Hottest Party Destinations: Miami South Beach

MIAMI

One of the World’s best places to party, Miami is renowned for being a rich playground of entertainment with hundreds of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and luxury hotels all set within a background of white sand beaches, crystal clear water and colourful art-deco buildings. It’s described as being sexy, hot, fun and glamorous with a diverse mix of Latin Americans with the majority being Cuban. It’s a sure fire magnet for all kinds of celebrities who come to relax, party or perform in the multitude of clubs and venues. With a laid back and glamorous attitude it’s easy to see why people fall in love with Miami, its people and it’s vibrant lifestyle.

Where to stay:

When looking for hotels, you want to try to stay in South Beach as that’s where you’ll find the infamous Ocean Drive, Lincoln Road open air mall and of course the iconic main strip which has plenty of bars, restaurants and nightclubs to keep you entertained.

We stayed in the Bentley Hotel, a lovely boutique hotel which was right on the strip. It was also value for money as hotels in Miami aren’t cheap. They are either deluxe and very expensive or simple and minimalistic but still pricey, so the Bentley Hotel was good for the price and location.

Hotel

Bentley Hotel – 4 Star Hotel
Address: 510 Ocean Drive. Miami Beach FL 33139, United States
Room Type: Studio with Free Wi-Fi
Duration: 5 nights
Website: http://thebentleyhotel.com/

Hotel Review:

The hotel had a lovely large contemporary room with a microwave/kitchenette area. It was simplistically designed but modern, comfortable and ideal for our stay in Miami as we weren’t expecting to relax much in the hotel. I would recommend staying here for the price, quality, comfort and location. In terms of facilities, the hotel has a pool on the roof and offers room service from a little bistro attached to the hotel which also serves a small continental breakfast – although we preferred to make use of the restaurants around us for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Things to see and do:

South Beach

Visit the world famous South Beach and you’ll see what all the fuss is about!

The beach is beautiful soft white sand and so so clean – there isn’t any rocks, seaweed or rubbish to spoil the view so you call tell the city of Miami cares about its beaches. The water is lovely and clear blue and it’s calm-ish so you can easily swim or wade in its warm water. This beach is renowned for beautiful people and beautiful bodies but don’t let that intimidate you as Miami is also all about expressing who you are, being confidant and free. So don’t worry if you’re “bikini body ready” or not just bring your bikini and body to the beach and you’re good to go! 🙂 However if you want to work out, like to work out for special moments in your life, or are a fitness freak then Miami is the place to show off your hard work.

We rented sun loungers with umbrellas for $25 – check with your hotel as they may have a section of the beach reserved with their sun loungers for their guests. It’s a necessity on the beach as the sun beats down and you’ll appreciate a spot where you can relax, swim, read, sleep, eat, drink and people watch without getting sunburnt or getting delirious with heat stroke.

You can also order food and drink from assistants that provide the sun-loungers so you don’t need to move from the beach if you don’t want to. But if you do want a break from the beach and heat than right opposite the beach is the main strip where they have an array of choices to eat and drink.

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The Strip

There’s always a party happening day or night on the strip with music playing from restaurants and bars with open air seating. Look out for the gigantic fish bowl cocktails. We ordered a large thinking we’d get a double normal size cocktail but what arrived was bigger than my head! It explains why everyone’s always happy and up for a party. There’s plenty of choice when it comes to food, we usually  just walked along the strip and sat down at the places we felt liked and were never disappointed. Even though it was busy we never had to wait for a table.

The strip is fun for chilling anytime of the day. It has it’s own vibe and feels like a venue in its own right. People watchers tend to sit in the open air restaurants and bars, or out on the grass verges and stone walls lining the beach, watching the  convey convertibles, luxury cars and low-riders driving by. You can also watch the fitness freaks working out , pumping iron or performing calisthenics to an appreciative crowd.

While there’s plenty of free entertainment, be prepared to have to spend money while visiting Miami. It’s an expensive city in terms of general food, drink and entertainment. Cabs are metered but also expensive and as some of the venues are dotted around South Beach and Downtown Miami, you could end up spending $50-$60 per go, getting around.

So you’re going to have to splash that cash in order to truly experience the best that Miami has to offer, so do yourself a favour and save some dollars before you go.

And even though it’s likely  you’ll visit again if given a choice, you know it’ll be a different experience each time, so you should make the most of it every time you’re there!

