The Ultimate Girls’ Weekend Guide to Miami
Looking to up the ante for your next girls’ getaway? Miami has it all: sexy pool parties, over-the-top spas, red-hot nightlife, and some of the best beaches around. Here’s your ultimate weekend guide to the 305.
Chelsea is Brooklyn-based travel writer, editor, and photographer. When not home eating her way through NYC, she's gallivanting across the globe, sailing the coast of Croatia or hiking the peaks of Peru. Her superpowers include booking flight deals and sleeping in small plane seats.
For more of a grown-up South Beach stay, opt for The Betsy— a sophisticated Ocean Drive sleep with a stately Georgian facade and wrap-around porch fit more among the Deep South’s plantations than South Beach’s funky Art Deco dames. The boutique hotel is fresh off a two-year, tip-to-toe renovation and expansion that doubled its guestrooms to 132, added a second pool and 3,200 square feet of space to its rooftop, and transformed the former lobby of the adjacent Carlton hotel into a new wing with a library and two restaurants helmed by celeb chef Laurent Tourondel. During the day, hit the beach or head to the hotel's tranquil courtyard plunge pool and rooftop, where there are plush chaise lounges and nooks for curling up with a cocktail or a book.
Raw food guru Matthew Kenney is back at it again with Plnthouse, an eco-friendly eatery inside the 1 Hotel South Beach. Guests come to the 105-seat café to cool off by sipping healthy happy hour drinks—like the Salutation to Sunrise cocktail with prosecco, blood orange, and hibiscus-dandelion root—on the massive oceanfront deck. Kenney also whips up photogenic fare such as the cauliflower falafel bowl with quinoa and hemp-seed tabbouleh, harissa tahini, sprouted chickpea hummus, and watermelon radish.
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For playful, budget-friendly digs, set your sights on The Confidante. The gorgeous Art Deco landmark channels Miami’s sunny personality, with seafoam-green and tangerine interiors by designer Martin Brudnizki and ocean views at every turn. Catch some sun either at the beach or on the striped cabanas around the two sceney pools, where DJs and live bands play tunes into the night. When hunger strikes, there’s a Southern-style brunch spot, Bird & Bone, (get the sweet potato pancakes and blackberry bourbon iced tea), a speakeasy-inspired cocktail lounge, and a brasserie by celeb chef Michelle Bernstein (order the whole Florida snapper with recado verde and potato puree). But the real pièce de résistance is the retro 1950s-style hair salon—so you and the girls can get makeovers before hitting the town.
Getting the girls together is a cause for celebration, so feel free to splurge a bit for Sunday brunch at Bazaar Mar. This hotspot at the new SLS Brickell is a nautical wonderland, from the Insta-worthy interiors designed by Philippe Starck (picture: tile mermaid murals) to the decadent seafood platters by chef José Andrés. The menu is all about over-the-top indulgence—for $95 a pop (ahem, that’s the minimum), you’ll get free-flowing champagne, caviar, oysters, smoked salmon tartare, and Dungeness Crab benedict. Because screw that bikini bod.
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It wouldn’t be ladies’ night without hitting up some of the city’s buzziest bars. First stop: Sugar. On the 40th floor of the EAST, Miami hotel, this rooftop garden is a showstopper thanks to its killer views of downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay. Plus, the place feels like a tropical oasis, with intimate seating areas surrounded by lush greenery, hanging lanterns, and wooden walkways. On the menu: Asian-inspired dishes such as steamed prawn and scallop dumplings, Korean chicken wings, and coconut pandan leaf crepes with Florida mangoes, best paired with one of their inventive cocktails—the Sesame Sling with gin, mango, key lime and hibiscus is a favorite.
Azabu Miami Beach
Set to open in January 2018, this splashy sushi bar is one Miami's most anticipated restaurants—and for good reason. As the second outpost of Azabu’s Michelin-starred New York flagship, you can expect the same level of culinary talent as the original. Inside, you’ll find an Izakaya-style dining room with an open kitchen, a classic cocktail bar that specializes in sake and whiskey, and—the coolest part—a hidden 11-seat sushi counter called The Den, which serves a traditional omakase menu of seafood flown in from Japan’s fresh fish markets. Standout dishes include: robata-grilled yakitori, udon noodles, and fried rice served tableside on a sizzling toban-yaki plate.
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Miami Beach Soundscape
You can only do so much drinking and partying— mix things up with an outdoor movie at Miami Beach SoundScape. Every Wednesday, a mix of cult classics and recent blockbusters are projected onto the side of a Frank-Gehry designed building that houses the New World Symphony. Picnickers kick back in the grassy park to watch flicks like Casablanca, Dead Poet’s Society, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, La La Land, and more.
Sherwood’s Bistro & Bar
Tucked in a quiet corner of Little Haiti, Sherwood’s is the neighborhood’s most charming newcomer. The bistro blends an eclectic design (antique art, plants, Portuguese tile) with a refreshing do-it-yourself attitude—down to the free self-serve bread bar with olive oil, cheese, and honey butter. Snag a table in the backyard garden, and enjoy an evening under the stars, eating oxtail ragu gnocchi, bone marrow, and Little River ramen with caramelized pork.
Lapis Spa, Fontainebleau
The Fontainebleau’s glitzy 40,000-square-foot Lapis Spa is a palace for pampering. Book a relaxing treatment such as the seagrape body scrub, Ayurveda massage, and ocean hydrobath, then spend the rest of the day in the mineral pools, 35-foot rain tunnel, massage-jet showers, eucalyptus steam baths, and hammam. If you really need to recover from all the action, try the Weekend Warrior’s Rehab, a blissful mix of deep tissue and hot stone massage.
Miami is famous for its high-octane nightclubs, where pretty young things go to booze and bust a move. But Basement isn’t your typical dance hall. Beneath the Ian Schrager-designed Miami Beach Edition, this playful discotech also has a four-lane bowling alley and a 2,000-square-foot ice rink with rainbow-colored lighting courtesy of Patrick Woodroffe, whose work spans from Lady Gaga concerts to the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony. So trade your stilettos for skates and let loose—girl’s just want to have fun, after all.
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