GOOD LIFE: Postcard: Greetings from … Molto Miami

“There’s Mario Batali,” said my companion matter-of-factly, as we walked past the chef on the way out of dinner at the Tides Hotel’s La Marea restaurant. That’s South Beach for you — one minute it’s gorgeous girls in minidresses chattering away in French as they walk up Collins Avenue, and the next, it’s Batali, in his signature shorts and clogs. It seems that Miami, the coolest go-to of the ’90s, still has it going on


“There’s Mario Batali,” said my companion matter-of-factly, as we walked past the chef on the way out of dinner at the Tides Hotel’s La Marea restaurant. That’s South Beach for you — one minute it’s gorgeous girls in minidresses chattering away in French as they walk up Collins Avenue, and the next, it’s Batali, in his signature shorts and clogs. It seems that Miami, the coolest go-to of the ’90s, still has it going on, judging by the general hotness of the people, excellent food, and condos under restoration or construction on every block. (Recession be damned!)

STAY: The pretty Palms South Beach hotel sits right on the beach, a few blocks up from the Delano. With a chic Caribbean vibe, the Palms is all porches and huge green lawns out to the beach and plantation shutters, with boutique-style guest rooms and Ritz-Carlton-esque service and amenities, including a brand-new spa to open this summer. Rooms start at about $400 in season, $240 in summer. 800-550-0505, thepalmshotel.com. (Accommodations can be booked through epoquehotels.com.)

SOAK IN THE SUN: A vivid blue ocean awaits. Take your ­vacation reading to the ­hammocks by the hotel, and swim at the Palms’ own stretch of beach, where attendants bring umbrellas and drinks.

EAT/DRINK: La Marea, the sand-colored, super-chic restaurant at the Tides, was decorated by It Designer Kelly Wearstler, and serves a don’t-miss fettuccine with Maine lobster, mint and cream (1220 Ocean Drive, 305-604-5070.) Nobu is the see-and-be-seen spot for sushi (at the Shore Club Hotel, 1901 Collins Avenue, 305-695-3232), and drinks on one of the sleek gray couches around the Setai pool is an Us Weekly-ish lark (2001 Collins Avenue, 305-520-6000.)

HIT THE SHOPS: Stroll on Lincoln Road, which is lined with boutiques and cafes, including local faves Books & Books, a cafe/bookstore (933 Lincoln Road, 305-532-3222), and Me&Ro Jewelry Boutique (1901 Collins Avenue, 305-672-3566.) Or indulge in a Saks-Neiman-Dior-Gucci run to Bal Harbour, a short cab ride away (9700 Collins Avenue.)

TRAVEL TIPS: Don’t: Rent a car. A cab from the airport is just $32, and you can walk everywhere in South Beach. Taxis are plentiful, too. Do: Bring that dress you’re too shy to wear in Philly. There’s no such thing as too short or too low-cut in Miami! Bonus: Flights start at about $200. A handful of airlines fly nonstop from Philly to Miami, so you’re on the beach within about four hours of takeoff.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.