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Waldorf Towers South Beach MiamiIf you’re looking to head south for the holiday season, nothing can beat the sandy allure of Miami’s South Beach – or 33 percent off rooms right on Ocean Drive. To fete the opening of its latest boutique offering, the Waldorf Towers (www.room-matehotels.com), the gay-founded, funky Spanish chain Room Mate Hotels is offering a slightly watered-down expansion on its amazing opening offer deal, with still highly attractive starting rates of just $169 available throughout December, a sweet 33 percent discount off the average rates of $250 nightly that kick in come 2012. Plus, if you book quickly, we even spied some midweek rates on standard rooms from just $117! Talk about something to be thankful for.

Colorful and contemporary with a sexy tongue-in-cheek attitude (the booking engine coyly asks as it loads, “Do you want to sleep with me?”), the 44 rooms feature wood floors and modern design elements with a retro edge. Contrasting black and whites and polished chrome nod to the hotel’s place in Miami Beach’s Art Deco District, while a sense of style and fun pulls in a generally hip, younger set looking for a good time. An easy task considering Miami’s latest offerings:


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EAT: Andrew Carmellini’s on-point, insanely buzz-worthy The Dutch opens a second location in the W South Beach, replacing the Mediterranean-inspired Solea. Dishing up “roots-inspired American cuisine” (in the NYC original, that meant rabbit pot pies and Yukon hash) along with an oyster bar in a social club-by-the-seashore ambiance, the celeb chef riffs off the area’s Latin influence with lobster in a spicy coconut sauce, a Florida avocado and orange salad, aged steaks, and pies for dessert. Make your reservations well in advance. www.thedutchmiami.com


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PARTY: For the first time, Miami’s NYE celebrations will be telecast live along with the world’s other main cities, in no small part due to the Orange Drive Miami Beach Music Festival (December 30 through January 1). Expecting over 100,000 visitors, a lavish state-of-the-art amphitheater will be constructed on the sand between 7th and 9th streets on Ocean Drive (directly outside The Waldorf and just three blocks south of the gay beach), with an A-list lineup including Cee Lo Green, Ne-Yo, Boyz II Men, and Pete Wentz. www.orangedr.com

SEE: The Miami Museum of Contemporary Art (or, MOCA – it turns 15 on February 25, 2012) boasts some of the coolest art exhibits in the region, like those of sculptor Mark Handforth, the first Miami artist to be granted a solo show back in 1996. In Rolling Stop, over 30 giant works, like a crying neon moon and a major new light installation, will be on view from November 30 through February 19. In conjunction, the Pivot Points series takes on artist Teresita Fernandez’s Untitled (Pool) and explores the museum’s role in providing an outlet for turning points both in the artist’s career and the broader contemporary arts movement. www.mocanomi.org

For general travel info check out our Miami Travel Guide, and to book a room at The Waldorf Towers, visit Room-MateHotels.com. Use our Travel Search tool to find the best deals on flights and rental cars, as well.

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