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South Beach Miami

20 Jul


The Standard Spa

July 20, 2013 | By |

The Standard Spa is one of the most magical spots of all on South Beach with its opulent pool and Lido Restaurant overlooking an amazing water font vista of Biscayne Bay, situated on lovely Belle Isle. It is a throwback to Miami’s Golden Age, and just a short visit will leave you feeling like you are on a tropical island paradise.

The heart of the hotel is the pool and hydrotherapy area, an ode to communal bathing as social sacrament. The outdoor aquacade encompasses a plunge pool, a hot tub, and a 12-foot-tall, three-inch-wide column of falling water. DJ-spun music plays through underwater speakers in the chlorine-free Sound Pool. In the clothing-optional mud baths, guests can slather one another with “golden body mud.” Arbors of sea-grape trees, night-blooming jasmine, and Moroccan palms are intended to create “pockets of contemplation.” Scattered about the lawn are more convivial arenas, such as a set of immense, pie-shaped wicker lounges flanking a small fire pit. Just off the courtyard is a Tyrolean-style wishing well, a kitsch holdover from the Lido days. Just off the Lobby is the hotel library with an assortment of eclectic and ever intriguing titles.

The new Standard is rooted in the genius of the late architect Morris Lapidus, a visionary of excess- and accidental post-modernist- who defined opulence some more than 50 years ago with the Fontainebleau. Lapidus also put his trademark baroque spin on the facade of the Lido, with the name of the hotel writ large in jaunty yellow neon. The building is rightfully a protected icon, with the Lido lettering remaining intact with the customary upside-down Standard sign.

Lapidus, through his unique design contributions, fought the good fight, in keeping South Beach from turning into Anywhere, U.S.A. Sadly and ironically, one of his last clients was a local Fuddruckers chain.

In the end, to last as long as the Lido, the Standard only needs to stay out of its own way and embrace Biscayne Bay, a lulling expanse of pure beauty that makes natives fall in love with Miami all over again. The Standard’s own hotelier, Andre’ Balazs insists he is resolved to keep the party small and quiet. “This little neighborhood of cottages, with the sounds of birds and children playing, is like nothing else in America,” he says, sipping a glass of wine as night falls and the skyline of downtown Miami glimmers across the bay. “It’s lost in time, unbelievably charming. The vibe doesn’t need music: the idea is to turn down the volume, not step into it.”

16 May


Café Versailles

May 16, 2013 | By |

Spend any amount of time in South Miami and you will quickly notice that it is very rich in its diversity of cultures. South Beach in particular, is a flavourful mix of cultures that come together in this exotic paradise. As you walk on the beach or go for a stroll, you will hear many of the different languages of the world. This mix of cultures makes this place all the more interesting as it draws in people from all over the world.

One such culture that that adds to the spicy dish that is Miami, and cannot be ignored is that of Cuban Americans. One can’t help but notice the influence Cuban’s have on South Florida and in particular, Miami. In fact, one has to understand the role Cuban’s have played in making up this diverse community called Miami in order to really get a sense for this place. Alongside the blonde, and blue eyed Floridians with permanent beach tans, Cubans are at the heart of Miami.

And there is no better place to get a pulse on the Cuban community, than the Versailles Cuban Restaurant. Soon after it opened its doors in 1971, Versailles quickly became the gathering place for Miami’s Cuban exiles.

Go their for the best Cuban food in town, the best “cortaditto” (espresso with milk), and deserts you just can’t resist. My favourite is the dark caramel flan, which I have on a few occasions driven over the bridge from South Beach into town for.

Upon my first visit to Versailles,I walked into the traditional open window café where you come as close to Cuba while in the U.S.A. I was greeted by a local that immediately welcomed me to this cultural meeting place. “Benvenido” he said, welcoming me to this place, as though he was the owner of the establishment. I later realized that he was just a patron, but that this was no ordinary place. This place was special and was home to the community of Cuban American’s.

I don’t want to sound overly pariotic, I am a Canadian after all, but this place embodies “the American dream’. And although the Cuban men in double pocketed white shirts spend hours in front of the old open café window, talking politics, one can’t help but appreciate the freedom that has made America what it is today.

