Saturday night at Mansion.Photo: Courtesy of Seth Browarnik/Red Eye Prods.

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Seven Days of Miami Parties The Best 4 A.M. Pit Stop A Guide to Miami’s Restaurant Scene The Newest Boutique Hotels A Walking Tour of Miami’s Chelsea How to Crash a HotelMiami Real EstateWhere the Stars Live Sydney

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.

If you like 60 Thompson’s quiet spot on Soho’s edge, you’ll love Sanctuary South Beach, just off Collins Avenue.

Next: Seven Days of Miami Parties


The Raleigh Hotel
1775 Collins Ave.
Dress: Beachy chic
Crowd: Models, collegiate types, New Yorkers
Peak hours: 7pm-Midnight

Come for early-evening drinks and stay for the bonfire. The laid-back scene at André Balazs’s joint is so coolly enticing, some weekenders stay an extra night to lounge amid the models, jet setters, and sun-kissed, flip-flopped Abercrombie kids.

929 Washington Ave.
Dress: Sexy
Crowd: Hip-hop moguls, sports stars, groupies
Peak Hours: 11pm-3am

Heaving cleavages and the rap moguls who love them come out for this down-and-dirty hip-hop bash. For the ladies, dinner is free starting at ten o’clock. Justin Timberlake appearances: no extra charge.

Hotel Astor
956 Washington Ave.
Dress: Cocktail cool
Crowd: Real-estate agents, fashion-media-art-whatever hipsters
Peak Hours: 9pm-1am

Karim Masri, Nicola Siervo, and Miami party fixture Tommy Pooch host the Hotel Astor’s buzzing indoor-outdoor dinner party. Dine at ten, then wander off to the breezy patio bar for cocktails.

The Forge
432 41st St.
Dress: Beach formal
Crowd: Sugar daddies, developers, heiresses
Peak Hours: 10pm-5am

Only here can you bare your midriff while eating filet mignon in a restaurant resembling a Parisian mansion (after a few drinks, anyway). Add in the chance of a Michael Jackson sighting and you can’t go wrong. After midnight, head next door to the club Glass.

1144 Ocean Dr.
Dress: Anything goes, jeans to cocktail dresses
Crowd: Über-trendoids
Peak Hours: 11:30pm-3am

Miami’s busiest promoter, Michael Capponi, offers one of the best reasons to spend the evening on Ocean Drive. Have a curry at Vix, the Hotel Victor’s Spice Route–inspired restaurant, then decamp to the ocean-view lounge to watch the socialites parade past.

1766 Bay Rd.
Dress: T shirts, tanks, designer jeans
Crowd: Twinks to trannies
Peak Hours: 11pm-1am

Once a week, the popular South African restaurant transitions into one of the city’s most ecumenical gay scenes: Though there are plenty of chest-waxers here, this party’s not just for the pretty boys. The evening’s big draw—a wild drag show—starts at eleven.

Sasturday night at MansionPhoto: Courtesy of Seth Browarnik/Red Eye Prods.


1235 Washington Ave.
Dress: As little as possible
Crowd: Party-photo aspirants
Peak Hours: 12:45am-3:15am

Mansion is the kind of ear-splitting, strobe-light-blasting, oversize dance theater you envisioned when you planned your trip. Wear enough makeup, show enough skin, and your photo will wind up on Come prepared to make out with strangers.

Next: The Best 4 A.M. Pit Stop

The Best …

1437 Washington Ave. (305-604-3644)
This posh Aspen-ski-lodge-meets-Alice-in-Wonderland bar and lounge is notorious for its wild rock-and-roll scene. Saddles serve as bar stools, and many patrons filled with liquid confidence (including Colin Farrell, we hear) ride Snatch’s mechanical bull or shiny stripper poles.

Photo: John Loomis/Redux

San Loco Taquería
235 14th St.(305-538-3009)
Come with cash (they don’t take credit cards), and prepare to wait in a long line with stomachs growling for the $2.25 beef hard-shell delights. Open until 5 a.m. on weeknights and 6 a.m. on weekends.