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Miami Entertainment and Nightlife

We actually went during “Spring Break! Woo Hoo!” so there was always something going on whether it was daytime pool parties or evening pool parties, regular weekly nights or special club events.

I should mention that ‘Spring Break’ doesn’t necessarily mean young, wild people taking body shots and going crazy as you see on TV/Movies (sorry to disappoint) – it was large groups doing the usual, going to clubs/events, having fun, meeting up and partying together on the beach so if you’re older and not sure whether going during Spring Break will be more like hell – then don’t worry about it – as it’s not like that at all. There may even more on, in terms of entertainment so count it as a positive rather than a negative.

Don’t be surprised to see some of your favourite artists in Miami, performing on stage, making club appearances or see  a-list celebrities wandering around as it’s where the rich and famous love to let loose and party. It’s why it’s a great place to catch artists that you would only normally see in a concert (especially if you’re from London as we don’t often see US artists doing live PA’s in clubs).

Miami is ideal for couples. While I party with my fun, gorgeous and recently turned Husband (we’re on a honeymoon mission to visit as many party destinations as we can before we “settle down”), it’s also as you would expect perfect for groups. I would highly recommend this destination for Stag/Hen parties as there’s something for both sexes to see and do while they celebrate in wild style, one last time before they take the plunge.

Below are a  few pointers on what to expect when going out in Miami so you’re spending more time having fun in the club than standing outside and watching the clock tick by…

Nightlife Tips: 

  • Research – I had a look to see what events/ parties were on during our stay and so we booked tickets in advance through the clubs main sites or Eventbrite. We had no problem with Guestlist entrance or our tickets via these methods so feel free to purchase in advance knowing it works. If you can buy tickets in advance than it’s worth doing, just to take the hassle out of organising things when you are there or wasting time going to a place and queuing, when you don’t know if you’re going to get in or not. Just note the big clubs don’t sell tickets to their regular nights or special events; one because they don’t need to as they will pull a crowd regardless; two they can then control who they want to let in; and three they can charge for entry and tables normally at a price that hurts your wallet. You can pay for tables in advance for some clubs however – but that’s dependent on the club/night so it’s best to contact the club directly. Also if you only like certain music than its best to check out which clubs play what music on what nights so you can plan your nights accordingly.
  • Remember to take your photo ID with you (even if you are old and glamorous) as they will deny you entry so why risk it. Take the ID with you!

  • Exclusive Clubs – be prepared to pay for entry/tables if you want to get past the velvet ropes and in to exclusive clubs as there isn’t a systematic 2 queue approach where one is Guestlist and the other for normal peasants – especially for clubs like Liv, Mokai Lounge, Dream Nightclub – where you’ll find it’s more like a crowd going nowhere with people who know people being allowed entry, people negotiating with bouncers or willing to pay entry/tables just to avoid the wait and to hurry up and get their party on.
  • Dress Code For the Girls – bring your best party outfits as people tend to dress up and make a glamorous effort each night. It tends to be special dresses as opposed to day dresses, sun dresses or nice top/jeans/heel combo. This is THE place to showcase your glamorous side so feel free to bring out your stylish dresses, short dresses, ‘freak em’ dresses as you’ll soon discover you can’t be over dressed in Miami on a night out. The bars and clubs provide perfect settings for photos with plenty of backgrounds/props to take advantage of, so you’ll want to look Instagram ready at all times. It’s the kind of place that Instagram girls love posting about. For casual day pool parties you can wear bikini’s with cover ups, sarongs, shorts, skirts etc with sandals, flats, wedges or even trainers depending on your style. For evening pool parties you can wear more dressy beach cover up dresses,  sheer maxi dresses and accessorise with jewellery. For the high-end hotel pool parties,  I’d recommend opting for poolside glamour so wear your best bikini’s or swimwear, with beautiful cover ups along with sunglasses, jewellery or sun hats.
  • Dress Code For The Guys – the exclusive clubs expect a smart dress code which is smart shirts, polo top, blazers, sports jackets and shoes. For most of the normal bars/clubs you can wear smart/casual – casual trousers, smart trainers. For day pool parties – casual t-shirts, shorts, swim shorts, fit-flops and trainers is all good with of course the option of going topless when you feel like. For the high end pool parties, feel free to wear loose t-shirts or short sleeve shirts  worn open with your shorts with trainers/fit flops depending on your style or again go topless especially if you’ve been working out especially for Miami.
  • Entrance to Clubs for Groups – there doesn’t seem to be a problem for large groups of girls/guys getting into clubs, it’s obviously much easier if you’re prepared to pay for tables but it’s unlike London for example, where they won’t let large groups of guys in together. But just be prepared to wait as there isn’t an organised system in place. It may be worth booking a table in advance if you want to guarantee entry.
  • Being a walk-in couple doesn’t guarantee you entry clubs in London favour couples when they are letting in guests as it somehow means less trouble is likely so it’s easier to get into a club if there is only two of you. However some Miami clubs take this opportunity to offer a ‘jump the queue and have a table, where they cut the cost of the table for two people but it’s still expensive. But again it’s easier negotiating for two walk-ins than a whole group.
  • Always have a back up plan – a good tip for life but also in case you don’t get in to the more exclusive/popular clubs, because lets face it, the queues/wait-time/entrance cost/wondering why they don’t know who you are, is all just too much, than you’re better off having a second club in mind, where you’ll still have an amazing time, coz hey it’s Miami! but also so you don’t find yourself at a loss of where to hit up next and/or guessing whether it’ll have good music. And even make that a third, if you want to move on to the clubs that are open later or in some cases 24 hours! if you’re not ready to call it a night. So don’t worry about velvet ropes, because in Miami, you won’t be disappointed. See below for a list of  our tried and tested recommendations.It’s also worth noting that on the strip, we’ve heard people experience some of their best nights in Miami with walk-in clubs and bars as they all play popular music and offer the full clubbing experience and vibe but without the added hassle of guestlist/queues etc so if exclusive/superclubs aren’t your thing than hit up the strip and go on a bar/club crawl.

