One out of every 700 Miamians has a real-estate license. That fact alone is all anyone needs to understand the city. Crane talk dominates power lunches: the 42,000 new condominium units planned for downtown; the mayor’s master plan to rezone; the new home for the opera, ballet, and symphony. Happy talk dominates cocktail parties: 365 days of sand and sun, a record 11.3 million visitors in 2005, and how the weak dollar in the hands of the international jet set renders Miami the great exception to the national real-estate bubble. What about Wilma? Despite the fact that some of the shiny new skyscrapers by the bay still have blown-out windows boarded up with plywood, no one really mentions the devastation much. And why should they? It didn’t put a dent in last year’s social season. Party people still hit the annual Winter Music Conference. Aesthetes still flew in for Art Basel Miami Beach No. 4. And for the second year running, hip-hoppers compared tattoos with rockers at the MTV Video Music Awards. The parties are still going strong. All that’s really changed is that Miami has gotten smarter about turning the decadence into an itemized deduction.
If you prefer Shelter Island over East Hampton, you’ll love the Mandarin Oriental for its close-but-not-too-close proximity to South Beach.
If you like the nightclub vibe of the Hudson, you’ll love the Catalina Hotel & Beach Club.