1. Where to Stay
The Viceroy Miami just opened in February and is still offering an introductory rate of $199 a night. Kelly Wearstler’s iconic Hollywood Regency style graces the turquoise hotel rooms, the restaurant, and 50th-floor rooftop pool and lounge, while Philippe Starck conjures up more fantastical touches (chairs in the pool, oversize glass fireplaces, and human-size chess sets) at the infinity pool and spa–yoga studio.
The cheap and chic Riviera South Beach opened last December just off Collins Avenue and is discounting rooms 50 percent off the rack rates. The Art Deco hotel pays homage to Dorothy Draper with oversized two-room suites, including cowhide rugs, full kitchens, king-size beds, and ivory-leather queen sleeper sofas. The rate also includes an airport shuttle, beach access and chair service, poolside breakfast, and cocktail hour from 7 to 8 p.m.
Miami’s flamboyant Fontainebleau re-opened late last year after a billion-dollar redux (chandeliers crafted by Beijing artist Ai Weiwei, collages by Rauschenberg), but enjoy the Dubai-like excess from an ocean-view room starting at $237 if you pay in advance (get a balcony for an extra $50).
2. Where to Eat
Fratelli Lyon shares space with Italian houseware designer Driade and also imports “apertivo,” a Roman happy-hour concept. On Thursday from 5 to 7:30 p.m., eat free apps like chicken-liver bruschetta and D.O.P. cheeses, along with $5 prosecco and $15 flights of Italian wine.
Michele Bernstein (of Michy’s fame) is one of the city’s local food heroes, and she opened Sra. Martinez (4000 NE Second Ave; 305-573-5474) in an old Design District post office last December. Stop in during lunch to eat her Basque tapas for less.
3. What to Do
Miami has its share of overhyped monthly art walks and regional festivals, but the Design District’s Second Saturdays (Second Saturday of the month; 7 to 10 p.m.) is the best way to glimpse the area’s still-emerging creative talent — and to score free booze. The artsy epicenter is along Wynwood’s Second Avenue between 21st and 23rd, where vanguard galleries like Artformz Alternative, Harold Golen, Locust Projects, and PanAmerican Art Projects cluster. Further up Second, you can check out over 60 artists who create and exhibit at Bakehouse Art Complex.
Miami has embraced outdoor yoga and encourages participation with free classes. Visit Kennedy Park in Coconut Grove at 9:30 a.m. on Saturdays, where certified instructors teach under the Australian pines. A gratis class at Bayfront Park starts at 9 a.m. on Saturdays. After your chakras are balanced, glide a few blocks south to the hallowed Miami Circle, ancient pre-Colombian celestial-architecture ruins discovered during a condo dig and now preserved by the city.
Everglades National Park, the continent’s largest wetland, is full of terrifying creatures like Burmese pythons, alligators, and Florida panthers. As you drive 35 miles southeast of Miami, prep yourself with a free podcast tour of the park. Admission is only $10 per carload.
4. Insider’s Tip
Not to be outdone by the flash of new hotels, Miami’s Deco classics are deep-discounting rates. Do one search on Kayak or SideStep (the two businesses just merged) to compare rates listed on hundreds of websites. The Hotel, the Standard, the Loft Hotel, the Wave, the Astor, the Kent, the Penguin, the Hotel Ocean, and the Townhouse are offering rooms for as little as $99 to $150 per night.
5. Oddball Day
Since you’ve saved so much cash doing free activities, it’s time to splurge: The Raleigh (from $250) still has the sexiest pool in town, and is now offering a free breakfast package. Eat poolside and watch the sun emerge from the Atlantic, or just ogle the crazy-hot volleyball players. Rent a shiny Baccio at South Beach Scooters ($55 per day) and zip over to News Caféto stock up on European gossip rags for beach reading. The nearby Hotel Victor’s Spa V Happy Hour lasts all day and has twenty-minute express treatments like BlackBerry-addiction wrist massage and high-heel massage therapy for $40. Primped, you’re ready to enjoy recession pricing in one of South Beach’s glossiest restaurants, the Setai. Put your dignity aside and ask for “Bottleshock at the Setai” when you make the reservation — you’ll get a three-course prix fixe dinner for $45 per head and 40 percent off selected wines.
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