Come January and February in many places around the country, the very phrases “quick getaway” and “somewhere warm” can provoke a range of emotions, from wistfulness to panic. And that’s where Miami comes in.
In theory, it’s nearly perfect: relatively inexpensive, with direct flights from many U.S. cities; fabulous weather; warm water; great hotels; and good food. Despite these on-paper credentials, however, the default South Beach experience can fall short. Unless you pick the rare winter weekend when there isn’t a DJ festival or some large-scale event (or you can sneak away mid-week), the promise of a relaxing, rejuvenating getaway is supplanted by the reality of thumping bass and poolside mayhem. But not to worry: We have easy South Florida alternatives that will see you to spring—no matter what kind of warm-weather getaway you’re craving.
1. You want: a great hotel and a little scene…
Head to: Mid-Beach, Miami
When Soho Beach House opened in Mid-Beach in 2010, it seemed much too far away from the buzz of South Beach, some 20 blocks away. But a handful of new hotels have confirmed the rising status of the area, a quieter, chicer stretch of impossibly white sand that runs from 23rd to 63rd Streets. Three new properties opened last year: the Como by Metropolitan (the perfect mix of modernity and retro charm); the Thompson Miami Beach (an art deco skyscraper with interiors by Martin Brudnizki); and the Miami Beach EDITION (Ian Schrager’s much-anticipated return to Miami and a stamp of approval for the area).
2. You want: old-school Florida glamour with a hint of over-the-top…
Head to: Palm Beach
You may not be going there in search of the new, but as it turns out, there is in fact news in Palm Beach. The Eau Resort & Spa reopened after a renovation last December, and, although it still feels like a throwback beachside estate, it has a distinctly fresher look.
Designer Jonathan Adler, who re-mastered the 309 plush-but-playful rooms, is a part-time Palm Beach resident himself, and along with plenty of beachside lounging, he recommends a good dose of people watching from a banquette in the barroom at Chez Jean-Pierre, a French bistro frequented by ladies who lunch in pink and green, as well as visiting the vintage and antique stores like Dolce and Objects in the Loft along the South Dixie Highway.
3. You want: ultra low key and easy…
Head to: North Beach Village, Fort Lauderdale
If you could take a time machine back to the late 1980s in Miami’s South Beach, you would find a low-rise beach resort community that looks a lot like North Beach Village. This 18-block area of hotels and apartment buildings in the northern part of Ft. Lauderdale—a quick 20-minute drive from the airport—is blessed with a prime location (just a few blocks from the ocean), idiosyncratically mod architecture (Fifties deco, if you can imagine that), and an extensive bike share program (no cars required here).
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