Miami is one of the key cities of Florida. The Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Everglades, a natural region of subtropical wetlands on the other has restricted Miami’s metropolitan area from expanding in width and caused it to stretch out at both ends instead. Extensive green spaces, good air quality and the city’s strong focus on cleanliness and the minimising of pollution makes it one of the most sanitary cities of America.
Miami experiences a subtropical climate which makes it warm and rainy throughout the year. June to September is the hottest time of year. Additionally, June to November is the hurricane season and there is a good chance of being caught under a torrential shower during this period. The best time to visit Miami is between March and May, when it’s sunny but not too hot.
Flagler’s railroad rolled into Miami in 1896 and with it brought a wave of progress and expansion which continued for the next century. Except for a little setback in the period of the World Wars, the city has continued to flourish as a commercial and financial centre. The success of Art Basel Miami in December and the Art Deco Weekend in January has brought Miami into the spotlight of the design world.
A Fairytale Stay
Fantasy turns into reality in Miami’s most avant-garde hotel – the Mondrian South Beach. Glittering crystals of enormous chandeliers welcome bejewelled patrons walking towards the pristine white lobby. A floating black staircase, gigantic golden bells, table-leg like columns and oversized furniture create a fairy-tale like ambience. The floor-to-ceiling windows frame the Biscayne Bay beyond and blend the sea into the hotel interior.
Taking advantage of being the only hotel in this part of Miami, the Mondrian has been fitted with a sunset lounge. Onyx stools, antiques, golden candelabras create ideal environs to relax in and take in the view of the downtown skyline of Miami. The fairytale theme continues outside into the lush gardens dotted with cabanas, hammocks and lounging spaces.
The drama is not restricted to the common areas, it continues into the guestrooms as well. The white colour palette is infused with glass pieces in colours of the sunset in tune with the hotel’s location. Blue and white Dutch porcelain tiles and showerheads that mimic chandeliers are some other elements that add eccentricity to the room layout. Most rooms are equipped with balconies to help take advantage of the marvellous vistas.
Designer Marcel Wanders intended the Mondrian to be reminiscent of Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Whimsical accessories, odd-sized furniture, use of gold and jewel-tones against a neutral palette help create a glamorous, romantic, fairy-tale like ambience.
From a blacksmith’s shop that created iron gates and sculptures for Miami’s elite in the 1920’s to a restaurant and casino which entertained Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Jackie Gleason amongst others in the 1930s to one of Miami’s most renowned steakhouses and wine cellar today, The Forge has had many a makeover.
The 6,000 square-foot area is divided into many customised spaces. Blonde tinted wood and smoked mirrors, upholstered high-backed metal chairs and octopus-like lilac and white chandeliers make up the interiors of this restaurant where even too much is not too much!
Park And Shop
1111 Lincoln Road may be termed as a car-park, but its modern, open-air design is intended to be more than just a space to park cars. The building has no exterior wall and the angular exterior cut-outs ensure that natural light floods the interiors.
The project has been designed to integrate retail, residential, dining and parking facilities. A branch of the chain of boutiques, Alchemist, an already well known name with Miami’s well-heeled set is housed on the fifth floor. All its walls are either windows or mirrors, allowing the exterior and interior to interact seamlessly.
Glory Of The Past
Industrialist James Deering’s winter home, Vizcaya was modelled along the lines of a European palace. Now a museum, it is an important raconteur of a part of American history.
A foliage and fountain lined walkway leads to the house that has now been converted into a museum. It houses art, furniture, sculptures and artefacts from the 15th century to early 19th century, sourced from across the world. The grounds of the house are laid out with 10 acres of gardens designed in the Italian Renaissance style.
Text By Himali Kothari