Currency is the US dollar. Time is five hours behind GMT. Flight time is approximately ten hours from London. The cost to carbon- offset is £14.62. For more details, visit climatecare.org
American Airlines flies direct to Miami International from London Heathrow on a daily basis. americanairlines.co.uk
Virgin Atlantic also serves Miami each day. virginatlantic.com
Miami and The Beaches is the go-to for information and inspiration on what’s hot in the city. miamiandbeaches.com
15 Views of Miami (Burrow Press, £13.35) is a literary portrait told in loosely connected stories by a collection of award- winning local authors that reflects the city’s diversity.
It’s no wonder winter-weary visitors descend on this coastal playground – the capital of the ‘Sunshine State’ is blessed with subtropical temperatures that hover in the mid-twenties. America’s youngest city emerged from the swamplands in 1896 and its moniker ‘The Magic City’ speaks to its rapid growth. Today it’s a metropolis that has the brashness of youth, the glamour of progress and a mix of history and multiculturalism. There’s no such thing as OTT here, so don your biggest shades, roll up those sleeves and join revellers who never need an excuse to stay out.
What to do
t would be amiss to visit Miami and only make it as far as the beaches (though this is a highlight of any trip). The city has a thriving cultural scene and the Faena Arts District in Miami Beach is the latest addition. It’s a rabbit warren that includes an art centre, hotel, retail bazaar and park. Close by, SoBe (South Beach to you and I) is a mid-century holiday resort in its own right – a place where the hedonism of flash boutiques and even flashier cars clash with swaying palms and beach cafés. With more than 800 pastel-coloured art deco buildings in the area, it’s a design- lover’s heaven and the Wolfsonian-FIU museum wolfsonian.org will put the trend into context for you. Afterwards, visit the Lincoln Road Sunday farmers’ market, a great place to sample local produce. Another district on the up is Wynwood, which is currently seeing an epicurean renaissance but is best known for its street art installations that cover every Pantone colour and give east London a run for its money. Stop in at Dr Smood drsmood.com for a cold-pressed juice then follow it up with a tour of Little Havana – a must for its history, cigars and faded Latin American charm.
Where to stay
This city does hotels with serious pizzazz. There’s no shortage of unique places in SoBe and most offer direct beach access. Our favourite is neo-baroque jet-setter Nautilus sixtyhotels.com with its huge saltwater pool. To stay at The Raleigh raleighhotel.com is to be transported into a Polaroid. Open since 1940, the unpretentious deco darling has all the retro allure of a Fifties seaside vacation. Party-goers should head a block south and give SLS South Beach slshotels.com a go. Philippe Starck is behind its contemporary interiors which are inspired by Louis XV’s mistress Madame de Pompadour. Its Hyde Beach club is the place to brush shoulders with the beautiful people and dance until dawn with live DJ sets. On Ocean Drive, low-key landmark The Betsy – South Beach thebetsyhotel.com is on the cusp of a relaunch that will see a new wing and rooftop pool. Expect the colonial grace of the American South and smashing views.
Where to eat and drink
A two-day Go Miami Card can be downloaded direct to your phone and offers free admission to more than 25 top attractions such as a Biscayne Bay boat cruise or bike rental on Miami Beach and South Beach. smartdestinations.com
From fine dining restaurants to the food trucks of Tropical Park, fusion food is a big deal here and is where Miami’s ethnic diversity shines. Start with a Cubano sandwich. You’ll find them in varying guises, from ham, smoked roast pork, cheese, pickles and mustard on a toasted baguette to variations that include rillettes, croquetas and spiked mustards. Try one at Isla Carnarias islascanariasrestaurant.com in Little Havana. Phuc Yea phucyea.com on the Upper East Side is a Vietnamese- Cajun joint where the food is homely, well-presented and packs a punch. Order wok-fried Cajun gulf shrimp and Caja China cola duck (the hoisin is made with Coca-Cola). Michael’s Genuine Food & Drinks michaelsgenuine.com is a stalwart of the Design District. Locally sourced ingredients are key and the menu has Asian and Middle Eastern accents: think braised rabbit with saffron, olives and apricot and stone crab with green sambal. For sundowners, be sure to hit The Deck at Island Gardens islandgardens.com where the decadence of Ibiza meets the US.
Time running out?
Escape the swell of glistening beach bods and pumping bass and head to Maximo Gomez Park where you can join the domino-playing, Puros-smoking locals in some R&R.
Average daily temperatures and rainfall
This article was published on 13th March 2017 so certain details may not be up to date.