I sometimes miss those days, but over a series of recent visits, I fell for South Beach all over again. My favorite places to stay now include The Hotel, a small upscale property with a fabulous rooftop pool and a superb restaurant (from $335/night). I also like The Tides, which has large, comfy rooms and awesome beach views (from $595/night). The Standard, located on the bay side, has a nice pool and offers excellent value (from $250/night).
South Beachs restaurant scene now includes many fine notables, but its still easy to overpay for mediocre food. Some favorites are Casa Tua, a chic Italian spot set in a converted mansion with a lovely outdoor terrace (305/673-1010), China Grill, which is noisy but has sumptuous pan-Asian dishes (305/534-2211), and Joes Stone Crab, which serves top-notch seafood (800/780-CRAB).
Years ago, cultural offerings in Miami were limited, but now a visitor would be remiss to skip a night at the Performing Arts Center or a day gallery-hopping in the Miami Design District. Shopping in Miami has also come a long waystandout stores include Jonathan Adler (1024 Lincoln Rd.) and NiBa Home (39 NE 39th St.) for interesting housewares, and Barneys CO-OP (832 Collins Ave.) for chic clothing.
Theres a common misconception that Florida is always warm, but Ive spent more than a few New Years Eves in South Beach searching for a sweater and a rain jacket. The best time to visit, in my opinion, is February through April, when temperatures remain consistently warm. For those seeking value, try a shoulder-season visit after May 1.
From the Spring 2008 issue of Sherman’s Travel magazine.