I’m in Miami B****

Miami Beach is blowing up, to the tourists and New Yorkers welcome to a new kind of Miami Beach. By appearance standards, Miami Beach seems to be doing just fine in the midst of financial crisis. Throughout the last year "the beach" has has been expanding and it's exploded. Luxe hotels, nightclubs, restaurants, stores and galleries have debuted. There is always a party, event or photo shoot to be at, to be seen at. 

The Gansevoort South on Collins Avenue has been up and running since late Fall. In all honesty, no one is that impressed. Phillipe Chow is housed in the Gans and not very good. The Gansevoort South did get one thing right, they picked Roman Jones of the Opium group to run their in-house club. Side note gossip girls, Roman Jones is half brother to DJ Mark Ronson and Samantha Ronson who dates Lindsay Lohan. Jone's club, Louis, is impressive and reminiscent of New York's Tenjune.  The club is ultra exclusive and thank god for that. No sausage-fests but rather beautiful girls and bottles. The nightly minimum for a table in Louis is $1,500 easy. The space is elegant and the bottle girls are actually good-looking and semi-intelligent. Best of all is the open format music, Louis is a dance party until 5 a.m. even on Tuesdays.

As for other major hotels worth mentioning on Miami Beach, there is the Fountainebleau Hotel. The Fountainebleau, which got a $1 billion renovation, hosted the sexy Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on debut night. The Hotel looks straight out of Las Vegas. Fountainebleau's club LIV is enormous, it holds about LIV holds about 900 people nightly. Liv is always a zoo so good advice is to get there early to avoid the masses outside. The Fountainebleau's sushi restaurant slash lounge, Blade, is nice as a lounge only. The restaurant service is horrendous; the food, nothing to talk about; and the entire space wreaks of scummy fish. Do not waste a dinner in Blade. On a brighter note, the pool bar just outside of the restaurant is lovely on warm nights. 

The Mondrian South Beach Hotel makes three. The Mondrian, built on the bay side of Miami Beach not the beach, beach is a Morgans Hotel Group project. MHG owns and operates both the Delano and Shoreclub on "the beach," plus, other luxury hotels worldwide. The next big hotel to look out for is the W hotel set to open up in late spring. The W Hotel has been built from the ground up rather than renovated like neighbor hotel the gansevoort. The W project has been bought into by big names, A-list celebrities, and sports stars. The W Hotel is set to be the next big thing on Miami Beach, a hotspot that should be booked, like now, for your next trip!

As far as new restaurants go, the Mondrian has Asia De Cuba. Famed Miami Beach steak spot Prime 112, just opened Prime Italian. Located just across street, expect to spend wads of money on dinner. Shisho is a new, very tiny, very intimate sushi restaurant on the opposite end of Miami Beach. While the restaurant is something to see and a great place to go saki bomb, the menu is limited. Touch restaurant on Lincoln Road closed but some of the same investors put their money behind a new restaurant named Meat Market. The name sounds ape-ish but the place has cultivated a buzz. Segefrado, the well known coffee bar slash lounge on Miami Beach has expanded once more to South of Fifth or SoFi. Segafredo out-does Starbucks on Miami Beach because the atmosphere is just better. The sangria is to die for and on weekends there is always a DJ on call. 

As for clothing stores on Miami Beach, there are still few and far between. Out with the trashy and in with the more fashionable, higher-end labels. Alchemist on Lincoln Road is probably the only clothing store worth shopping at on Lincoln. A few fresh stores have opened downtown in the design district with a very lower East side, Los Angeles street-vibe.

Hopefully you catch the gist, we are not going to write a book here. The point is to get you to come to Miami Beach to explore the new scene. There are still plenty of soft openings, hard openings and events in between. Feel it out, hit new places up and find your scene. Miami Beach is still developing, growing upand doing good things all the while. 

