The Newest Reasons to Visit Miami Beach
Learn about Miami Beach's newest hotels, restaurants and more.
If you haven’t visited Miami Beach in more than a year or two, you’ve missed out on a spate of new and noteworthy restaurants, hotels and businesses. Plus, the much buzzed-about Faena District is finally nearing completion, with an unconventional retail complex rounding out the mix.
Recent years have witnessed a boom in Mid-Beach, which stretches between 25th and 63rd streets. The heralded Faena Hotel opened in 2015, as did 1 Hotel South Beach. (Okay, 1 Hotel is technically South Beach, but it hugs the border.) While the latter is noteworthy for so many reasons (LEED-certified; the first U.S. hotel to boast a Spartan gym; Beachcraft, a Tom Colicchio restaurant), the latest news is the recently added Bamford Haybarn Spa. It's the first U.S. location from the well-known British brand by Lady Carole Bamford, and takes an organic approach toward beauty. Twelve treatment rooms offer expert facials, massages and yes, post-sun recovery. Speaking of beauty, the trendy Mondrian South Beach welcomes a new hair salon from GUYandGIRL Spa, offering the full gamut of cuts, blowouts, braids and Oribe products. (Afterward, you’ll be ready to try your luck next door at Wilhelmina Models.) GUYandGIRL has taken over the spa as well.
Back across town, Plymouth Hotel is the newest mid-range boutique hotel in South Beach near Collins Park. Restoration Hardware decorated the rooms, from the pink headboards to the mirrored vanities. Opt for a one-bedroom suite so you can crawl into bed after using the freestanding tub. The property offers a small pool, or stroll a few blocks to the beach. Nearby, renovations are underway at the boutique Greystone Hotel, a 1936 property being restored to its Art Deco glory. The hotel, just a block from the beach, is set to open at the end of 2017, and will include a restaurant and speakeasy. The Collins Park Hotel is yet another property set to open near Collins Park. No opening date is scheduled yet, but the $55 million dollar renovation will result in 296 rooms, three pools, a restaurant and more.
Further up Collins Avenue, a new Nobu Hotel — a collaboration between Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper — recently opened at the iconic Eden Roc Resort. David Rockwell designed the high-end hotel’s 203 rooms, which have a Japanese aesthetic. But the real draw is the Nobu Miami restaurant, especially Sunday brunch served from rolling carts.
Scott Linquist, the chef behind Miami’s popular Coyo Taco, just opened Olla (pronounced oi-ya), on a quiet stretch of Lincoln Drive. The stylish, Mexican-inspired restaurant offers a mix of small plates, which range from chapulines (grasshoppers), to yellowtail sashimi and corn “truffles.” Heartier plates encompass duck breast with sour cherry salsita and charbroiled salmon with pozole grits. Buzzy Italian restaurant Forte dei Marmi, helmed by two-Michelin starred chef Antonio Mellino, recently opened on a less scene-y part of Ocean Drive in South Beach. Just around the corner is Upland, from celeb restaurateur Stephen Starr. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the first Miami outpost of the original one in NYC. Food is California influenced, and the menu runs the gamut from drunken snapper (raw snapper marinated in tequila) to cacio e pepe.
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, located in the new Plymouth Hotel, is another example of a popular NYC outpost. Fans of the original will be happy to learn that cult favorites, from fried chicken to oxtail fried rice, are also on the menu here. Unlike NYC, you can also opt to eat outside. Another offshoot, Antico Pizza has quite the following in its native Atlanta thanks to made-to-order, wood-fired pizzas that are prepared Neopolitan style. Miami visitors can now try it at Centro Storico, a new Italian food hall (not to be confused with Eataly). In pop-up news, chef Scott Conant of Scarpetta fame is the brains behind cocktail bar Sorso at the Fontainebleau. Specializing in handcrafted cocktails aided by a cold-drip cocktail tower, Sorso will remain open through the summer.
If you needed further proof that the scene is now in Mid-Beach, look no further than the almost-completed Faena District. The planned neighborhood holds court between 32nd and 36th streets along Collins Avenue, and launched its first phase in 2015 with the Faena Hotel, an Art Deco wonderland designed by filmmaker Baz Luhrmann and his wife, Catherine Martin. It’s also made headlines for notable art from Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons. (Hirst's famed woolly mammoth sculpture, pictured, is on loan for just one more year.) Meanwhile, the spa offers South American healing therapies and a large wet spa with hammam. Then there’s Los Fuegos, helmed by famed Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann.
Across the street is Casa Faena, a more affordable option that feels like an incredibly charming Spanish inn, and Faena Forum, a 43,000-square-foot art and event space. Upcoming programming includes an interactive, immersive roller disco on May 7. In 2018 look for Tree of Codes, a contemporary ballet piece inspired by Jonathan Safran Foer's book. Finally, there’s the soon-to-open Faena Bazaar, a retail complex designed by starchitect Rem Koolhaas; a preview premiered during Miami Art Week. As of now it’s on track to open this fall. The district is also home to a condo complex and an OMA-designed, automated parking garage. Argentinian real estate developer Alan Faena loosely modeled the district after his original creation in Buenos Aires, and like that one, he’s helped transform an overlooked section of town into a major destination.