(Photo provided by Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Miami Beach has been an icon in our gay lives for decades. We visited Grandma in the 70’s, were seduced by the addictive glamour of “Vice” in the 80’s, partied like it truly was 1999, and embraced Euro chic elegance in the new millennium. Beyond seducing with an average temperature of 76 degrees, the world’s largest concentration of Art Deco architecture, and a culture that is at once American, European and Latino, South Beach is once again reinventing itself. Serving up new hotels, attractions, and a fresh tourism slogan encouraging you to “Express Yourself,” Miami Beach has something unique to offer this decade, and it goes something like this…
You’ve come a long way, baby. And so has your hotel. Last year, the Lords Hotel South Beach launched the new gay boutique hotel for our generation: fun, flirty, and (gasp!) affordable. Capturing the brightness of the Sunshine State with vivid colors, modern design and a playful vibe, the Lords Hotel dares you to not have a good time. Enter the lobby and greet a 9-foot-tall polar bear sculpture; chill by/in any of the three plunge pools; savor the eclectic dining options at the Cha Cha Rooster restaurant; or sip a signature cocktail at the hotel’s Absolut-inspired bar. Just leave your attitude at baggage claim, because at the Lords everyone is royalty. And with Cabana rooms under $150, “Rooms That Matter” donating ten percent of proceeds to an LGBT charity, and Penthouses with private terraces to delight even the most sophisticated traveler, the bohemian-chic Lords Hotel is inviting gay Miami to a place where we can all mingle.
Escalade? Bentley? Prius? Regardless of how you roll, Miami Beach now offers a more eco-friendly alternative. Since launching in March, DECOBike, the Official City of Miami Beach Bike Sharing & Rental Program, has expanded to now offer over 1,000 bicycles, parked at solar-powered bike-sharing stations three blocks apart—available 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year, for rent by the hour, day or month. And to further entice, each DECOBike is custom-designed with an extra cushy seat for your comfort, a front basket for your goodies, and a bell for added fanfare.
Since the Mediterranean Revival style of the 1920’s, the Art Deco boom of the 30’s and 40’s, and the Miami Modern design of the 1960’s and beyond, Miami Beach architecture has continually evolved to complement the city’s growth. With the opening of the Frank Gehry designed New World Center in January, Miami Beach has set a new standard of architectural genius. Built as the artistic home of the New World Symphony (America’s Orchestral Academy), the Center houses a flexible, state-of-the-art performance hall designed to support everything from solo recitals to concerts by the New World Symphony’s full orchestra, in fourteen distinct configurations of stage and seating. The building’s exterior expands the audience viewing capacity with a giant, 7,000-square-foot projection wall, able to share performances with fans on the lawn of the adjoining 2.5-acre urban park, the Miami Beach Soundscape.
Equally impressive, the New World Symphony is not only developing the next generation of classical musicians, but also exposing a new generation to classical music, with innovative programs such as “Pulse: Late Night at the New World Symphony.” On these special nights, the concert hall transforms into a club space, alternating live instrumental performances by the Symphony Fellows with DJ sets of electronic music. Thump to the beats, dance with the crowd, and explore a New World of classical music.
Don’t go for second best, baby. Miami Beach has put your love to the test. And you know, you know you’ve got to… GO! A gay mecca for decades, South Beach is blessed with warm weather, hot boys and a sizzlin’ scene. It never ceases to impress, and, even more importantly, always continues to surprise. With the new hotels, alternative forms of public transportation, and world-renowned architecture unveiled in the last year, the city is poised to reign for yet another era. Moving beyond circuit parties and minimalist design, the latest vibe of Miami is friendly, sexy and culturally enriching in completely innovative ways. Pack your Speedo and a smile and get ready to “Express Yourself,” Miami style.
This article was originally published in Out Traveler:
… And click here to listen to my radio interview about Miami with Toronto’s Proud FM.