STK Not Your Daddy’s Steakhouse

Whatever works in one major city usually expands into the next, and such is the case with STK. The original STK steak restaurant was established in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, popularity sent STK bicoastal to Los Angeles. Now, the sexy steakhouse is making its way to Miami Beach. STK is set to open-up in the Gansevoort South Hotel, this Spring. STK has a lot of hype to live up to, so good luck. Prime 112, Tuscan, and the Forge are already Miami Beach steak staples but room can always be made for a new prime cut.

Get Your Head Straight: The Wonderment of Art Basel is Here

This week some 50,000 plus people will show up for the sixth annual Art Basel event in Miami. If you're not sure which hotels to frequent, parties to hit up or people to see, let us guide you towards your scene.

For the next-generation art amassers and John Currins of the world, hole-up downtown at the Four Seasons Hotel. You will be in good art collecting company with the likes of Jerry Speyer, Asher Edelman, Michael Lynne, Eli Broad, Beth Rudin De Woody, Steve Cohen, and Peter Brant. Go to the New Art Dealers Alliance fair, which opens this Friday through the weekend. The NADA fair will have stellar exhibits from hot young galleries like New York’s Rivington Arms and Daniel Reich. The fair will host a mega-benefit for the New Museum on New York’s Bowery, which will include a performance by San Fran- rockers Deerhoof. Art collector's should be seen at the after-party for the private screening of the Lou Reed film Berlin, directed by Julian Schnabel.

The actual artists will headquarter at the Raleigh Hotel which is party central. Don't look shocked if you see epic names of the art world like Damien Hirst, David LaChapelle, Jack Pierson, Aaron Young, Kehinde Wiley, Terence Koh, and Doug Aitken partying impromtu throughout the hotel. Paper Magazine is hosting the party at Raleigh Oasis on Decemeber 4th and the next night, Deitch Projects will kick off at the Raleigh with a concert by CoCo Rosie. The same night D.J Spooky will perform during the Rubell Family Collection dinner which commences the SCOPE fair film and lecture series. SCOPE celebrates the as-yet-uncelebrated and provocative artists, the fair has discounted exhibition space for new galleries in its ‘Breeders’ section. On December 6th, the Raleigh will hold the book launch party for Bob Colacello's OUT. Then on the 7th,Tamara Mellon will host a dinner at the Raleigh Ballroom to toast the limited edition handbags designed by Jimmy Choo and artist Richard Phillips.

If you're more into star gazing then gazing at art then join celebrities at the Setai Hotel, up the street from the Raleigh. Rumored to be in Miami this week is Dennis Hopper, David Byrne, Steve Martin, Lou Reed, maybe Keanu Reeves and Russell Simmons. We bumped into Russell Simmons and girlfriend/ model Porschia Coleman last Wednesday at Nobu. Russell told us he loves the Setai and is staying in town for his December 8th soiree with Allison Weiss Brady at Intermix. The party benefits Simmons' charity Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. A tip to the paparazzi, be at the Sotheby's dinner made by French chef Pierre Gagnaire which will honor contemporary Asian art.  Celebrities will also hide away in Lenny Kravitz's underground, speakeasy the Florida Room in the Delano Hotel.

The Fashionistas will takeover the Ritz-Carlton. Fashion people like Donna Karan, Laudomia Pucci, Vivienne Tam, Kenzo, Calvin Klein, Nadia Swarovski, and Tamara Mellon should be seen at the Cartier crystal Dome. The Cartier Dôme features the brand's most celebrated jewelry collection and rarest time pieces. Sip champagne and gawk at the gems from Wednesday to Sunday, 2-8pm and Thursday, 2-4pm. Spot fashion people frequenting Prime One Twelve, South of Fifth Street and Blade restaurant in the Fontainebleau Hotel.

Members of the suits like UBS’s Karl Schweizer; Citicorp’s Mary Hoeveler; execs of Campari, Cartier, and BMW will be working over the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Biscayne. Look for these high profile people at the UBS banquet where there will be tons of free food and drinks ya'll. You will be able to pick the suits out by the looks on their sad little facing saying, "can I afford this art and will I even be able to afford food next year?"

