By Mike & Nava Raviv
Just mention South Beach and images of white sand beaches, beautiful people, and celebrity-studded nights come to mind. And ask anyone there where is the best place to stay and they’ll say W South Beach Hotel, on Collins Avenue.
You’ll be greeted by an impressive building overlooking the sea with a façade reminiscent of a modern painting with a grid of white walls, glass windows, and terraces. The lobby, contemporary and warm, is several stories high and appointed with leather sofas, marble accents and a curated art exhibit from the hotel’s $40 million private collections. Artwork by Warhol, Schnabel, and Basquiat, to name a few, are proudly displayed throughout the public areas. The sprawling lobby, called the Living Room, is where you’ll want to relax with a drink, sip an espresso, munch on bar fare or just engage in the favorite pastime—people watching.
SPLENDID TO WOW
The 408 guest rooms range from Splendid Studios to a fantastic and pricey E-Wow Suite. All accommodations are appointed with white ceramic tiles, floor to ceiling screens, modern Italian sofas, plasma TVs and original photographs.
Our Sensational Suite, a smartly decorated one-bedroom overlooking the pool and beach did not disappoint with a spacious living room with sleek white furniture, a fully equipped kitchen with a lacquered center island.
Those who book the incredibly beautiful E-Wow Suite will be impressed with the newly redesigned, 2,960-square-foot, three-bedroom apartment with a large living room and outdoor glass balconies offering 180-degree sweeping views of the ocean and Miami skyline. The suite is furnished with a custom $80 thousand sectional sofa, leather lounge chairs, and a glossy lacquer dining table. Accents of black marble, glass, and textured wallpaper complete the decor.
A TYPICAL DAY
The W has several personalities that change throughout the day: Mornings are part business, part leisure, as smartly dressed men and women, along with early-rising vacationers, start their day at The Dutch restaurant. Join them for a lavish buffet, or a la carte breakfast served indoors or outdoors overlooking the meticulously landscaped gardens.
Come mid-morning, the atmosphere changes to all leisure, as guests relax on the beach (called Sand) or poolside (called Wet). Stake your spot on a complimentary chaise on the breezy beach, rent an umbrella, beach cabana or daybed and enjoy your day in the sun. Kids of all ages will be delighted by the array of complimentary beach toys at their disposal. If you prefer the tranquility of a swimming pool, settle on a padded beach chaise surrounded by palm trees and lush vegetation. Unwind with an organic cold-pressed juice, a cocktail or casual fare from the Wet Bar and Grille. As you chill out with a book, pool attendants offer refreshing towels, crisp apples, and fruit infused ice water. You can also enjoy some privacy in your poolside cabana.
After dusk, it’s time for dinner and party. The W attracts the beautiful people of swanky South Beach who join hotel guests for drinks and chats at the Living Room Bar. Couples head for an intimate interlude at Grove, a serene garden, landscaped with winding paths, flowering vegetation, lanterns and decorative objects.
Dinner is offered at two venues, at The Dutch, a casual indoor-outdoor American restaurant and oyster room inspired by cafes, seaside shacks and roadside eateries. Then there’s the celebrity hotspot, Mr. Chow, known for its exceptional Chinese cuisine. The restaurant’s soaring interior is appointed with black lacquer furniture, gorgeous floral arrangements, and artwork. Its centerpiece is a gold-leaf and Swarovski crystal chandelier designed by Chow himself.
At midnight, the W becomes a nightlife spot, the club set converge to Wall, a trendy, exclusive lounge often visited by celebrities. Tuesday is the night when people in the know converge here. It is named Favela Beach, a night when the DJs kick it up a notch as everybody gyrates to the infectious beat. The club pulses into the wee hours with the hottest sound tracks, flashing strobe lights, colorful lasers, and white smoke.
The W offers a state-of-the-art fitness center, called FIT where guests can join a maximum calorie burn boot camp, take a Yoga class or work with a personal trainer. The resort also features a rooftop basketball court and tennis court, called Swish & Swing. Also, guests can rent complimentary bicycles and explore the nearby South Beach.
Guests preferring a more sybaritic lifestyle will enjoy some “me” time at the Bliss Spa, indulging in pampering treatments such as the Triple Oxygen Facial Treatment, the Blissage 75 Massage, and the Hot Milk and Almond pedicure.
Important to note: Pets are welcome at the hotel and the W’s PAW program features includes toys, treats, floor mats, pet beds and a “pet-in-room” door sign.
The W takes pride in offering superior service from pre-arrival to departure. Their concierges, named Insiders, handle restaurant reservations, VIP access to hard to get venues and special requests. To top it all off, the W is located within walking distance to Lincoln Road, the famous pedestrian street lined with art galleries, excellent shops and plenty of outdoor restaurants.
For more information on W South Beach, visit wsouthbeach.com.
Nava and Michael Raviv are the publishers of Hi Class Living Magazine. For over three decades, they have shared luxurious travel experiences, art and culture events, and epicurean highlights. Follow their adventures at hiclassmag.com.