The Clubs and Bars We Visited:

FIFTY Ultra Lounge at The Viceroy

Address: 485 Brickell Avenue Miami, FL 33131
Opening Times: 10.30pm – 5.30am
Entry: Free before 10.30pm or $20 after
Dress Code: Girls wear your special outfits as you’ll want to dress to impress here. Guys can wear smart clothes with smart trainers
Music: Mixture of RnB, Hip Hop, Dancehall and Trap
Website: Not up at the moment

Club Details:
A beautiful shiny deluxe club located at the penthouse on the 50th floor of the Viceroy Hotel. This club boasts great views over downtown Miami with gorgeous waiters and waitresses serving serious cocktails. The club also has a beautiful outdoor rooftop pool area with a bar perfect for partying away in summer evenings. It’s special areas like this that make clubs in Miami stand out from other cities. You feel like your partying somewhere unique and special. I should mention you don’t need to bring your bikini to the regular nights as no one was actually in the pool – the place was too classy for that! But do go visit the bathrooms when you need to as you get to “go” with a beautiful view – one of the best I’ve seen while visiting the ladies. The club gets busy from 12 onwards and brings in a mixture of clientele, all dressed to the nines and looking to party with a balance of men and women so guys don’t worry. I definitely recommend visiting Ultra-50 for the views, drinks, club and fun gorgeous people.

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Congress Hotel South Beach

Address: 1052 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Opening Times: 10.00pm – 4am
Entry: Queue Jump Tickets bought in advance from Eventbrite – $25 per person
Dress Code: Girls – dresses/bikini/pool party wear. Guys – casual/pool wear – trainers/sportswear allowed
Music: Hip Hop, Trap, RnB – seriously good music
Websitehttp://www.congresshotelsouthbeach.com/

Club Details:
We attended “Hennything Goes Pool Party”, a rooftop pool party with a relaxed, happy, you’ve come here to party attitude. Guests were actually partying in the pool while the rest of the crowd were dancing, singing and taking snaps on the dance floor. It’s not a large rooftop by any means so it does get busy quite quickly but it does overlook the ocean and beach which gets my vote for a place to party. There’s nothing sweeter than dancing to music you love, sipping on rum, with a warm breeze on your face while looking at ocean waves.

I’m not sure what this club is like on regular nights but if there’s a special party going on than check it out but I wouldn’t suggest this for your big night out in Miami as you’ll want to save that for the bigger clubs.

