SLS South Beach Steals the Vacation Scene

SLS South Beach

Beach behind SLS South Beach

SLS South Beach

SLS South Beach

SLS South Beach

Pool at SLS South Beach

SLS South Beach

SLS South Beach


Drinks at Katsuya

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By: Angela Caraway-Carlton

If luxurious beachfront digs with a chic, party-all-day vibe is your kind of getaway — you’ll want to check in to the swanky SLS South Beach. This see-and-be-seen hotel, located in the middle of South Beach and within walking distance to many attractions like Lincoln Road and Espanola Way, has all the makings of a star-studded stay. While the gleaming white Art Deco building was built in 1939, it was recently revamped into a modern-day escape thanks to uber-imaginative French designer Philippe Starck and legendary singer Lenny Kravitz. With whimsical design elements like the famed, ten-foot silver duck that stands tall next to the hotel’s glimmering pool, epic weekend pool parties that last until the wee hours of the morning, and some of the area’s best dining and nightlife options — this hotel boasts a contagious playful attitude, allowing guests to leave all their cares behind. For those who want to splurge on an unforgettable stay, opt for The Suite Life By SBE, a personalized program offering luxury automobiles and five-star experiences, such as a cruise on a VanDutch yacht. Why not? It’s vacation.


Philippe Starck let his imagination run wild throughout the hotel, and when it comes to the 140-guest rooms, you’re in for a magical sleep. The designer channeled the boudoir of Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV’s legendary mistress, and his design reflects the sophistication of old French aristocracy with extravagant chaise lounge chairs and soaking tubs, along with cheeky elements like mirrors on the ceilings. For extra decadence, book the enormous Villa Penthouse or Presidential Penthouse, where Lenny Kravitz’ design was inspired by his world travels and rock-star lifestyle — and the penthouses feature killer views!


Once again, thanks to Starck, dining at SLS is a feast for the eyes — and thanks to some standout chefs, an adventure for the palate. The hotel offers the chance to dine at two of Miami’s buzziest restaurants: The Bazaar, by James Beard award-winning Chef José Andrés; and Katsuya, a Japanese restaurant by Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi, whose acclaimed restaurants have been recipients of top Zagat ratings for years. At The Bazaar, you’ll choose between two distinctly different dining spaces: the rojo room, that like its name implies, glows deep red and is playfully centered by a huge bull’s head on the wall; or the blanca room, with light and modern décor that’s anchored by a stunning chandelier made of seashells. When it comes to what to eat, share from a menu of 60-plus, globally-inspired tapas, many of which are guided by Andrés’ Spanish heritage. Dishes are often presented in unexpected ways, like the croquetas de pollo, rich chicken béchamel fritters, served in a clear shoe; or coconut rice and scallops presented inside a coconut shell — how fun is that? For a taste of Asia, head to hip Katsuya restaurant to feast on innovative sushi and robata dishes; begin the culinary journey with starters like crispy rice topped with spicy tuna and jalapenos and move on to decadent dishes like the wagyu filet with foie gras. If you wish to imbibe, pair your meal with one of the sake flights or handcrafted cocktails, or enjoy rare selections from the Japanese whiskey cart.


While the hotel has two pools, if you really want to see how South Beach parties, head to oceanfront Hyde Beach, an 8,000-square-foot playground for adults, where you’ll see a bikini-clad crowd sunning, splashing and sipping Champagne during the day, and then dancing on the tables after dusk to the beats of the DJ. (Actually, the revelry happens all day, especially at their epic weekend pool parties.) During the day, you can relax on expansive daybeds or inviting cabanas surrounding the pool, while enjoying Katsuya cuisine; then at night, dress to impress and head to the indoor-outdoor club for artful mixology, bottle service and music. Remember, you’re in South Beach — you can sleep when you return home!

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