Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Welcome to Miami

This was my first trip to Miami. It's a place I've always wanted to visit particularly for it's large concentration of Art Deco buildings (which I love) and tropical climate. A perfect getaway from the cold and dark of the European winter and also a chance to relax and get some much needed sun.
We stayed at The Anglers Resort South Beach for the first three days - an area full of boutique hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. Having said that, this particular hotel was set back a little from the main drag and was relatively quiet and secluded but still close enough to walk to the beach, shops and nightlife. I would definitely recommend it and would go back there again. There's lots to see and do if you like architecture, performing arts, museums, eating, people watching, shopping etc etc ..the list is endless.

Miami lifeguard huts
One thing I noticed and appealed to me was the life guard huts situated all along the vast beach front. Each one is a different design and colour and originated from an artistic project in 1992 in which some major artists participated. I think I photographed the majority of them on my walks along the beach! On further investigation this is what I discovered.

The Beach Hut Miami Beach and South Beach huts are so iconic that their design is now studied in major architectural schools. There are 29 Beach Hut Miami Beach and South Beach huts in Miami and 16 of them are located in South Beach. They have various designs and colors from the look of a lighthouse to patriotically-painted red, white and blue to a hippy style with large flowers painted on it. Some even have extraterrestrial influences. These should be on your list of must-see attractions during your stay in Miami.

We moved to the Fountainebleau hotel for the next four days to meet with friends for the Art Basel Exhibition (more on this in the next post). It is one of the most historically and architecturally significant hotels on Miami Beach. Opened in 1954 and designed by Morris Lapidus it was arguably the most luxurious hotel on Miami Beach. It has featured in many movies and tv series and was frequented by the likes of Frank Sinatra. In complete contrast to the Anglers and the South Beach vibe, this is a 1500+ room resort with twelve restaurants and bars (including Hakkasan and Scarpetta) on a scale which reminded me of resorts in Las Vegas. The patrons are hip and trendy and there is a constant buzz - a party like atmosphere - great if you like that sort of thing. Although it was run in the manner you would expect of such an establishment, I much preferred the personal touch of the Anglers. A party I can find anytime, anywhere!!

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