Miami Beach didn’t really start booming until the Roaring Twenties, when millionaires such as Harvey Firestone and J.C. Penney built family homes along its sandy shores. By the 1930s, an architectural revolution hit, bringing with it the art-deco buildings South Beach is known for today. The 1937 Beacon Hotel is one of those historic architectural gems, featuring the flat roofs, smooth stucco walls, and geometric flourishes typical of an art-deco exterior. The hotel also has a prime location on the famed Ocean Drive, just steps from a 7-mile stretch of beach as well as trendy boutiques and nightclubs. Ask the concierge for recommendations on places to visit and help with making reservations.
The recently renovated Beacon Hotel’s interior reflects the area’s art-deco roots and modern South Beach style. The lobby is filled with high-backed leather chairs, and the second-floor lounge area has red sofas facing a flat-screen TV. Hanging paintings and live music in the evenings lend charm to The Place, the hotel’s restaurant, where menu options range from gourmet sandwiches to racks of lamb with a Chambord demi-glace. You can also take your food and cocktails out on the sidewalk patio.
Deluxe rooms are individually decorated; some have custom-loomed carpets, others have marble floors, and all have views of the Miami skyline. There are also complimentary chairs and towels in each room that guests can take down to the beach, just outside the hotel’s front doors.
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.