Miami Beach: Where to stay, what to eat

Opulent doesn't even begin to describe the Villa

Opulent doesn't even begin to describe the Villa by Barton G.'s pool. (Credit: Villa by Barton G. / Domino Arts)

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Miami Beach has long been a playground for New Yorkers looking for a quick and easy escape from the big city. And though the New York-Miami superhighway is a well-paved route, each year new openings keep visitors coming back for more. From hotels to restaurants to bars, some of the most recent additions to Miami Beach are reason alone to head south.

WHERE TO STAY

Music lovers will be at home at The Redbury (Theredbury.com), which opened in December. The East Coast outpost of the Hollywood hotel of the same name takes its rock and roll theme as far as outfitting each guest room with a record player and a vinyl selection curated by Capitol Records. New Yorkers, take note: The parent company, which also owns the neighboring SLS and Raleigh hotels, is rumored to bring its brand to New York soon.

Those looking for a more zen getaway might want to explore the Metropolitan by Como (Comohotels.com). The hotel and its Shambhala Urban Escape spa opened in March. The spa offers massage and beauty treatments, yoga, a steam room, a rooftop hydrotherapy pool and a terrace where spa-goers can kick back with a variety of wellness juices.

For the ultimate in pampering, spend the night like royalty at the former residence of late fashion designer Gianni Versace. The recently revamped Villa by Barton G. (Thevillabybartong.com), which opened in March, may set you back more than $1,000 per night, but you'll get to stare at beautifully frescoed ceilings surrounded by opulent bedding and furnishings, and swim in the 24-carat-gold-lined Thousand Mosaic pool, which was designed by Versace himself.

WHERE TO EAT

If you can't afford to sleep at the Villa, at least stay for dinner. Il Sole carries through the hotel's luxury details with pebble-mosaiced walls, richly designed dinnerware and an intimate 30-seat dining room dripping with drama. A mouthwatering Mediterranean menu created by chef Scott Linquist is punctuated with equally tempting desserts by pastry chef Luis Vasquez.

Designer eats are also available at Cavalli Restaurant and Lounge (Miami.cavalliclub.com), conceptualized and owned by fashionista Roberto Cavalli. The space, which opened in January, is adorned with some of the designer's signature details, including zebra- and jaguar-print chairs and floral patterns. Tuscan accents highlight the Italian menu. After dinner, head to the sexy second-floor lounge, which has an animal-print ceiling.

Though much of Miami is all about the glitz, Naked Taco (Nakedtacomiami.com), which opened in February, offers a simpler dining experience. Chef Ralph Pagano serves up his savory spin on traditional Mexican dishes and street foods. And the affordable prices will leave some money left over for coffees and juices from Bar Mañana or margaritas crafted from one of the 125 tequilas offered at Bar Noche.

For cuisine-conscious New Yorkers who don't like to stray far from home, check out the snowbird version of Lure Fishbar (Lurefishbar.com). The SoHo-famed seafood spot opened a second location in the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in December. Offerings include a raw bar, crudo and sushi bar, as well as signature favorites from New York and Miami-inspired dishes.

On the sweeter side, Ladurée (Laduree.com) has also headed south. The patisserie, which also has a SoHo location, opened its pastel-covered walls on Lincoln Road in February, serving up French macarons in a rainbow of colors. Stop by for a sweet indulgence, and top it off with a glass of bubbly from the champagne bar. The company has even designed a special Art Deco-inspired box for the new Miami shop -- a great souvenir for anyone.

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