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Miami Heat

There’s more to the city these days than mojitos and bikinis.

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All ashore: The pool at the Shore Club.  

Arts and Leisure
The buzz this year among South Beach migrants is Miami’s “new intelligence.” The long-delayed $255 million Performing Arts Center is well under way (set to open in 2006); the new Miami Art Central museum has won raves for its contemporary Hispanic collection; and Art Basel, the famed Swiss art fair, has signed on for three more years. Still, there’s plenty to do if you just want some sun and fun. Stay at the new and surprisingly hip Ritz-Carlton South Beach. Eat at newcomer Prime One Twelve, where the beef is from Peter Luger’s supplier but the vibe is much cooler, or Mosaico, a trendy new Spanish restaurant and tapas bar. And shop rising designer Julian Chang’s boutique for stylish local threads or Lilian’s for handmade sandals. Rather just sit by the pool? The lounges at the Shore Club are still the hottest real estate in town.

Art Lesson
Just south of Miami’s booming design district, old warehouses in the Wynwood area are rapidly being converted into edgy contemporary-art galleries (Chelsea South?). Start near the corner of NW 36th Street and North Miami Avenue, where newcomers like Dot fiftyone, Bernice Steinbaum, and Rocket Projects show local and Latin American artists in mediums from paint to photography to video installations. Opening down the street later this month, Liquid Blue will feature similar work, albeit at friendlier prices (starting at around $700).


Deal of the Week
The “Bed and Vespa” deal at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach (see left) offers guests a room, complimentary breakfast, free parking, and use of one of the famed shiny red Italian scooters—a $409 value—for $279 a night, more than a 30 percent savings, now through October 2. Call 786-276-4000. [NOW EXPIRED]

Bar Association
Where to be seen after dark in South Beach.

Start the night with cocktails at the newly (finally) opened Cafeteria. Word is, the food’s better at the New York branch, but the bar draws a fabulous crowd.

It helps to be gorgeous or connected to cruise the maze of bars and lounges at Shore Club’s Skybar or to groove to house and hip-hop next door at Mynt.

Backed by Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee and the folks behind Mynt, ROK BAR opens this week on Collins Avenue with an appropriately metal-minded bent.

It’s worth staying an extra night for the swank Sunday parties at the Raleigh and the Ritz-Carlton, where hotel guests and local swells size each other up as the sun sets.

If You're Going To...
Monte Carlo
After a major overhaul by designer Jacques Garcia (known for his work at the Hôtel Costes in Paris), the cushy Hotel Metropole reopens in June, and will surely attract former guests like Claudia Schiffer and Sting with its decked-out suites, seawater pool, and spa by ESPA (377-93-15-15-35; from $422).

Colorado
All things summer in the Rockies—hiking, riding, fishing, biking—will be available at the new Elk Mountain Resort. Just outside Telluride, the Alpine-chic establishment’s 21 luxury lodges and 18 two-story cottages are set to open at the end of this month (970-252-4900; from $300).

Murray Hill
Kimpton Hotels, a W rival in the boutique-lodging biz, is opening its first New York property: 70 Park Avenue debuts this summer with 205 Jeffrey Bilhuber–designed rooms featuring high-tech goodies (flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, DVD players) and the usual swank amenities (212-973-2400; from $469).

Nice
Built in the thirties as a casino, the Palais de la Méditerranée reopened last month as a luxury hotel with 188 rooms (designed by Sybille de Margerie, who did the Crillon in Paris), a pool with views of the Bay of Nice, and, yes, a casino (800-745-8883; from $340).


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