As for the locals, this is your domain so spread out and suck it in.  Over 200 galleries will be here personifying the biggest names in contemporary art.  The Art Positions section will features 20 art projects exhibited in shipping containers on the beach at Collins Park. Do not miss the Cartier Art Guest Lounge and Dome, designed by architecht Jean Nouvel. Definitely don't miss the Visionaire SOUND lounge at the Raleigh Hotel Thursday night, it will be one of the biggest parties of the week. You will be able to listen to audio works done by David Byrne, Robert Wilson, Cat Power, Cindy Sherman, U2, and Courtney Love. If your head is spinning that sucks, but get it together because there is much more than this going on. Like we said it's an epic week in Miami so we will say it again, get it together and get out there, explore the wonderment of Art Basel. Oh and drink up, liquor companies sponsor most events and it's on the house. 

Sexy Victoria Babes and the Beach: Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on Miami Beach

The oh-so-popular Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is almost here and by here, we mean next week in Miami Beach (our hometown!). The 2008 sexed-up show will broadcast from the revamped Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. The Fontainebleau Hotel is one of the most legendary and architecturally stunning hotels on the Beach. Built in 1954, and originally designed by Morris Lapidus, the Fontainebleau was hailed as one of the most luxurious of its time.  

The Fontainebleau Miami Beach sits oceanfront at 4441 Collins Avenue, the hotel was purchased in 2006 by the restored Fontainebleau Resorts Firm.  Fontainebleau Resorts then set out to give the hotel a $1 billion dollar facelift over the next two years, taking vigilant care to preserve the circa 1950's design elements like the famous "staircase to nowhere." The renovated Fontainebleau will debut with a 40,000 square foot spa, two brand new towers (Chateau and Versailles), 15,000 rooms, 11 restaurants and lounges, three nightclubs and an oceanfront "poolscape" with several pools. Plus, iMac computers in the ritzier rooms. If that wasn't specific enough for you and you're into name dropping, then here you go... Just to name a few,  the Fountainebleau will feature: Gotham Steakhouse, Sprezza Italian restaurant, Hakkasan a Cantonese restaurant, LIV Nightclub, Blade Sushi bar and Glow the Pool Bar. Fun factoid, President elect  Barack Obama also stayed at the Fontainbleau Miami Beach on a recent campaign tour of South Florida. 

The remodeled and refashioned hotel brings us back to models and fashion. The Fontainebleau Hotel's behemoth grand opening will be kicked off by the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on November 14. A virgin to Miami Beach, the famed lingerie runway show will be taped and broadcast by CBS for the sixth year in a row. The show will air on Wednesday, December 3 at 10:00 - 11:00 P.M ET/PT on CBS for all those not in attendance for the actual show, which was by invite exclusively.

We look forward to seeing Victoria's Secret supermodels Heidi Klum, Adriana Lima, Marisa Miller, Miranda Kerr (also on this months issue of OceanDrive Magazine) and an army of other seductive Angels. Plus, Miami Beach will be flocking with celebs and games of whose who. Television audiences will get to see musical performances, red carpet interviews, model profiles and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of one of the world's most eminent fashion shows a.k.a a totally commercialized circus. Past musical performances have been the Spice Girls, Justin Timberlake, Seal, Sting, and Mary J. Blige. This year Usher is rumored to be the main musical guest performance. Here's to hoping the $1 bill Fontainebleau Hotel Miami Beach looks as hot as the supermodels. We are keeping our fingers crossed and we will be there to keep you posted, you know you're totally jealous!


New York Stays Solid in Great Depression-ish Recession

As the rest of the Country suffers through the poor economic state, Manhattan appears unscathed. Of course, appearances may be somewhat deceiving but after what we saw this past weekend in New York City, it seems like wealthy New Yorker's haven't had to scale back at all. Mayor Michael Bloomberg since taking office in 2002, managed to turn the big city's $6 billion deficit into a $3 billion surplus. We are starting to believe Bloomberg is a magician. He launched a program called Opportunity NYC which is the nation's first-ever conditional cash transfer pilot program to help New Yorkers break the cycle of poverty in Manhattan. Bloomberg also instituted a $7.5 billion municipal affordable housing plan, the largest in the nation, providing 500,000 New Yorkers with housing. Bloomberg is concerned about poverty and growing class divisions. He believes that our "Society cannot go forward, the way we have been going forward, where the gap between the rich and the poor keeps growing." Then again, maybe New York is just depression retardent.

