Miami - A 'Tropicool' Hot Spot For The Hip And Romantic
caressing breeze alleviates the humidity that hangs in the night air
and the metronome sway of our hammock lulls us into a dream-like state.
Beneath our suspended haven, a powder sandy beach leads to the bath-tempered
Atlantic. Above, feathery palm fronds frame a golden moon. It's pure
escapism, doused with romance, and during our visit to Miami we discover
that it's just the beginning of more to come.
Story by Jane Cassie
Photos by Brent Cassie
once known as 'the geriatric ward,' over the past decade Miami has undergone
numerous reconstructive surgeries and now reverberates with energised
vitality. Worn out hips have been taken over by the ultra hip and romantics
like us have replaced retirees. Boasting a vivacious nightlife, cultural
diversity and a lively pulse, it is evident that this effervescent city
is nowhere near the grave.
a romantic stay, we discover that Beach House Bal Harbour promises all.
Instead of a grandiose reception area, we are greeted with fresh cut
daisies, chocolate chip cookies and other wonderful comforts. A seascape
décor, shimmering pool and hammock grove, where we ogle at the
moon each night, are just a few other enticements for amour. "We
want our guests to feel right at home," shares Karen Maerovitz,
Marketing Coordinator, "and with the help of the Ralph Lauren Design
Team, the property takes on the feel of a cozy Nantucket-style beach
it's hard to pull ourselves away from these five star pleasures, we
yearn to check out other handholding opportunities in this 'tropicool'
hot spot, and a personalized tour with Style Ventures reveals that the
city sizzles with them. Bryn becomes our driving almanac and provides
a sensational synopsis of Miami, unrivalled by any guidebook. "Miami
is the only destination on the continental U.S. to boast year round
sunshine," he informs, "and that's why it's one of the world's
can see that there's truth to this fact. High rise hotels that line
the white sandy shore host scantily clad sun-lovers that laze on lounges
and romp in the surf. The modern maze interconnects with the art deco
treasures of South Beach by a continuous evergreen walkway where people
meander for miles. We cruise the trendy Ocean Drive, boasting a palisade
of pastels and neon that glows long after the sun does, and Bryn shares
notorious landmarks, like the gated mansion of murdered fashion designer,
Versace, and the News Café, where he enjoyed his final cup of
coffee. Today, couples mingle on the same sidewalk eatery that spills
into the gridlock street and there is an undeniably chic feel about
this trendy square mile that embraces the most southern edge of Miami
well as the rich and famous, Miami's sprawled out metropolis hosts a
thriving kaleidoscope of neighbourhoods and multiculturalism. Thick
rooted banyan trees shade our drive through South Florida's oldest settlement
and captivating Bahamian enclave of Coconut Grove. Graced by flowering
hibiscus and jacaranda the neighbouring Coral Gables or 'City Beautiful,'charms
us with dazzling mansions, and Little Havana shares its varied Latin
cultures, boasting a unique flavour all of its own.
and Deering Estate are two of Miami's historical haunts that truly imbibe
the romance of yesteryear. Although both were residences of wealthy
industrialist brothers in the early 1920's, and both boast exceptional
properties fronting the picturesque Biscayne Bay, that's pretty much
where their similarities end. While Vizcaya expresses flamboyancy and
passion for Italian Renaissance throughout its seventy rooms bedazzled
with gilded ceilings, elaborate tapestries, and period pieces, Deering
Estate in its unpretentious, unfettered and serene setting lends a hint
of mystery with its conservative Mediterranean Revival feel. Its four
hundred and fifty acre parcel also encompasses the offshore island of
Chicken Key, and destination point for the night time canoe trip we
sign up for.
together like a pod," our guide instructs, "and if you tip,
don't worry, the water is never over your head." Biscayne Bay is
incredibly shallow and flat and I ponder this forgiving quality, rationalizing
that I probably won't even get my hair wet if we flip.
us are honeymooners, Argentineans, Kansas folk and their children from
Miami, Andy and Carla, and with the promise of a full moon, we slip
our shiny two-man torpedoes into the emerald clear water and start paddling
like merry gondoliers. En route, we sight double-breasted cormorants,
stoic looking herons and a glorious spectrum of colour as the sun falls
from the sky.
we reach Chicken Key the camp fire is burning, the wieners are roasting
and the stars are twinkling above, and the only thing missing to complete
my memory of summer camp is a sing along with Kumbaya. After feasting,
American style, we reflect on nature that abounds. The memory stays
with us long after the fire burns out, long after we push away from
the shores of the tranquil island and long after we paddle back home
by the light of the moon over Miami.
Jane and Brent Cassie are a travel writer/photographer team. Follow their other adventures on their website - www.janecassie.com.