed-in dining room opening onto the Clinton's lounge pool area. Open from 8 a.m. to 5 a.m., X/O serves no-frills sandwiches, wraps, pastas, and casual American fare such as avocado burgers topped with buffalo mozzarella ($13). Wavy, wicker chaise lounges and a few curtained cabanas surround the hotel’s small pool, where sun-kissed vacationers can sip X/O’s complimentary gin and vodka drinks from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. nightly.
South Beach: Sultry Clubs and Seaside Leisure
The Clinton lies in the heart of South Beach's historical Art Deco District—a cluster of more than 800 preserved structures dressed in sherbet shades of purple and turquoise. At night, dozens of clubs sprinkled throughout the area pulse with the tunes of live DJs and crowds of beautiful people from all over the globe. The scene runs the gamut from the posh oceanfront cabanas of Nikki Beach to the cavernous and frenzied Mansion throbbing with house and techno beats.
Heading north from the hotel, travelers can wander through the Mediterranean-revival blocks of Española Way, filled with quaint cafés and artisan vendors. Around the beach, residents and tourists pack the shores to sunbathe, practice yoga, and splash in the spa-like surf. The bustle and vivacity make it easy to while away the day people watching. However, self-serve DecoBike rentals give voyagers the chance to take a more active approach simply by swiping a credit card, riding by the hour or day, then dropping their two-wheeled cruisers off at any of 100 solar-powered, automated stations.
At the convivial Haitian restaurant Tap Tap, adorned with vivid, wall-to-wall murals, regular customers who all seem to know each other feast on fried plantains, whole fresh fish, and other traditional Haitian dishes. The amiable manager, Gary, points out-of-towners toward 14th Street, where a pair of side-by-side haunts favored by locals often go unnoticed. Open-air corner stand La Sandwicherie slings exceptional fresh sandwiches served alongside a squeeze bottle of house-made french vinaigrette, and across the street, Mac's Club Deuce offers an unpretentious spot for a beer and a game of pool.