Travelers looking for luxe, hip beach destinations have to look no further than Miami’s South Beach, where top celebrities, models and fashion photographers unwind after the sun goes down.
South Beach is famous for its superb beaches, mouth-watering cuisine and infinite celebrity hot spots. One such hot spot is the Maison d’Azur Restaurant at Hotel Astor on South Beach. The French restaurant’s Mediterranean-style decor and candle-lit garden set the tone for a splendid evening and is ideal for both large groups and intimate occasions.
Start the evening off with drinks and caviar sliders — a decadent twist on a standard appetizer — then choose a fresh seafood entrée. Maison d’Azur’s “Market,” located right in front of its open kitchen, allows diners to choose the fish they want prepared. The ratatouille provides a flavorful, yet light, side. For dessert, don’t miss the créme brûlée. Served with shaved lemon ice, the creamy, sweet indulgence is one of the best you’ll find this side of the Atlantic.
On Saturdays, the Maison d’Azur offers a deejayed brunch starting at noon. With bellinis and fresh French-style pastries served on a jasmine-scented patio, there’s no better way to start off your Saturday.
The restaurant also provides ample celebrity-spotting. Fran Drescher and Gloria Estefan have dined at the Maison d’Azur, as have Stefan Fortier and various socialites.
Layla Lounge, also located at the historical 1936 Hotel Astor, brings Moroccan flair to South Beach. The sensuality and warmth of Layla will make you feel temporarily transported to a North African jungle surrounded by resplendent cocktails and a charming garden annex with jasmine trees and bamboo walls.
Cuisine and celebrities aren’t the only things happening on Miami Beach. Step outside the Hotel Astor, and you’ll find yourself in the Art Deco Historic District. Spend an afternoon strolling down Lincoln Road Mall and Espanola Way to browse the many galleries displaying exciting work from contemporary artists, or get tickets to a show at the historic Filmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater.