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August 18, 2008

The New Miami Heat

Joe's Stone Crabs
 A bibbed side of South Beach:
Our crew in action at Joe's Stone Crabs.

by Ondine Cohane

I love Miami. My husband, my best friends, Sarah and Hugo, and I take a ritual weekend there each December to celebrate Sarah's birthday. We always go after Art Basel (before the holiday frenzy, mind you, so the city feels more chill and less overrun by fellow New Yorkers) and try to combine our classic haunts like Joe's Stone Crab with new arrivals. Last year we checked out The Tides on Ocean Drive, which stood out for its service (and in my experience, service can be less than stellar in South Beach) and the on-site restaurant La Marea, with its excellent fish dishes; in fact, the property made our annual Hot List.

I keep thinking that the hotel building boom will slow down--it seems like there are more properties than could possibly be needed--but every year I am proven wrong. Which means that the city just keeps getting that much more popular with currency-happy Europeans, sun-starved East Coasters, and South Americans looking for a real estate deal. This year there is yet another generation of properties opening its doors, and it sounds worth the trip.

Perhaps the most anticipated is The Mondrian, designed by Marcel Wanders and conceived as "Sleeping Beauty's Castle," which translates (according to the press release) as "chandelier shower heads, adult-size sandboxes, foliage-curtained cabanas, kissing gardens, and outdoor egg-shaped baths." Not to mention "appearances by the 'dancing angel,' suspended Cirque-du-Soleil-style above the pool's Happy Hour Chandelier." So Miami. The property is on West Street; I don't know the bay side of the city as well, so it will be interesting to explore. Other properties on my radar for this season include the Canyon Ranch outpost set to open in October, The Betsy, a new boutique hotel on Ocean, and the newly renovated Fontainebleau. I'll keep you posted on my findings.


I have lived in Miami for the last 5 years, and most recently I lived on South Beach. I would drive by the construction of the Mondrian every day, and I concur, I can't wait to see the finally product. In my opinion, the bay side is better than a hotel on the ocean. Although a hotel on the sand has a great view of the ocean, the hotels on the bay side have absolutely stunning views of Palm & Star Islands, Biscayne Bay and of downtown Miami.

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