What’s hot in Miami

There’s a million reasons why the Sunshine City attracts the masses each year

Famous for its iconic pastel-hued art deco buildings, miles of white-sand beaches and balmy tropical climate, Miami is an evergreen gem. Bursting with vibrancy and full of life, the eclectic Florida city ticks a lot of boxes.

Not only is it perfect for party people, fantastic for foodies and fun for families but it’s equally a haven for those seeking respite and relaxation by the coast. Somehow, this sprawling city manages to be all things to all people. Here, Aspire details what’s hot in the Magic City.

Why sell it?

Epic beaches? Check. Impressive food scene? Check. Aesthetically pleasing architecture? Check. Outstanding accommodation? Check, countless times over!

Throw in great shopping options, year-round sunshine and plenty of outdoor activities and you’re still only scratching the surface of this fun-filled city. All of this and more makes Miami a relatively easy sell.

It’s also the cruise capital of the world, with more than 6.8 million passengers travelling through PortMiami in 2019. Clients embarking or disembarking in Miami, or nearby Port Everglades, should definitely add on some time to explore this sense-stimulating city.

What’s new?

Hilton’s Curio Collection opened a new hotel called The Gabriel on South Beach last year, with 132 rooms and 26 suites. The adult-only Hotel Greystone on Miami Beach also opened its doors at the end of last year with a rooftop pool, beach club and impressive wellness offering.

Also new on Miami Beach is a new spa from hotel brand The Standard, together with an expanded food offering at the property. On the dining front there are hordes of new options.

They include a new outpost of Sexy Fish; funky Jattö, which brings together flavours from Peru, Colombia and Spain, in Wynwood; and the Regent Cocktail Club, a speakeasy-style venue on South Beach. Fashionistas will feel at home in Miami.

Louis Vuitton opened its first dedicated men’s store in the US at the end of last year. Located in the Design District, it is the second store of its kind after opening in the Shibuya district of Tokyo in 2020. Chanel also opened in the Miami Design District in December 2021.

When to go

The beauty of Miami is its year-round allure, with sunshine almost a guarantee regardless of when you visit. Temperatures can be sky-high in the summer months, so clients wanting more bearable conditions should travel between November and May when the weather is warm and pleasant.

I’d recommend avoiding the week of spring break, which falls in March or April, and sees thousands of students descend on the city to party around the clock.

Where to stay

From the trendy skyscraper hotels of Downtown to the art deco-inspired low-rises of South Beach and Miami Beach, the choice for affluent travellers is vast.

Whether your client is at home in a bustling urban setting or prefers to be close enough to the beach to hear the waves lapping, there’s something for every bank balance.

Several big luxury brands have a presence here, with Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, St Regis, The Ritz-Carlton, W and Edition all to be found along the coastline. Miami-based brand Faena Hotel Miami Beach is worth recommending, as is The Setai, a favourite of megastars.

The Fountainbleu is one of the city’s best-known properties and recently underwent a refurb. My favourites are the art deco-inspired and pared-back luxury property The Betsy South Beach and the trendy East, Miami in the up-and-coming Brickell district.

For clients who want to be a little removed from the frenetic heart of Miami, recommend Acqualina Resort on Sunny Isles Beach.

What to do

Visiting the beach will be top of the list for most visitors to Miami – after all, the city offers more than 20 miles of Atlantic coastline. Sandy strips stretch from Homestead to Sunny Isles Beach, with warm turquoise waters lapping the coast.

The most iconic is South Beach which sits at the southern tip of the barrier island of Miami Beach. It’s known for its brightly coloured lifeguard stands and the art deco architecture lining the iconic Ocean Drive.

Surfside Beach is pristine, while farther north lies the very swanky, high-end neighbourhood of Bal Harbour, home to a St Regis, among other luxury hotels. Miami’s nature offering is often overlooked but attractions such as Oleta River State Park and Crandon Park provide plenty of opportunities for kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding.

Biscayne National Park is home to the Florida Reef, the only living coral barrier reef in the US, and is well worth a visit. Those with ample time should also head to nearby Everglades National Park.

What to see

Miami is a melting pot of cultures, with countless worldwide communities setting up home in this ever-evolving city. As a result, there’s plenty to see and do here, and much of that involves embracing people from all walks of life who have helped to make this city so diverse.

Little Havana is one of the best-known neighbourhoods. Centred around Calle Ocho (Southwest Eighth Street), the area is brimming with Cuban bakeries, cigar shops, rum bars, art galleries and live music venues. There’s plenty of street art, plus huge murals paying homage to Cuban legends.

A must-see for all visitors is the Wynwood Arts District, home to a kaleidoscope of street art displayed in the popular Wynwood Walls outdoor museum but also spilling out on to the surrounding streets for all to see.

This area is home to some trendy boutique shops and some brilliant dining options including one of my favourites, La Sandwicherie, which has outposts across the city.

The Downtown district of Brickell City Centre has seen a lot of investment in recent years and has transformed into a hub for shopping and funky hotels including SLS Brickell, owned by Ennismore (the company behind Hoxton Hotels and Accor) and the aforementioned East, Miami, owned by Swire Hotels, primarily known for its Asian properties.

Another area which has seen huge investment is the Miami Design District. This area is abuzz with luxury retailers from Louis Vuitton to Versace and is not to be missed. It’s also home to the Institute of Contemporary Art.


Where to dine

Where to begin? Miami is a foodie’s dream, with an abundance of options to suit all taste buds. Joe’s Stone Crab is an institution and a must for any seafood fans.

Those seeking Cuban food should head to family-owned restaurant Versailles in Little Havana, serving up divine Cuban coffee and the customary Cuban sandwich. Other good Cuban restaurants include Marabu in Brickell, serving up utterly quaffable cocktails alongside traditional dishes.

Adjacent to Marabu you’ll find Est 33, which serves great Thai food but the service is patchy. My favourite Italian in the city is Fratelli La Bufala, Miami’s first Neapolitan pizzeria. Ocean Social at Eden Roc Miami Beach is a great option for those seeking a beach club vibe with great music and divine food.

It gets incredibly busy, so booking is essential. Those wanting to sample all manner of cuisine should head to upscale food hall St Roch Market in the Design District.

Pair it with

Miami is the perfect springboard for further exploration of Florida. The Sunshine State has plenty of options from the pristine beaches of the Keys to the fun-filled theme parks of Orlando.

Florida Keys: Flinging themselves some 120 miles along the Florida Strait, the Keys are home to epic beaches, great scuba and snorkelling spots and one of the US’s most picturesque road trips along the Overseas Highway.

Everglades: One of the largest national parks in the country, the Everglades National Park features a combination of ecosystems that include swamps, subtropical jungles and the largest mangrove complex in the Western Hemisphere.

Orlando: A family paradise, Orlando is home to more theme parks than anywhere else on the planet, with Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld among the countless attractions enticing 51 million visitors a year to the central Florida city

Book it

Elegant Resorts offers five nights at the W South Beach in an Ocean View Studio Suite King from £2,960 per person on a room-only basis including private transfers, economy flights & UK lounge passes. elegantresorts.co.uk

Hollie-Rae Brader

Hollie is editor of Aspire’s print and online products. She is responsible for the running of the club and ensuring the content produced and the events organised are relevant to the Aspire audience. She was previously deputy news editor and cruise writer for sister title Travel Weekly. She loves exploring new destinations and is gradually ticking new countries off her list. She most enjoys writing about cruise, South America and Japan. Before working in the travel industry she held news reporting roles at the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star.

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