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Blackbird Ordinary

Address: 729 SW First Avenue, Miami
Opening Times: 3pm – 5am
Entry: Free
Dress Code: Casual, trainers are accepted
Music: Hip Hop, DJ,s and Live Acts
Website: http://www.blackbirdordinary.com/

Bar Details:
There’s nothing ordinary about this bar. It’s a delightfully strange bar full of sweet darkness and plenty of whiskey, bourbon tequila and rum to keep you buzzing. The cocktails here are amazing – be sure to try the signature ‘Blackbird’ – sweet tea, Vodka, blackberries and lemonade and of course we had to try the ‘London Sparrow’ – Gin, passion fruit, lemon and cayenne pepper which packs a powerful punch. If you’re an old skool hip hop fan you’ll love the music in here and it’s also known for its live music sessions. There’s also pool tables available for those who like some activity with their drinking.

The bar itself is relatively small but has a dark whimsical charm about it. We went here for pre-drinks and I’m glad we did just for its originality, hip-hop music and out of the ordinary cocktails so be sure to check it out at one point in your trip.

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Fontainebleau Miami Hotel
Address: 4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL, 33140

The renowned designer Morris Lapidus designed the Fontainebleau Hotel and was arguably one of the most luxurious hotels in Miami Beach. He once wrote “If you create a stage and it is grand, everyone who enters will play their part”.

And this is exactly what happens when you enter the grand lobby of the Fontainebleau for the first time. The lobby is like a venue in its own right. Guests and visitors at the hotel mingle and socialise in the foyer, lounging, drinking or people watching as you’re most likely to see a celebrity or two within its walls. This is where the rich and famous come to party. We were privy to boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and his entourage of women and crew make their grandiose entrance to the hotel which caused quite a stir.

The hotel has played its role in movies like James Bond Goldfinger, Scarface and more recently in the Soprano’s. It has 4 bars and nightclubs as well as Hakkasan and La Cote – which is a spectacular pool side dining restaurant which is the place to be seen at on Sundays for their hugely popular pool parties.

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Some Interesting Trivia About The Fontainebleau Hotel:

On another more notorious level, the hotel came into the limelight for less than glamourous reasons when its heir Ben Novack Jnr and his mother Bernice Novack were killed 3 months apart by Ben’s estranged wife, Narcy Novak who was convicted of their murder in a highly publicized trial. She was sentenced to life without parole. The prosecutors claimed Narcy was motivated by “hatred greed and vengeance” not wanting to lose out on the bulk of the money with their pre-nuptial agreement which only entitled her to $65,000.

The drama of the Novack’s continue to this day, as the late Ben Novack’s estate, valued at $4.2 million is expected to go Ben’s stepdaughter and Narcy’s daughter May Abad, who he was close to.  However May currently has no access to any of these funds and her inheritance is being contested by family members, long lost relatives and a possible illegitimate child. Watch the movie “Beautiful and Twisted” if you want to see more, it’s an interesting story…

Bleau Bar – Fontainebleau Hotel
Opening times: Sunday – Thursday: 10am – 12am, Friday and Saturday: 10am – 2am

Bar Details:
A beautiful decadent blue and gold bar located in the lobby area of the Fontainbleau is said to be the meeting place of celebrities since the 50’s and 60’s and has retained its status till today. They make some lovely cocktails and it’s a great place to sit and people watch or go for pre-drinks before Liv Club.

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Liv Club
Fontainebleau Hotel
Opening times: Wednesday – Sunday: 11 PM – 5AM, Monday & Tuesday: Closed
Entry: $150 upwards
Dress Code: Upscale – dress your best!
Music: Mostly EDM, Techno with some Hip Hop

Club Details:
The reason most people are here in the evenings, is to attend the infamous and exclusive Liv Club. Miami’s superclub has played host to the top names in the music industry from Elvis to Lady Gaga and for any Bieber fan’s out there, you’ll find him here this NYE. This 18,000 sq foot club has state of the art sound system, lighting, 4 bars and for VIP’s, 50 banquette areas and 6 private skyboxes, each featuring table service.

All this comes at a price, even for regular entry, so be prepared to pay $150 just for entry and as there isn’t a guestlist, be prepared to stand in queue, where everyone even willing to pay still have to wait to be picked for entry. You can of course buy a table but be prepared to spend $1000’s. Drinks are also expensive so all in all you will pay for the cost of partying at this club and its exclusivity. But if you’re lucky and have the money to pass the velvet ropes than be set to enjoy a night of pure entertainment – just be ready to pay for it! Have a back up plan if you can’t get into a club….

