Mediterranean Revival Hotel in Miami Beach's Art Deco District
Nearly a thousand candy-colored buildings line the streets of Miami Beach's historical Art Deco District. It's one of the world's largest neighborhoods for art-deco architecture. One of the main drags, Collins Avenue, has been nicknamed "Millionaire's Row" for its array of posh hotels and Spanish mansions. Built in the 1920s and completely renovated in 2000, The Claridge Hotel stands right on Millionaire's Row; it has a retro vibe with Mediterranean influences, including a stucco exterior and terra cotta roof tiles. The historical hotel is located just steps from the beach and 15 minutes from the trendy downtown area.
The atrium-style lobby resembles a hacienda with its dramatic archways and wrought-iron accents. Sunlight pours in from an expansive skylight onto Spanish-style tiles, which follow to the hotel's unique pool and spa. There's a large jacuzzi here, and it's a nice place to come unwind before turning in for the night.
Up in the rooms, warm golden hues, live tropical plants, and handmade, imported Spanish furniture recall the rustic Mediterranean countryside. Some deluxe rooms have french doors that open onto a private balcony.
At Amalfi on the Beach, chef Jose Davila crafts creative Italian entrees. Head out to the outdoor seating area to try Amalfi's signature crab cakes ($12.95) or the creamy fettuccine carbonara ($18.95). On the weekends, live music plays on the patio. Alternatively, there's the open-air Terrace Lounge, where you can sip a cocktail or glass of wine.
Miami Beach: Pristine Oceanfront and Latin-Flavored Culture
Miami Beach is set along a series of barrier islands separated from Miami proper by Biscayne Bay. The southernmost portion, South Beach, is known all over the world for its vibrant, pastel-colored art-deco hotels and rollicking nightlife. But the rest of Miami Beach has charms of its own. Water temperatures at the city's pristine beaches stay on the good side of 70 degrees all year long, and views of the Atlantic Ocean are unparalleled. A seaside boardwalk stretches for more than 70 blocks, providing a scenic pathway for jogging, biking, or conga-lining your way from North Beach to South Beach.
No trip to Miami Beach is complete without sampling some authentic Cuban food, such as the medianoche sandwiches available at any local joint. Latin flavor seeps into the music scene, too, inspiring bouts of salsa dancing after a few rum-soaked mojitos at one of the nightclubs along Ocean Drive. A morning-after swim in the calm Atlantic is a good way to restore equilibrium