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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Get Cultured in Miami

With a new performing-arts mecca and a menu for every palate, it's not all South Beach and tank tops anymore.


1. Where to Stay:

Removed from the South Beach party scene, André Balazs's third Standard (from $150), is inexpensive but sexy cool. The hotel opened a year ago, and the acclaim hasn't stopped. Go topless at the pool or visit the coed, clothing-optional mud lounge. Lather yourself in detoxifying, pore-tightening mud, lie in a deck chair to dry, and then hose yourself (or your friend) off.

Skip the overhyped Shore Club and opt instead for Gianni Versace’s former South Beach home, now the Casa Casuarina (from $795). Guests (like Kanye West) stay in the Baroque Suite, swim in a mosaic-tiled pool, and sip a cup of the world's most expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak, gratis.

You and the kids will be comfy at the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne (from $439 through December 21). Use the drawing room for games or afternoon tea, and ask the staff to arrange a family picnic on the Grand Lawn.

The Mandarin Oriental, Miami (from $329 through November 30; from $429 after December 1) is a quick cab ride away from the new Carnival Center for the Performing Arts. The “Biscayne Suites" have terraces overlooking the bay. A 20,000-square-foot artificial beach feels like the real thing.

Published on Oct 17, 2006 as a web exclusive.

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