After spending time in the Floridian sun, sipping sumptuous cocktails at a glitzy beach club rooftop, hitting the hottest new (and old) restaurants, and getting the lay of the land, HAP Editors Megan Shelton and Britney Eschelman have come together to create the ultimate pocket guide to Miami’s most iconic neighborhood: South Beach.
Where to Stay:
Ideally situated along Miami’s iconic Ocean Drive, The Gabriel South Beach is a refreshed Art Deco-style boutique stay with prime access to the beach. Interiorly, guestrooms and suites reflect Scandinavian minimalism with beach-inspired motifs: pale blue palm tree wallpaper, light-toned upholstered beds, and expansive windows allow natural light to spill in. With two outdoor pools — including a glass-bottom rooftop one overlooking the Atlantic Ocean — there’s ample opportunity to soak up some rays.
Just steps from the beach on Collins Avenue, The Setai Miami Beach is a premiere boutique resort providing a secluded oasis from the buzzy Miami streets. Guestrooms and suites meld Balinese and Art Deco influences: bright white walls accented with rich teak wood and captivating ocean views bring light to accommodations. Relaxing poolside by the hotel’s consistent 85-degree main swimming hole is the place to be when the Miami heat is potent.
Where to Eat:
See and be seen at this new, ultra-luxe Japanese restaurant and lounge giving new life to the historic Paris Theater. World-class hospitality and Japanese cuisine seamlessly come together to create the ultimate drinking and dining experience, evoking a new wave of posh that Miami has yet to see. The beverage team curated a selection of signature cocktails that each tell their own story; our favorite sips include Heavenly Sovereign (Teremana Tequila, Lillet blanc, bergamot liquor, chili passion fruit) and Tokyo Rose (Don Julio Blanco Tequila, peach calpico, yuzu, rose water, egg white, ginger ale). Don’t miss the Caviar Crispy Rice, Smoked O’Toro Crudo, and the USDA Prime Chateaubriand, served with roasted garlic, wasabi, and a touch of truffle. Indulge in a Chocolate Soufflé Tart (komuntu 80% dark chocolate, vanilla custard) for dessert.
Jaya at The Setai is the definition of dinner and a show: house music, disco lights, and dancers parade around the restaurant’s Balinese-style courtyard, sporting an idyllic centerpiece water feature dotted with palm trees. Serving Asian fusion cuisine, consider ordering their signature dish: Peking Duck, which comes with a half-roasted duck, steamed pancakes, scallions, cucumbers, and bean sauce.
Where to Drink:
Named for the last full lunar evening of Spring, on which the moon glints with a rosy hue, Strawberry Moon is the high-energy restaurant and bar within The Goodtime Hotel. Conquer Miami’s year-round humidity in the indoor parlor, or venture to the expansive outdoor deck outfitted in striped-cushion banquettes and an LED-illuminated fountain. Each space is adorned with tropical hues inspired by vintage hotspots such as Acapulco and Bermuda. The bar menu has everything from craft cocktails to bottle service, while fan-favorite food highlights include Moon Bread (traditional Yemenite bread, fig tahini butter), Octopus Salad (Gigante bean, cherry tomato, arugula, salsa verde), and any of the Kebabs.
Instantly feel transported to México without ever leaving Miami Beach at Gitano Miami. Tucked away within Casa Faena stands Gitano Miami, a restaurant and bar inspired by the tantalizing spirit of Tulum. Gypsy disco beats whisper through the lush plants and trees that fill the dining room. All of the wait staff wear a version of a cheetah print to match the motif of the Casa Faena lobby. Yet, it seamlessly aligns with the mysterious jungle vibes the Mexican municipality evokes. Tropical cocktails pair perfectly with snacks, salads, and small and large plates, like the Lobster Tostada, Octopus Zarandeado, and Duck Carnitas Huarache. Don’t leave without trying the Corn Ash Churros.
Where to Visit:
Walk down Ocean Drive
As South Beach’s iconic oceanfront thoroughfare, Ocean Drive is a prominent symbol in Miami Beach’s history. During its heyday in the ‘90s, famed fashion designer Gianni Versace lived in his glamorous Versace Mansion on the star-studded street, where celebrities and supermodels strolled down the palm-lined road; fitness fanatics such as Arnold Schwarzenegger famously trained at the well-known Muscle Beach. Today, it still reflects its historic Art Deco design with a little less pizzazz. However, nevertheless, it’s still abuzz with visitors popping into chic boutique hotels such as The Betsy, dining at the storied News Café, or watching a show at the premier LGBTQ+ Palace Bar.
Created by Pharrell Williams and Groot Hospitality, The Goodtime Hotel is the place to have just that –– more specifically, at their nearly-every day pool parties. The Pool at Strawberry Moon is the property’s mecca, boasting 24,000 square footage, complete with a lounge, lush landscaping, chaises, private cabanas, and twin pools separated by a runway. The weekends draw special guests, and DJ sets from the likes of Alec Monopoly, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, and Don Diablo. No matter the day of the week, locals and travelers alike can opt for various table reservations ranging from poolside daybeds to cabanas.
Spanning almost the entire length of South Beach from east to west, Lincoln Road Mall is a mile-long pedestrian-only street replete with fashionable shops, restaurants, and bars. Luxe stores, including All Saints, Jo Malone London, and Zadig & Voltaire, dot the passageway.
Stroll through Española Way
Conceptualized back in the 1920s, Mediterranean villages served as the inspiration for this promenade in Miami Beach, which today, operates as a pedestrian-only paseo lined with restaurants and cafés sporting expansive outdoor patios, plus a few hotels and shops. Stop by The Roof at Esmé Hotel for a sangria, then grab a table at the bustling Hosteria Romana, a bustling spot focused on Roman-Jewish dishes.
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