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Icon Nightclub (formely Mansion)
Address: 1235 Washington Avenue, Miami, FL, 33139
Opening Times: 11pm – 5am Fridays and Saturdays
Entry: $20 +
Dress Code: Girls – dressy and stylish, Guys smart wear and shoes
Music: EDM and Hip Hop
Website: http://iconmiami.com/

Club Details: With a 35,000sq feet of club on two floors, you can be sure you’re going to party big and party hard at Icon. We got free entry to this club so everything else was a bonus as we knew we could move on if it didn’t live up to expectation but we ended up staying for a large part of the night. Designed in art-deco with state of the art lighting it certainly wows the crowd. The dancers entertain the crowd while the VIP waitresses ensure you’re drinks are topped up. The dance-floor gets busy but it’s so big there isn’t a problem. Great party atmosphere, with DJ’s taking centre-stage and being part of the action. Even though there were queues to get in, there wasn’t the usual hassle of getting into busy renowned clubs so this club gets my vote.

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E11even Miami
Address: 29 NE 11th St, Miami FL 33132
Opening Times: 24 Hours, 7 days a week
Entry: $20
Music: Techno, Hip Hop, Rnb
Dress Code: Upscale, Dressy and Smart Wear – No trainers
Website: http://11miami.com/

Club Details:
An upscale nightclub with a twist, this dancing club isn’t your normal type of club. It offers everything you would expect from a Miami Nightclub in terms of big name DJ’s, LED screens, stage, state of the art sound and lighting but when it comes to entertainment this club throws out all the stops. Their dancers – clothing optional, on trapezes, burlesque performances scattered around the cub and a pole that lowers into the ground, in case you feel like joining in. Guys the women to men ratio is finally at your advantage. Girls – while it may at first seem as if the entertainment is geared towards the guys, you’ll enjoy the shows, the music, energy and atmosphere of this club just as much. Drinks are expensive however.

Having partied in many clubs around the world, this one will be hard to beat in terms of entertainment, crowd pleasing and surprises so be sure to check this out. And being open 24 hours, yeah I said it, 24 hours! 7 days a week, you can enjoy the show anytime of day or week.

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Activities

Watch an NBA Basketball Game

Game: Miami Heat Vs Denver Nuggets
Address:
American Airlines Area – 601 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami FL 33121
Buy Tickets: American Airlines Arena Ticket Office

I’d never been to an NBA Basketball game before so I bought tickets to watch Miami Heat Vs Denver Nuggets at the American Airlines Arena, home to Miami Heat and host to various sports and entertainment events. It’s an exhilarating experience which is just as much about the atmosphere as it is about the sport. I loved the excitement, the spirit and the fast-paced action of basketball so it was definitely fun and worth seeing the game plus I can now tick it off my list. Celebrity watching is also a feature as we spotted Mr Floyd Moneymaker at this game too.

I had to buy a hot dog and a beer to keep true to watching American sports, so we sat back, soaked up the atmosphere and enjoyed the live basketball action – where Miami Heat won 124 to 119.

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What else is there to do in Miami?

Miami is broken into several different neighborhoods. Downtown Miami is where you’ll see high-rise buildings, palm lined streets, luxury apartments and hotels with posh residents . Then there’s Biscayne Bay which has a lighthouse worth visiting and casual rustic beaches. To the south is Coconut Grove were you’ll find Miami’s City Hall, the Kampong which is a tropical garden that forms part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, while the Florida Everglades National Park,  a 1.5-million-acre wetlands that are up of coastal mangroves, sawgrass marshes and pine flatwoods and home to hundreds of animal species, sits to the west.
In between neighborhoods to note are Little Havana (named after Havana in Cuba) which has a large Cuban community as well as those from Central and Southern America. For art and culture lovers visit Wynwood which is home to 70 galleries, museums and collections.

Last Word

Overall Miami is fast paced, entertaining and fashionable with a reputation for being intimidating and luxurious. Along with this glamorous, party destination exterior, it also has incredible architecture, cultural neighborhoods, fantastic cuisines and beautiful beaches that can be enjoyed by all. I can see why so many people are attracted to this part of Florida and why the rich and famous come here to mingle, party and relax. I would recommend everyone to go and experience the nightlife scene here at least once.

For me, I’d love to visit again so I’ll be looking for any excuse to go back. Its definitely a place to see and be see in and it certainly makes the list, of my top places to party in the World!

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