by Alyssa Morlacci | June 4, 2021
Explore A Different Side Of South Beach
A weekend in Miami Beach doesn’t always have to unfold from a lounge chair on the sand; these days, culturally rich explorations, culinary triumphs and well-appointed stays are in order.
Often overlooked by the epicures and art enthusiasts who laud nearby Wynwood or the Design District, Miami Beach is taking its cultural, culinary and hospitality offerings as seriously as its iconic cerulean waters and white sand beaches. With the opening of Pharrell Williams’s and David Grutman’s Goodtime Hotel, an igniting food scene along Española Way, new installations to the Art in Public Places Program, and so much more, Miami Beach has reclaimed its place as the jewel of the Magic City.
The signature art deco architecture that has come to define Miami Beach inspires hoteliers to turn old-boned historic buildings into sleek, modern interpretations of those glory days. Take for example The Betsy on Ocean Drive, which was built in 1942 and has since become a chic ode to local literary artists with libraries in every guest room and a rotating resident author. The hotel’s owner, Jonathan Plutzik, son of writer Hyam Plutzik, makes sure his father’s book “Letter From a Young Poet” is set out on bookshelves and coffee tables throughout the property.
The much-anticipated Goodtime Hotel on South Beach’s Washington Avenue is a recent addition built by Miami mogul David Grutman and singer Pharrell Williams. An Instagram-worthy playground, the hotel’s lobby, library and 266 guest rooms look like sets on a Wes Anderson film. The pastel pink and green imbued paradise was designed to be photographed, and everything down to the cocktails served at the Beverly Hills-inspired Strawberry Moon pool deck match the hotel’s playful, colorful aesthetic.
South Florida is a melting pot of people and cultures, so when it comes to dining options, you can find authentic cuisine from all around the world. Restaurants serving everything from French to Mexican along Española Way offer seating that spills out onto cobblestone streets, reminiscent of a Mediterranean village. While dining alfresco under twinkle lights and awnings, let your taste buds travel to Italy with every forkful of fresh, homemade pasta at Pane & Vino, or send your senses to Cuba with the first sip of a minty mojito at Havana 1957.
Further south is The Villa Casa Casuarina (formerly known as the Versace Mansion and owned by the late fashion designer Gianni Versace) where dinner reservations at Gianni’s are a must. The open-air restaurant serves elegantly plated Mediterranean dishes in the lush courtyard where bistro tables surround the famous mosaic pool.
From visual to vibrational, the art and music scene in Miami Beach has a universal appeal. At the 70-year-old Sagamore Hotel, award-winning works by Australian artists Gillie and Marc Schattner are presented in the sculpture garden while paintings by world-class artists obtained from past years of Art Basel fill the walls inside.
As part of the Art in Public Places Program, modern murals transform the exterior walls of the Miami Beach Convention Center; among them is Frank Ackermann’s vibrant and large-scale abstract painting “About Sand.” Also publicly on display at One Washington Avenue is Tobias Rehberger’s “eloquent south pointe park pier gate,” an art installment that’s topped off with a thought bubble, a signature element of Rehberger’s work that invites inanimate objects to speak.
Music enthusiasts also love Miami Beach for its genre inclusivity. The rhythms of electronic dance music, hip-hop, Latin and jazz provide a unique soundtrack to the city. Take in live performances by DJs, singers, bands and symphony orchestras at venues like Treehouse Miami, SoundScape Park and the North Beach Bandshell.
At its core, Miami Beach offers something for every taste, from a refined overnight at The Betsy to a social media shareable stay at the Goodtime Hotel, from Cuban comfort food to Italian decadence, and good vibrations played by a live Latin band or a curated DJ set. So the next time you visit, trade the lounge chair on the sand for a seat at the city’s cultural table overflowing with art, music, food and style.
Sponsored by Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority