Miami: Top Attractions
|Miami Beach: Where the beautiful people play and stay (courtesy, GMCVB)|
This 1926 National Historic Landmark in Coral Gables, built in an opulent Mediterranean style and crowned by a glorious 300-foot copper tower, is the inn of a bygone era. The Biltmore offers luxury rooms, an 18-hole golf course, tennis facilities, a full-service spa, and the largest hotel pool in the country. A former Veterans Administration hospital, the property is worth visiting for a Sunday tour, which allows visitors to roam the historic hallways and lovely grounds.
Doral Golf Resort and Spa
Doral is home to the PGA Championship and is a golfer's dream come true. The resort boasts five courses including the spectacular Blue Heaven, whose 18th hole rated as one of the top golf holes in the world. The Great White "desert-scape" course features tightly packed coquina sand, while the Silver Course has narrow fairways and 16 holes that play to water. Spouses of golf lovers who don't share the attraction can find solace in the Spa at Doral.
Doral Golf Resort and Spa: 305.592.2000, www.doralgolf.com
The frenzy over Ian Schrager's original hot spot may have settled down a bit, but this is still the place to be in South Beach. Doormen dressed in white usher you into the cavernous lobby, draped with billowing scrims and lounging model types. From there the stylish wonders never ceasefrom sleek rooms and a massive, cabana-rimmed pool to the French-fusion Blue Door restaurant and tranquil Agua Spa. Decadence rules in every corner.
Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts
This 1951 Art Deco theater is Miami Beach's premier showcase for touring Broadway shows, orchestras, dance companies, and other big musical productions. Its 2,700 seats and excellent acoustics draw all sorts of arts fans, and help explain why Jackie Gleason chose to make the theater home base for his long-running 1960s television show. Choose from an eclectic lineup of showsLenny Kravitz or Albita one night, the Dutch Philharmonic or Swan Lake the next.
Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts: 305.673.7300, www.gleasontheater.com
Fisher Island Hotel and Resort
The 216-acre Fisher Island is an exclusive private community. So how can you get a glimpse? Book a luxe suite or villa at this Vanderbilt-era resort, where you'll find airy Caribbean style rooms with four-poster beds, waterside balconies, and private hot tubs. Head outdoors for the resort's championship nine-hole golf course, a grand-slam tennis facility (with grass, clay, and hard courts), and the super-deluxe Spa Internazionale.
Four Seasons Miami
A recent addition to the sparkling Downtown Miami skyline, this 70-story high-rise is a classy choice. Located on swank Brickell Avenue, the tower boasts luxe rooms overlooking Biscayne Bay, marble common areas showcasing curvaceous Botero sculptures, a massive spa, and a range of onsite eateries. Its seventh-floor pool area, with bay views, is escapism at its best, and the adjoining terrace bar, Bahia, is hip enough to draw a South Beach crowd for salsa dancing and mojitos.
Grove Isle Club and Resort
This stunning getaway reigns over its own private island just off the coast of Coconut Grove. Head out here for colonial elegance, tropical gardens, and endless sunset views. The large, airy rooms are well appointed with terracotta floors, bright woven carpets, wicker furniture, and four-poster beds. Baleen, a posh restaurant with a focus on super-fresh seafood, and the dreamlike Spa Terre, a brand-new Indonesian-style spa with a slew of relaxation treatments, satisfy every other need.
Miami's priciest beds are made at the Setai, a new luxury high-rise perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Decadent perks include massive quarters with to-die-for views and a superb Asia-meets-Deco style; extras include Dux beds and personal iPods. The grounds are home to three oceanfront pools and teak cabanas, a variety of onsite dining options (including a caviar bar), and a gem of a spa that offers treats like body wraps and foot massages.
Coconut Grove Playhouse
Catch "Broadway by the bay" at this wonderful state-owned theater, which has anchored the Grove since 1956. Built as a glamorous movie theater, the theater-turned-playhouse gained fame the moment it switched to live drama by premiering Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. The main stage, with 1,100 seats, presents highly regarded productions by both local and international playwrights. Head to the smaller Encore Room for cabaret that's performed in the round.
Coconut Grove Playhouse: 305.442.4000, www.cgplayhouse.com
New World Symphony
The much-heralded New World Symphony turns out an astounding number of inspired performancesfrom Mozart and Nielsen to 20th-century jazz and tangoat South Beach's Lincoln Theatre. Founded in 1987, the symphony serves as a preparatory program for very talented musicians who have already graduated from prestigious music schools. It's led by artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas, who still conducts performances 12 weeks a year, despite his national fame.
New World Symphony: 305.673.3331, www.nws.org
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication