Miami inexplicably lives up to its reputation as a playground for the rich and famous. But even if your circle of friends is not in the same stratosphere as celebrities and CEOs, with a little planning, the Magic City is ideal for the once-in-a-lifetime indulgent trip for a milestone birthday, anniversary, girlfriend get-a-way or any special celebration.
They say first impressions are the most important and arriving at the Mondrian hotel on the west side of Miami Beach speaks to the city's namesake with a magical theme. Upon cruising up to the entrance of the hotel, you are ushered through a posh entryway adorned with whimsical, giant accent pieces reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. From the mammoth golden bells in the porte-cochere to the oversized pillars and floating, filigree staircase in the lobby, it is no "wonder" that the brainchild behind this magical world is Marcel Wanders.
While you may ask why select this hotel on the bayside instead of beachside, do not fret. The width of the island is as narrow as the waist of a pin up poster girl. You can easily traverse west to east to join the teeming minions. The hotel pool, however, sizzles with tanned and toned bodies draped across plush lounge chairs. There's even an adult sandbox if you are craving the sand in between your toes. The Mondrian, however, boasts a sunset Mecca. The infinity-edge pool and ornate labyrinth garden with the view of the downtown skyline frame the sunset like a Salvador Dali painting.
Be sure to schedule an appointment at their Agua Spa and indulge in exquisite services like the Milk and Honey treatment. It will leave you languidly useless or deliciously invigorated which only means, it's time to seize the moment and seal a romantic deal. Meander through the mazelike garden to find one of the “kissing corners.”
As you prepare for the evening, should you have forgotten to pack a toiletry or any travel essential, head downstairs to the lobby's retail vending machine. Here you can select from items such as toothpaste, a bathing suit, even a diamond necklace. Don't want to downgrade to riding a taxi or limo to dinner? Select the button for a Rolls Royce! No your vision is not blurry. It's just the stars dancing in your eyes.
For dinner, head up the street to Lincoln Road more known for its iconic garages than the ground level string of restaurants. Not only are tours conducted about these garages but the most popular restaurant is housed on the rooftop of 1111 Lincoln Road. Juvia is the penthouse eatery you access through a private elevator and are greeted by sweeping views of Miami Beach and anchored by a lush, Amazonian-inspired plant wall.
The seduction begins with their signature cocktail the Purple Rain, a combination of Vodka and purple Peruvian corn, hence the purple theme throughout the establishment.
The menu is like a revolving door so if you recommend a dish, urge your friends to fly over in the private jet pronto. Juvia offers a trinity of French, Japanese and Peruvian dishes. They range from pork confit or feather light foie gras to the equally enticing iceberg lettuce topped with pancetta, figs, gorgonzola cheese, and flaky lobster salad. Leave room for dessert, plenty of dancing awaits to burn it off.
One place that has thought of everything is LIV nightclub in the newly renovated Fountainbleau hotel. True to the hotel theme, LIV is a Las Vegas fantasy type nightclub from the LED mix light domed ceiling to the designer sofas to award winning sound equipment. It features two floors, three bars, an endless dance floor, and a mesmerizing lighting system. But wait there's more! Two twin winding staircases light up like the Hollywood Kodak Theater on Oscar night. Sensual stage dancers, VIP boxes and service, and top rated DJs elevate the experience for the most sophisticated of nightclub lovers. Oh yes, celebrities and athletes, most recently, the Miami Heat can be seen living it up at LIV.
So on your next day, after sleeping in from a possible hangover, we suggest getting more intoxicated. Not the liquor way but the garage kind. Yes you're returning to old stomping ground--Lincoln Road.
No high-end trip is complete without shopping and Alchemist is not only the most visually-appealing retail space, you'll also find edgy, apocalyptic clothing worthy of any rock star. Floating above the futuristic garage designed by Herzog and de Meuron, the 1,800 square foot glass cube has 22 foot ceilings and walls that are either glass or mirrored (there’s not a bit of drywall in sight). The view at night is that of a pulsating modern spaceship. If you want to shop til you drop, Lincoln Road is dotted with chain stores and specialty boutiques from clothing to home decor.
Ready to unwind? Return to your first love, the Mondrian to the crimson-colored Sunset Lounge and order that hard-earned drink and bid adieu to the last sunset. But alas, the whole night awaits you. Clubs close at dawn. Plenty of time to shower, change and make that flight. Sleeping on a plane never felt so good. You’ll awaken wondering if the trip was real or just a dream.
By Contributor Writer, Christine Michaels