Every time I am down here, their is a story, still to this day, of the ordeal and danger that Cubans take on as they appear on the local news with images of dozens of Cuban escapees huddled together in makeshift rafts. We see the ones that thankfully make it to the American shore, but Versailles Café pays honour to the men and women that never had the chance to realize their same freedom.

The Versailles restaurant and café is located in Little Havana and worth the visit. On most afternoons, a charming older gentleman dances to the sounds of Cuba with his lovely mannequin partner, that never misses a step.

I recommend the Versailles Classico, and you cannot leave without having a café Bustello cortaditto with a dark mouth watering caramel flan.


26 Mar


Welcome to South Beach, Miami!

March 26, 2013 | By |

n both daytime and at nightfall, the South Beach section of Miami Beach is a major entertainment destination with hundreds of nightclubs,restaurantsboutiques and hotels. The area is popular with both American and international tourists (mainly from CanadaLatin America,EuropeIsraelthe Caribbean and within the United States), with some having permanent or second homes. The large number of Europeantourists also explains their influence on South Beach’s lax and overall tolerance of the female monokini, aka topless sunbathing, despite it being a public beach.

The reflection of South Beach’s residents is evident in the various European languages, as well as Semitic languages and many otherlanguages spoken. In 2000, 55% of residents of the city of Miami Beach spoke Spanish as a first language, while English was the first language for 33% of the population. Portuguese (mainly Brazilian Portuguese) was spoken by 3% of residents, while French (includingCanadian French) was spoken by 2%, German by 1.12%, Italian 0.99%, and Russian by 0.85% of the population. Owing to the area’s largeJewish and Israeli community, Yiddish was spoken by 0.81% of residents, and Hebrew by 0.74%.[11]

Another unique aesthetic attribute of South Beach is the presence of several colorful and unique stands used by South Beach’s lifeguards. After Hurricane Andrew, Architect William Lane donated his design services to the city and added new stops on design tours in the form of lifeguard towers. His towers instantly became symbols of the revived City of Miami Beach.

25 Mar


Winter Music Festival

March 25, 2013 | By |

History of the Conference

It was founded in 1985 by then DJs and Record Pool Directors Louis Possenti and Bill Kelly. Held annually in Miami Beach, Florida, the Winter Music Conference, or “WMC” as followers of Electronic Dance Music call it, hosts around 100,000 people[citation needed]. The first Winter Music Conference took place at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott February 19-21, 1986 with approximately 80 dance music industry insiders in attendance. The event festivities are presented across Miami Beach andDowntown Miami. A major event is the International Dance Music Awards. The event commands a major international draw with around 38% of attendees coming from outside the United States.[1] The conference serves as a platform for many underground and indie artists from over 70 different countries who spend the conference at events and panels; it is also a medium used by several entrepreneurs and consumer electronic companies to present their businesses and technological developments.[1]

The WMC & The Recording Academy began in 1996 – a partnership presenting The Producers Forum, a gathering of legendary artists.[2] Waxpoetics Magazine, JBL, and Stanton sponsored the first International Record Collectors Show in 2007.[1] In 2009, the WMC introduced the first annual WMC VJ Challenge at The Miami Beach Resort & Spa with celebrity hosts, judges, and VJs from various parts of the world hosted by VJ Psyberpxie and Felix Sama.[2] This inaugural year of the competition resulted in Sergey Lobodln(Moscow, Russia), walking away with the top winner prize.[3] In 2010, the VJ Challenge was expanded into two areas of competition; Video Mixing and Audio/Visual Mixing. The 2010 VJ Challenge winners were AeonChild (Boulder, Colorado) in the video category and Eclectic Method (London/NYC) in the Audio/Visual category.[4] The Miami Beach Resort also received the performance of the RoboMusic Demo in which Funkstar De Luxe and RoboProfessor (Henrik Hautop Lund) create live interactive compositions of RoboMusic.

25 Mar


South Beach Nightlife

March 25, 2013 | By |

Whether you are looking for a casual night on the town or something more exclusive and upscale, Miami Beach has got it all! For a more casual atmosphere, try club BLUE 222 Espanola Way. Here you will find music lovers from around the world, flocking to here what the local DJ’s have in store. Lincoln St. offers “Zeeks”, where you can find $3 beers all day long as you watch other tourists and locals shop and dine!