South Beach

Between 1st and 15th Streets
You might want to bring your camera-phone on this jog: Gloria and Emilio Estefan drive from their Star Island manse to run with trainers here early weekday mornings; Jennifer Lopez and Diddy have been known to hit the route when in town—separately, of course.

La Piaggia

1000 S. Pointe Dr.(305-674-0647)
Yellow-and-white striped banquettes, bright orange umbrellas, and a floor of sand help make this a splashy power-lunch spot, especially for the Euro set. Bring a pen and enjoy long afternoons filled with bottomless bottles of rosé, tender crab cakes, and luscious dorade royale.

Next: A Guide to Miami’s Restaurant Scene


Deconstructionist cuisine, redux.

Cafe SambalPhoto: Courtesy of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel

New Yorkers have WD-50; Miamians did have La Broche. But shortly after its 2002 opening, the avant-garde Spanish restaurant closed; the city wasn’t ready for the laboratory-like menu of foams and wildly different preparations of the same ingredients. Now, after this year’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival, at which Anthony Bourdain debuted his documentary about the cuisine, Decoding Ferran Adrià, postmodern dining is the toast of the town. This year Miami will get a second chance at Spanish deconstructionist dining with Karu&Y (305-403-7850). When the restaurant opens in July, chef Alberto Cabrera will feature Key-lime-poached lobster served with a tomato popsicle, and yellowfin tuna with a mille-feuille of crispy pineapple and coconut-milk sponge. For a taste now, try Café Sambal (pictured) in the Mandarin Oriental (305-913-8251), where former La Broche chef Gerdy Rodriguez modernizes traditional Asian fare (delicious asparagus tempura with ginger-mayo foam; grilled strip loin steak with potato in three textures), or Mosaico (305-371-3473), serving up dishes like seared duck breast with apples and pink pepper, created using techniques (Thermomix, Pacojet, sous vide, siphons, agars, gelatins, et al.) pioneered by Spain’s avant-garde chefs.

Michy's beet salad.Photo: John Loomis/Redux

As always, Manhattan’s restaurateurs—Chodorow, Bouley—are opening South Beach satellites in rapid-fire succession. But it seems silly to go to Miami to eat New York food. Instead, try the best of the local newcomers: Quattro (305-531-4833), an Italian restaurant serving homemade pasta and fish imported from Italy; Novecento (305-531-0900), for mouthwatering grilled skirt steak with chimichurri sauce amid the kind of funky, late-night Latin scene you’d find at La Esquina; and Michy’s (305-759-2001), serving up exquisite seafood dishes (try the southern-fried quail with black-eyed peas, honey, and peaches) at over-the-causeway (read non-tourist-trap) prices.

Next: The Newest Boutique Hotels

Room Service

The New Boutique Hotels

From $195305-673-1717
Tucked away on Belle Isle, a short walk to Lincoln Road or a quick cab ride to Collins and Washington Avenues.
Fellow Guests
Karolina Kurkova, Bruce Weber, Donna Karan, Uma Thurman.
Pool Scene
It’s a choice place to enjoy the view over the tranquil waters of Biscayne Bay.
Eric Ripert created the Mediterranean menu at the Lido restaurant; guests have free, full use of spa facilities, including a Roman-waterfall hot tub, arctic plunge pool, and self-serve mud lounge.

From $165; 305-674-1160
Across the street from Collins Avenue clubs like Mynt, Rok, and Skybar.
Fellow Guests
JC Chasez, Usher, Big Boi, Jacob Young.
Pool Scene
Young twentysomethings lounge in cabana beds on the pool’s sundeck.
The hotel boasts a hip restaurant (Spy Lounge) and relaxing Zen Garden, plus tons of freebies: complimentary airport shuttle; free drinks from 7 to 8 p.m. every night and breakfast every morning; VIP club passes.

from $495; 305-520-6000
A surprisingly quiet oceanfront that borders Collins Avenue nightlife.
Fellow Guests
Oprah Winfrey, Lenny Kravitz, Bono.
Pool Scene
Attendants pass out cold compresses and chilled water; behind the pool lies a lively beach bar, set to light dance music.
It’s home to one of the city’s best spas and most expensive eateries (the Restaurant), plus an extravagant sushi, caviar, and champagne lounge.

