WHY GO THERE NOW?
Miami is sizzling hot. And we’re not just talking about the balmy temperatures that this Florida hotspot enjoys all year round. The city is known for its pulsating nightlife and vibrant party scene and it’s the perfect place for a break. And if you partied a bit too hard, you can just relax on the soft, white sands of South Beach, which is overlooked by Ocean Drive. This famous, palm tree-lined street is known for its confetti-hued Art Deco buildings and al fresco cafes. Add to this the melting pot of different nationalities – particularly the large Cuban community – and Miami has a truly unique vibe.
Visit the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, a cutting-edge museum that houses an aquarium and planetarium, where visitors can immerse themselves in interactive shows including Dynamic Earth, where you can ride the swirling ocean currents, dive into a hurricane and fly into churning volcanoes. You can also pet stingrays on the top floor and watch hammerhead sharks glide above you from the bottom of the aquarium.
A visit to Little Havana is an absolute must. Take a guided walk with Miami Culinary Tours and you’ll stroll along Calle Ocho sampling traditional foods such as empanadas and the famous Cuban sandwich. Watch the locals play dominoes in the park and listen to Latino beats playing in the street side cafes. When you’re done, relax at Ball & Chain in front of the outdoor pineapple-shaped stage that has played host to legends such as Billie Holiday and Count Basie.
WHERE TO STAY?
The contemporary EAST Miami hotel is part of a new upmarket development in the city’s Brickell financial district. All the ultra-modern 352 rooms – including eight suites and 89 one to three-bed residences – feature balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows. Even in the bathroom, so you can enjoy breathtaking city views while you unwind in the tub. Owned by a Hong Kong company, the hotel has lots of Asian-inspired furnishings – most notably at the rooftop bar Sugar and the Tea Room, an opulent cocktail den. Make sure you dine at the hotel’s signature Quinto La Huella restaurant. Order one of the steaks from the South American-inspired menu that are cooked using a traditional fire method. After a hard day’s sightseeing, OK! liked to relax on a sun lounger by one of the hotel’s two pools.
WHERE TO DINE AND BE SEEN?
A great place to see and be seen is Sugar, the rooftop bar on the 40th floor of EAST hotel. Leafy, hidden walkways give this Balinese-inspired bar a tropical feel. Search out the Tea Room, only accessible by a discreet door, for a midnight detox drink and some moreish Asian tapas. Another great rooftop bar is the SkyBar at the Shore Club, also famous for its pool parties. If you want to party all night, the huge Blackbird Ordinary in Brickell has DJs, live bands and a pool table. And for a true Miami experience, see one of the many drag acts. OK! saw a mind-blowing contest at Kill Your Idol on Espanola Way. Competition was stiff but the winning performer went that extra mile by leaping off the bar and landing in the splits! ok!
REPORT: AMY ATKINSON
EDITED BY OK! TRAVEL EDITOR ANNABEL MACKIE