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I'm Dreaming of a Tan Christmas

Miami Beach, Fla.; December 25-26

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Christmas in Miami Beach has its virtues, not least of which is the possibility of seeing a well-tanned Santa Claus driving a Jet Ski. You can still have a white Christmas at the Delano hotel, right on the beach, thanks to its all-white Art Deco exterior and glamorously blank rooms. You never really have to leave the hotel grounds, since everyone comes to the Delano anyway. The bi-level poolside cabanas are dreamy, and there's a first-rate restaurant, the Blue Door, on the premises. But if you're holiday-averse, there's no better place to hide out than the intimate, awkwardly named Hotel. Formerly called the Tiffany, it was recently remodeled from top to bottom by Todd Oldham, using exuberant, tropical colors throughout and custom-designed fabric and furniture in every room. The rooftop pool is a jewel. At night, catch the water taxi at the Miami Beach Marina and motor to Big Fish Mayaimi for an outdoor, dockside paella dinner. The place is stylishly funky, filled with eclectic decorations and cast-off sculptures -- like a postmodern junkyard designed by Pee Wee Herman. The boat ride to and from is a trip in itself: under neon-lit bridges and past the glittering Miami skyline. Better get back to the hotel, though. You need to rest up for New Year's.

DETAILS The Delano hotel (800-555-5001; doubles currently start at $345); the Blue Door (305-674-6400; entrées, $27 to $44); the Hotel (877-843-4683; rooms start at $185); Big Fish Mayaimi (305-373-1770; entrées, $7 to $25).


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