When we say the city is unscathed it has a lot to do with our experience last weekend. All we saw was big dinner bills, crowded five star hotels and mega-shopping sprees engulfing us.  The famous flagship store Saks Fifth Avenue on Fifth and 49th already occupied an entire city block and didn't need but got a new expansion. The entire eighth floor now houses an epic high-end shoe collection, one of the biggest ever.  The "shoe" floor is actually so huge it has its own zip code, no joke.  Stocked through with Christian Louboutin, Prada, Valentino, Miu Miu, Giuseppe Zanotti, and Chanel, get the point yet? It's bananas, a gluttonous array of stilettos, boots, sandals, high heels, etc. Roger Vivier's for $575 to $1,700 gold lizard Christian Louboutin's and those were modest, rich girls go crazy!

For the ultra wealthy man, we didn't forget you. New York City has plenty that guys were splurging on, like an $18,000 table at Tenjune nightclub.  What really caught our attention, though, was the brand new Tom Ford for Men store at 845 Madison Avenue and 70th Street. The two-story, 10,000-sqaure-foot flagship was a glorified bachelor pad, dripping with sex. Since saving the Gucci House with his sexually provocative designs, then departing in 2004, Tom Ford has re-entered the fashion world with a bang of luxurious menswear. 

Prices are unapologetically exorbitant, a move that makes materialism and self-indulgence blush. Off-the-rack suits started at $3,000, a dinner jacket for $5,690 and beaver top hat with price upon request.  There are cashmere-silk-blend sweaters, noir-color trench coats for $3,990, Chelsea boots for $1,390, oh and crocodile boots for $13,900. Day shirts range from $350 to $795 plus, and are available in two body shapes, 10 collars, two cuffs (barrel or French), 350 colors and 35 fabrics. That is 400,000 different day shirts before you even consider monogramming. If you can't find what you want (which we doubt) or just want to spend more money, customize your Tom Ford. Yup, anything from Tom Ford underwear to fragrances can be customized to fit you and your taste. 

Forget the clothes for a moment, a cast-bronze crocodile reception desk sits in the store entrance, beaver rugs run rampant throughout (wink), and Lucio Fontant artwork decks the walls. Not to mention, the numerous ateliers, butlers, seamstresses and maids constantly walking the luxurious premise only to service you. There's a secret elevator with upholstered walls, fireplaces, a bar and silk smoking jackets for $3,900,  which Mr. Ford refers to as dressing gowns. Tom Ford has essentially created a new version of luxury that doesn't take into account a poor economy outside the city.

Is this a clear picture of just how unaffected the city seems? Whether it's Bloomberg, highly concentrated pockets of wealth, or magic, New York City seems to be in an unbreakable bubble of prosperity. The rich are still rich in New York and staying that way.

Continuum Condominiums Continue Notable Trend

If luxury is all you crave then the Continuum on South Beach is the place for you. The Continuum residencies, located in the chic South of Fifth (SOFI) neighborhood, are resort style living developments on some seriously desired beach front property. There are two towers built by the legendary Ian Bruce Eichner. The South which was completed in 2002 and the North which was first launched in 2004. The 37-story, 193-unit, North Tower was completed just last year and remains our love on the beach. 

Floor plans range from 1,200 square-foot one-bedrooms to 4,000-square-foot four-bedroom residencies, to a 7,000 square foot penthouse with movie theatre. Unit ceilings are grand, notions of exclusivity are felt and the classiness, simplicity and space can't be overlooked.  The Sales for the North tower are projected beyond $355 million.