From $250; 305-673-5455
On a residential side street just off Collins Avenue—a block from the clubs and the ocean.
Fellow Guests
Dale Chihuly, Jeremy Shockey, Shaquille O’Neal.
Pool Scene
The rooftop’s wading pool is private, romantic, and quiet—a relief from all the craziness of South Beach. Oversize teak cabanas are perfect for cozying up with a friend.
Treatments at the tiny spa and salon include a post-bikini-wax skin soother and hot-stone massage. The Italian restaurant, Sugo, is civilized, the food delicious: Order black ravioli stuffed with lobster.

Next: A Walking Tour of Miami’s Answer to Chelsea


Photo: Omnivore

Wandering Wynwood
Gallery hopping in Miami’s answer to Chelsea.

For the first time in years, Miami’s art scene isn’t just for major collectors—and the booming Wynwood gallery district is one happy consequence of Art Basel’s success. Go on the second Saturday of every month from 7 to 10 P.M., when galleries and studios are open to the public and pouring free wine. Plan to start at about 7:30 at Cisneros. From there, drive up to Diana Lowenstein, snag a free parking spot in the lot, and do the rest of your exploring on foot.

1. Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation
1018 N. Miami Ave.
Up-and-coming contemporary artists from Latin America are given a studio and living space by this gallery. Reopens in May.

2. Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts
2043 N. Miami Ave.
Having made the hop from Coral Gables a few months ago, this gallery features contemporary works by Latin American artists.

Frederic Snitzer GalleryPhoto: Courtesy of Natalia Benedetti and the Frederic Snitzer Gallery

3. Fredric Snitzer Gallery
2247 N.W. 1st Pl.
Here you’ll find works by mid-career Cuban artists as well as locals on the brink of international acclaim.

4. Kevin Bruk Gallery2249 N.W. 1st Pl.
Kevin Bruk prides itself on showing artists who are generating chatter in New York: Blake Rayne, Alyson Shotz, and Fabian Marcaccio.

5. World-Class Boxing: The Scholl Collection
170 N.W. 23rd St.
In this space, collectors Dennis and Debra Scholl house works that are too large for them to show in their home; by appointment only.

6. Locust Projects
105 N.W. 23rd St.
Billing itself as a nonprofit, experimental gallery, Locust shows work ignored by more-traditional venues—like “Blood and Guts in High School,” a series of video installations, and Dorothy, both by Laura Parnes.

7. MoCA at Goldman Warehouse
404 N.W. 26th St.
A satellite of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Goldman shows works from MOCA’s permanent collection year-round.

8. The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse
591 N.W. 27th St.
This converted warehouse showcases the collection of Martin Z. Margulies, one of the world’s top photography collectors.

9. Luis Adelantado Miami
98 N.W. 29th St.
An outpost of Spain’s Galeria Luis Adelantado, this space focuses on international contemporary art.

10. Rubell Family Collection
95 N.W. 29th St.
The Rubell family spearheaded this area’s art scene back in 1996, exhibiting their personal collection in a converted warehouse once used by the Drug Enforcement Agency for confiscated goods.

11. Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin
194 N.W. 30th St.
This outpost of the Parisian gallery opened in December in a MiMo (Miami Modern) building—formerly a refrigerator warehouse.

Next: The Best South Beach Wax

South Beach Vanity
Wax off, tan on. In Miami, it’s imperative to be hairless at all times. Happily, the best South American waxers seem to end up there. See Lulu at the J. Sisters’ southern outpost (305-672-7142): Her Brazilian bikini wax is remarkably precise and long-lasting. It’s equally important to return home looking sun-kissed: Miami’s airbrush tanners take their medium very seriously, expertly sculpting phony abs and triceps with their artfully applied spray. Schedule an appointment at SoBe Tan by Fabiola (305-532-0221) for the morning you fly out of town: For $40 and fifteen minutes, you’ll get a deep, bronzed glow that even an extra week on the beach wouldn’t get you.