For a more upscale evening, try DREAM Nightclub. Located at 1532 Washington Avenue, DREAM features a newly remodeled plush atmosphere and VIP bottle service, with two rooms for you to choose from.

Aero Bar will suit the needs of any Night Club connoisseur. Based on a combined three decades of experience and contacts, Aero Bar is the brainchild of nightlife ambassadors Tony Guerra and Smiley Boyd. Located at 247 23rd st., Aero Bar consists of two rooms and upscale VIP Bottle service.

The club scene in the area “South of 5th Street” or “SoFi” as it is called is all right there. Nikki Beach Club at the end of Ocean is a good place to go during the day for an eyeful of tropical atmosphere and an Ibiza vibe.

For local flavor try Ted’s Hideaway. Located at 124 2nd St., this is a storefront bar with pool tables and TVs that locals like to hang out and hide out all day and night. A hole-in-the-wall kind of place.

Article found at

25 Mar


Where to eat in South beach

March 25, 2013 | By |

I once asked a perceptive, professional observer of Miami’s South Beach restaurant scene why the restaurants there were often so mediocre, generally emphasizing flash over substance—I had just walked out of a place in which extravagant presentations and dramatic, dry ice induced clouds of steam diverted attention from really terrible food.  His answer was that presentation was everything, it’s what the crowd there wanted,  at least on South Beach. (Elsewhere in town, chefs like Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink and Michelle Bernstein at Michy’s were turning out serious food to appreciative diners.)

If you wanted to stay on the beach but eat really well, then, your choices were limited. But that is certainly changing. Some good new restaurants are imports from New York such as Andrew Carmellini’s The Dutch in the W South Beach or Los Angeles  (Jose Andres’ The Bazaar at the new SLS South Beach)  but others are home grown and ambitious. One of the best:  Florida Cookery at the new James Royal Palm, local chef Kris Wessel’s homage to the area’s cooking on its own, not fused with other cuisines, with some dishes derived from a cookbook published in the 1940’s that he found in his grandmother’s kitchen.  A Floridian whose family goes back 100 years in the area and who previously operated the Miami restaurant Red Light Little River, Wessel is both a James Beard Award dinner and perhaps even more impressive, a winner of the combine crazy ingredients- into- a- winning dish Food Network show “Chopped”  and his dishes are gutsy, vibrant, full of flavor. Favorites from a recent dinner: sticky Guanabana glazed ribs with green papaya slaw, conch chowder, slow braised oxtail and spiny lobster in a dry sherry bisque with green garlic zucchini. The only glitch was the South Floridastaple key lime pie—apparently the pastry chef altered the crust of Wessel’s grandmother’s recipe making it too tough but it was due to be changed back to the original. That’s good news since the filling was perfect, just the right balance between tangy and sweet.

Up Collins Avenue a few blocks from Florida Cookery, another new restaurant is aiming high in quality level as well as price. Tosca won’t win any awards for a light carbon footprint but its menu promises the best ingredients in the world—and they are, indeed, coming in from all over the world: pure Pata Negra Jamon aged 36 months from Spain, 100 year old Aceto Balsamico di Modena from Italy, blue lobsters from Brittany, A5 grade Kobe beef from Japan along with ingredients from artisan producers in the U.S.  To combine them in preparations worthy of their provenance,  executive chef Didier Elena signed on after 20 years with Alain Ducasse, most recently at Adour in New York. The restaurant’s showoff offering: an 11 course tasting menu featuring toro crudo, fettucine with white Alba truffles, Kobe ribeye, etc. It’s very impressive and there isn’t a dry ice vapor in sight.

Article found at

24 Mar


Surf South Beach!

March 24, 2013 | By |

Yes there is surfing in South Beach, even though it is not as popular as other places around the world, reason being that for the most part we don’t have a constant stream of high waves to make the really good surfers happy; It is a perfect place for beginners to take lessons and get a feel of the adventure and thrill that comes in riding waves, introducing you to what could be your desire to go on a surf trip to places like Maui in Hawaii where surfing is serious and don’t stop, plus competition tournaments are done very often.