Besides the private white sand beach right outside your door, there is a full service beach club with furniture and cabanas. Swim in the enormous lagoon shaped pools, play tennis on one of three har-tru courts, or take lunch on The Patio with to die for tuna tartare. Outdoor amenities alone wouldn't cut it, thank god the Continuum offers a 20,000 foot state of the art fitness center and spa. Get a private trainer, take a plethora of exercise classes, then hit up the ucalyptus steam room, redwood sauna, heated whirlpool, or  coldplunge.  Better yet, get a message or any spa treatment in the blink of an eye. Relax by the rooftop infinity pool and sundeck, and take in the unobstructed Miami Beach views.

In short the Continuum has some serious amenities and modern living quarters. To live as on constant vacation is the primary goal and the Continuuum Residencies surpass, every moron out should only be so lucky.  

A Chilled, High-Tech Ice Cube by Veuve Clicquot

Ice boxIt's the small things in life that count.  In this case a pretty small thing just got pretty luxurious.  Who knew an ice bucket could get luxurious?  Leave it to Veuve Clicquot who in association with Porsche Design, are launching a unique concept in the form of an ice bucket.  After 5 years of research and development, the ice bucket just went hi-tech. That's right you put a bottle of champagne (or whatever quenches your thirst) inside this ice-box and after about 20 minutes voile, you have a chilled bottle. Your bottle will stay chilled for at least 4 hours after removing it. At the end of the day for a chilled drink in style, opt for the Veuve Clicquot ice-box, it will be available in 2009. 

There is a God, The W Hotel Coming to South Beach Miami Florida

Upon completion this Spring the new, lavish W Hotel will be the most outrageous space on Miami Beach.  Mark our words, when the W Hotel opens on March 1, 2009 it will be an awakening, great for the tourists and sad for the competing hotels. The W's high brand name, along with Startwood Hotel's experience, attention to glam and impeccable service will result in one of the most fabulous hotel to hit Collins Avenue.  The sales office is to die for and the architectural models look bananas, the project is coming along on schedule and reservations will be taken as early as December for the March opening.  All 395 rooms will have Atlantic Ocean views thanks to some serious architectural prowess.

Those who didn't buy in the W will have to wait for re-sales (if there are any) because the building is sold out. The W Hotel & Residencies is in the heart of South beach on prime, prime real estate but we wouldn't expect less from the 5 star powerhouse. Dine at the chic Mr. Chow or Serafina Restaurants, pamper yourself at Bliss® Spa, bask in the Living Room on the Ocean or play in the WET® pool.

Some of the most fabulous celebrities and wealthiest jetsetters will reside in the Penthouses and bungalows, which feature the best of resort living.  Live luxuriously from the signature W bed to fully wired technology and the fabulously notorious Whatever/Whenever® service. Each room is furnished to the nines.  Owners are offered a W package of fine glass wear, silver wear and a few other nicks and knacks for almost $20,000, the point is that no cost is too steep. Experience state-of-the-art aesthetics and rich comfort in the W Hotel, coming soon.

Haute Luxe Birthed on Miami Beach in 2009

Miami FashionCalling all World Class Jet-setters to Miami Beach. Socialites already know that Miami Beach is the scene to be seen in every winter, Miami is the only island-city in the country with warm winters, a pulse of change, poise, enlightenment and elite lifestyles. With white sand beaches, the upscale Bal Harbour Shops, and a vibrant nightlife it is no surprise that the glamorous Miami Beach locale has been chosen to debut Haute Miami.  Haute Miami is the first ever uber-luxe exhibit of its kind in the United States and will debut from January 8th - 11th, 2009.  