Next: How to Crash a Hotel and Jump Off a Pier


Photo: Courtesy of the Setai

Hotel Crashing
Everything you’ve heard about the South Beach pool scene is true: the toplessness, the thongs, the underwater misbehaving. But it’s hardly an open-door policy: Most places—the Delano and Shore Club included—require a room key to get past burly security guards. (Don’t even try to claim you lost an earring the night before; they’ve heard every trick in the book.) A better bet is the Setai or the Raleigh; requesting an outdoor table for lunch or cocktails will score you a ringside seat for the show.

Pier Jumping
Diving from the South Pointe Pier is something of a rite of passage for Miami teens. The police make halfhearted attempts to ban the practice, but the stern warning signs and chain-link fence only seem to encourage the locals. Or maybe it’s their appreciative audience: a comfortable mix of fedora-topped fishermen, gawking tourists, and necking couples. The pier, at the intersection of the ship channel and the ocean, offers the best sunset spectacular on the East Coast, but go on a Friday or Saturday for the human-cannonball show.

Next: Miami Real Estate

miami real estate

Done in the Sun?
The Miami market is mirroring New York’s: a mad condo boom that may be at its peak.
By S. Jhoanna Robledo

Photo: Courtesy of Epic Residences and Hotel

Hang out at JFK on any given Friday, and you’ll likely run into Ron Shuffield’s clients. Shuffield is the president of the Miami firm Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors, and every weekend, he sees dozens of New Yorkers jetting south to house-hunt. He’s even willing to make a perilous declaration: “Miami,” Shuffield says flat-out, “is the sixth borough.”

Well, maybe. But it does have one thing in common with New York: It’s packed with new condos, many sold from floor plans, and buyers are wondering if it’s overbuilt. According to the Miami Herald, the average time to sell a single-family home in Broward County has, in the past six months, jumped from 34 days to 53. The financial-information company Global Insight recently ranked West Palm Beach and Miami 16th and 21st on a list of most overvalued U.S. housing markets (New York placed 76th; Naples, Florida, was first). At a roundtable for Haute Living, a local real-estate magazine, realty executives wouldn’t admit to gloom (do they ever?) but conceded a leveling-off. “It’s not a bubble bursting, it’s normalizing,” says Veronica Cervera of Cervera Real Estate, who notes that last week she sold six apartments at megadeveloper Ugo Colombo’s buzzed-about Epic Residences.

Either way, New York money is still flowing in. Christopher Mathieson, who worked in South Florida before opening JC DeNiro here, has partnered with Miami’s Carson Realty; Corcoran, too, has set up four branches there. And developers, Shuffield says, have been tailoring projects to attract New Yorkers. The MET3 condos will sit atop a mall with a Whole Foods in the basement—it’s a mini Time Warner Center, plus palm trees. The Capital Brickell on Brickell Avenue, which brokers call the “Park Avenue of South Florida,” is supposed to evoke the Empire State and Chrysler buildings. Parts of the city are calling themselves “Midtown” and “the Upper East Side.”

What’s the attraction? “As trite as it may sound, the weather,” says Shuffield; that, and a diversity and cosmopolitan quality that’s comfortingly familiar. Plus it’s a quick flight—barely longer than the drive to the Hamptons, if pricier. It also helps that the Miami market moves fast. Cervera says she recently looked at one-bedrooms in New York for her son, an NYU freshman, and everything she liked was a co-op. “They’re so complicated!” she says. “I have a 900-square-foot brand-new condo listed for $470,000. In New York, that would cost me $1.2 million. And I’d have to pass a co-op board.”

Next: Where the Stars Live

Sun Spotting
Where do celebrities live while they’re soaking up the Florida rays?

Go figure: South Beach is the only place in the United States where you can buy new Brazilian diet drug Emagrece Thin. Get it before the FDA does—from the factory, at 3337 Northwest 74th Avenue, near the Miami airport—and pop at your own risk.

Famous for heaping plates of fried shrimp, Jumbo’s Restaurant (7501 N.W. Seventh Ave.; 305-751-1127) has been the soul of Liberty City for half a century. It’s open 24 hours a day, and there’s no scene and no pretense—and for $9 you can feast on the Wing-Ding Deal: fried chicken, onion rings, mac ’n’ cheese, and buttery collard greens. Wash it all down with a perfect sweet tea, and be sure to wear your one-piece to the beach the next day.