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Road Trip: Miami, The Global Getaway

Daphne Nikolopoulos & Paul Rubio

Palm Beach’s sexy, artsy, multi-culti sister to the south, Miami is hotter than ever with these newest must experiences.

 

Miles from Palm Beach: 69

Art Deco - South Beach, Miami

Where to Sleep: Despite the onslaught of newbies along Collins and Ocean avenues, the hotel that defined South Beach glam two decades ago remains at the top of the Miami Beach food chain. Constant nips and tucks have maintained the Delano’s youthful glow, attracting a global who’s-who to Philippe Starck’s electrifying fantasyland, rife with Alice in Wonderland furnishings and white-on-white design schemes. Ask the concierge for the unpublicized (and complimentary) “ethos tour,” where you’ll learn the intricacies of Starck’s vision and tour the hotel as a living museum: without a doubt one of Miami’s coolest insider experiences. —P.R.

Poolside at the Delano - South Beach and Miami Beach Weekend Getaway
Poolside at the Delano.

 

Urban Cool: COMO Hotels & Resorts, a Singapore-based brand with which luxury travelers are familiar, has opened its first U.S. property on Collins Avenue in Miami. COMO took over the old location of The Traymore and transformed it into the Metropolitan, an urban concept with hip accommodations, a gin bar, a private dock and a rooftop spa, all designed with COMO’s minimalist aesthetic.

The Metropolitan - COMO Hotels & Resorts - The Traymore - Luxury Weekend Getaway in Miami

   The COMO Shambhala Urban Escape spa is a destination in itself. It features the brand’s signature Asian therapies and an outdoor hydrotherapy pool overlooking the ocean. Shambhala cuisine, focused on living foods, is offered at the spa and as an option at the Traymore seafood restaurant. —D.N.

 

Where to Eat: On the sixteenth floor of the trendy Epic Hotel, Area 31 doles out succulent selections from the marine region of its namesake. Executive Chef Wolfgang Birk perfects ocean-to-table cuisine with crudo dishes such as the grouper ceviche with shaved green papaya and tarragon as well as fresh seafood prepared in one of four ways: tomato/olive/caper, red pepper sabayon, salsa verde or lemon/sea salt/chili. Add the excitement of an open kitchen, jaw-dropping rooftop views of the Miami skyline and a top-notch master sommelier to the mix, and you have the recipe for a fabulous Miami evening. —P.R.

Poached Lobster from Area 31 restaurant at the Epic Hotel - Executive Chef Wolfgang Birk - Exemplary Dining Options in Miami Beach
The poached lobster from Area 31 restaurant at Epic Hotel.

 

Italian Accent: Chicago celebrity Chef Tony Mantuano, of Spiaggia fame, makes his Florida debut in South Beach with Lorenzo (dish and dining pictured below) The authentic Italian cuisine does Mantuano’s homeland proud, featuring hot and cold antipasti including the sublime balsamic glazed tri-color carrots and to-die-for arancini, savory pizzettas from the Italian wood-burning oven, grilled meats and fish, and house-made pastas and gelatos. Dine alfresco on Collins Avenue to people-watch or revel in the art deco-meets-Italy pizzazz of the dining room.  —P.R.

Lorenzo - al fresco dining on Collins Avenue

A Taste of Peru: Disciples of Peruvian food know Gastón Acurio’s name. Acurio is practically synonymous with la cocina Peruana, both in his native Peru and stateside, where he has opened La Mar Cebicheria (San Francisco) and Tanta (Chicago). And now, La Mar by Gastón Acurio, at the Mandarin Oriental Miami, brings his signature novo-Andean and Asian-Peruvian fusion cuisine to our fair state.
   The experience is worth the drive from Palm Beach. Here are three tastes to try as you sit by the bay and marvel at the Brickell skyline:

  1. Cebiche: Classico if you are a purist; nikei if you prefer an Asian spin.
  2. Tiraditos: Peruvian-style sashimi with various versions of leche de tigre (tiger’s milk), the concoction the fish marinates in.
  3. Anticuchos: Skewers, the popular Peruvian street food. If you are adventurous, opt for the corazón (heart). —D.N.
Cebiche Classico and Octopus Antiucho from La Mar by Gastón Acurio - culinary marvels in Miami, SOuth Beach - Road Trip musts for the Florida foodie
Cebiche Classico (left) and Octopus Antiucho from La Mar by Gastón Acurio.

 

Try This: If you’ve always wanted to learn the fine art of pastry, you may as well study with the best. Antonio Bachour, executive pastry chef at the St. Regis Bal Harbour, certainly qualifies.

Chef Antonio Bachour at the St. Regis Bal Harbour - Pastry Class

   Don’t expect the basics here. In a recent class, the charismatic Bachour began with a demo on mixing and piping macarons (pictured above with students). Talk about baptism by fire. The two-hour class continued with painted chocolates—a rigorous process yielding miniature works of art—and turtle-shaped cake pops, a hit with the younger set. Fall classes ($100 per person) are held September 6 and November 8. Naturally, you’ll sample the goods—and take some home. —D.N.

 

For Kids: Miami, a haven for kids? Absolutely! With attractions like the Miami Children’s Museum, Zoo Miami, the Miami Seaquarium and the new Museum of Science opening in 2015, there is a ton for youngsters to do.

Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne - Miami and Key Biscayne Luxury Road Trip - active vacation for the kids

   The best place to base is undoubtedly Key Biscayne, where the pace is quiet and the beaches are most child-friendly. The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne (pool pictured above) has a program geared toward kids’ natural curiosity. In partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, the Ritz Kids program (pictured below) offers environmentally focused activities that help children learn stewardship for the planet and preservation of marine life through art, discovery and storytelling. Plus, there is a huge clubhouse (and a second one on the club level) with all sorts of activities for young explorers.
   As a bonus for Mom and Dad, summer Weekday Escape packages (through September 31) include a $500 resort credit. —D.N.

Ritz Kids in the Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society program - Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne

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