Understated Suite Hotel Seconds from Lummus Park Beach
A little more than a century ago, coconut farmers sweated it out on the plantations of this sparsely populated barrier island. Today, “sweating it out” takes on an entirely new meaning for the movie stars, fashionistas, and muscle men who glimmer in the afternoon sun like the sleek façades of Miami’s high-rises. Bon vivants are drawn to Collins Avenue by its boutique shops and taste-making nightclubs, and a mile-long stretch of beach a block to the east delivers solar therapy free of charge. This is downtown SoBe, the heart of the Miami Beach Architectural District and home to Metropole Hotel South Beach, which dazzles its clientele with understated elegance and an array of included guest services such as a welcome bottle of sparkling wine and unlimited bike rentals.
As the stomping grounds for the second season of Jersey Shore, Metropole proved its party scene could hang with Miami Beach’s best. But in the hotel’s private courtyard encircling a splash pool, nights out on the town give way to a tranquil respite. Come slumbertime, a plush oasis awaits in each one-bedroom suite appointed with European pillow-top beds, 42-inch plasma TVs, and marble bathrooms with Kohler rain showerheads.
Each day’s food and beverage credit can be redeemed at any of the South Beach Group’s nine bars and restaurants, all within a short walk, bike ride, or float along the Gulf Stream. Kung Fu Kitchen & Sushi at The Catalina Hotel & Beach Club serves fresh specialty rolls at its swanky bar and palm-shaded patio, and The Shelley Bar & Hookah Lounge at Hotel Shelley pairs inventive cocktails with more than 150 flavors of shisha.
Miami Beach: Shopping, Nightlife, and Suntans
Though the tiny boutiques, vibrant nightspots, and sidewalk cafés garner most of the attention, South Beach’s cultural offerings are worth more than a passing glance. The Miami Beach Architectural District, overlapping the greater part of SoBe, boasts an abundance of historically significant Mediterranean revival, art deco, and Miami modern buildings. The Miami Design Preservation League offers architecture walking tours seven days a week to illuminate the stepped rooflines, porthole windows, and sinuous edges of South Beach's iconic art deco buildings. Architectural wonders can even be found on the beach among the many vibrantly colored lifeguard huts, which range in style from pastel bungalows to space-age retro-futuristic shacks.