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Miami Travel Guide

About Miami

Famed for its tropical climate, Hispanic culture and Art Deco seafront, Miami has the glamour to rival LA but offsets any glitz with a gritty urban edge.

Dominated by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and its tended golden beaches, the city may seem brash at first but it has much more to offer than bling, beach babes and celebrity fans.

Its eclectic architecture should present clues as to its cultural and historical depth. Just look at its diverse neighbourhoods: Downtown Miami is a place of gleaming glass and steel skyscrapers, while Little Havana is home to a thriving Cuban community. The salty Port of Miami, meanwhile, is unlike either. This is where cargo ships and Navy destroyers moor alongside gargantuan cruise ships en route to the Caribbean.

Miami Beach is famous for its glittering strip of vast hotels, palatial homes and glamorous locals. The surrounding showy neighbourhood of South Beach is instantly recognisable with its candy-coloured buildings set against a pure South Florida backdrop of cloudless skies, dazzling blue ocean, pale sandy beaches and swaying palm trees.

The city is swiftly becoming a hub for culture too. The Wynwood Arts District and Miami Design District are a case in point, as is the Biscayne Bay museum quarter. Frank Gehry’s New World Center is a spectacular example of post-modernist design, while the wonderful Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is alluring on a smaller scale.

There is no shortage of things to do outside Miami either. If the beaches lose their appeal, head west to the Everglades, a sprawling flooded wetland which is home to thousands of wild alligators.

Further up the coast is Fort Lauderdale, with its Venice-inspired canals and vast cruise terminal, while to the south is the wonderfully bohemian Florida Keys (or The Conch Republic as it is known to some independently-minded locals). So, whether you are exploring the city centre or relaxing in the sunny suburbs, Miami is one city that never gets boring.

Key facts

A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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Featured Hotels


The Tides

As the tallest and most elegant art deco hotel on Ocean Drive, The Tides offers genuine style for the incurably hip, with a minimalist interior that is sophisticated, spacious and sumptuous, decorated in soft tones of white, taupe and sand. The 45 suites all have incredible views of the beach.

The Shore Club

It comes as no surprise that Miami's ultimate urban design hotel is located at South Beach. Stark modernism and the white-on-white décor of the 325 rooms and suites is softened by lush Moroccan-inspired tropical gardens. The Nobu restaurant and the Sky Bar are hugely popular with the city's cool crowd.

Hotel Shelley

Occupying one of South Beach's charming art deco buildings, the pistachio and cream Hotel Shelley is within striking distance of the beach and close to most major amenities. Rooms are cosy and comfortable, and all are decked out in soothing neutral hues. Popular with younger travellers, it doesn't compromise on style.

Freehand Miami

A bright and cheerful hostel that's a short walk from the Bass Museum, the Freehand Miami is a good choice for those on a budget and who don't mind sharing their sleeping quarters. The brightly coloured rooms sleep up to eight people in bunks and are both mixed and gender-specific if you prefer. The beach is a short walk away.

Whitelaw Hotel

Housed in a quaint art deco building in South Beach, the Whitelaw Hotel has become a favourite of hipster travellers who don't want to spend the earth on accommodation. Conveniently close to all of Miami Beach's major attractions, it boasts clean, spacious rooms and a friendly atmosphere.

Dream South Beach

Once you've seen the Dream South Beach's beautifully decorated rooms, all of which come complete with iPod docks, you'll begin to realise what a bargain this is. Housed inside a beautiful art deco building, the boutique hotel is small but highly stylish. A swimming pool and lounge occupy the roof.