Haute Miami has an expansive, high class roster of 160 renowned, international exhibitors featuring contemporary and classic fashion, jewelry, art, design, exotic yachts, airplanes, personal helicopters, new technology in many forms, and an emphasis on "going green" including solar powered vehicles, Haute Miami is certain to awe even the luxury spoiled, savvy Miami Beach locals. Haute Miami will be in the Miami Beach Convention Center and will run concurrently with SeaFair.  SeaFair is a private megayacht that will be part of the Haute Miami expo, it will host a selection of invitation-only events.   At 228 feet, SeaFair, is the 4th largest private American Luxury Yacht in the Country and that deserves some good old fashioned American patriotism ya'll.

exotic cars

The venue will host 28 auxiliary exhibitors in private galleries and features a gourmet restaurant, champagne/caviar lounge and a spacious sky deck. SeaFair will be docked on Millionaire’s Row and can be accessed by shuttles from the Convention Center.  The custom built $40M exposition vessel will serve as a networking hub and private venue for many of Haute Miami’s most exclusive events.  Haute Miami imitates successful luxury fairs from Europe and Asia and will bring new buzz and glamour to the famed winter season in Miami Beach.  To align with Miami's chilled out atmosphere, Haute Miami at the Convention Center will offer extended hours operating Wednesday – Saturday evenings until 11PM and will feature nighttime events.

Miami“Haute Miami and SeaFair both represent entirely new paradigms in American fairs.  Both will be fabulous new luxury lifestyle events for even the most sophisticated visitors,” said David Lester founder of this exposition. “We look forward to welcoming discerning, local and international attendees to our extraordinary, new event in January." We can barely wait!  Stay with us for up to the minute updates about Haute Miami.

Dine with Danny Devito on Miami Beach!

For those who don't know, Danny Devito is a famous Hollywood actor and now add successful restauranteur to his resume.  His new Italian restaurant, obviously named Devito, is a neuvo style Italian restaurant located on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach.  Last Monday we decided to dine at Devito's for a birthday dinner and although it wasn't our first time there, we hadn't been back since the restaurants opening. Devitos

The five star restaurant wasn't packed but that's normal for South Beach in the summer, especially on a week night. When the South Beach season kicks off again in mid-October, life will pick up through those winter months and you probably won't even be able to get into Devito's for dinner. The first time we tried Devito's we were dinning with Harry Morton, the heir to the Morton Steakhouse conglomerate and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casinos, oh and his good friend Paris Hilton.  Ms. Hilton demands attention and usually gets what she wants; she loves to be seen on the Miami Beach scene. That particular night she appreciated being seated in a large booth, right in the middle of all the Devito dining action.

There are three main dining areas at Devito's, the outside patio on Ocean Drive which was too hot for us in August.  The first floor dining room featuring the main bar and dramtic high ceilings. The main dining room, which we dined in last Monday has large comfy, white booths, kings throne-esque red chairs and gorgeous, modern light fixtures.  The atmosphere at Devito's is comfort meets style in a classy Italian eatery, which happens to be perfect for the local Miamians.  This five star restaurant lives up to its reputation as the service is attentive, the bar is always stocked and the food is extremely expensive. Devito

High society people in Miami love an expensive meal just as long as the food is exquisite.  Trust us it's A-grade all the way. The Italian food at Devito was on par with how your old Sicilian grandmother used to make it. The bread platter was a sampler of olives, bread, oils, and peppers which complimented the famed meatball appetizer.  The salads were fresh and the raw bar platter was even fresher.  We basically ordered everything on the menu, from the ridiculously tender Kobe beef to the fried calamari and then Seabass with lump crabmeat on top. We loved it all and then agreed that our standout favorite was the pasta. For the heat seeker, the lobster Diavolo pasta was spicy, spicy, and insanely good while the penne a la vodka was yummy. Hungry yet? Don't worry you won't gain a million pounds, the portions aren't classic large, Italian family style but rather perfectly sized.  Portion control is an absolute restaurant essential when living in the uber body conscious land of Miami Beach.  We appreciate when the kitchen portions out our food properly so we don't eat it or waste it, Devito is American-Italian done right. 

Our dessert was phenomonal, we thoroughly enjoyed the banana zepollis and the dark chocolate mousse left us speechless. We washed it all down with espresso, cappacinos and good conversation.  All in all it was a fabulous meal and we will be back again, sooner rather than later this time.