Miami nice

| March 10, 2011
The master bath at One Bal Harbour Resort & Spa.

The master bath at One Bal Harbour Resort & Spa.

A trip to Miami Beach is always at the top of my list for a long weekend retreat. Miami Beach, North and South, are continually evolving and there’s always something new to see.

Like most Northerners, I usually stay somewhere on Collins Avenue, which runs along the Atlantic from North Miami Beach to infamous South Beach. The famous road is lined with skyscraper resorts and residences, gorgeous boutique hotels and exclusive beach clubs.

Unlike New York housewife, Bethanny Frankel, who stays closer to the action at Aqualina Resort on Collins Avenue, we opted for the elegant style and demure old-world service of One Bal Harbour Spa & Resort, located further north of the hustle and bustle. This gorgeous hotel is just a short ride away from the internationally acclaimed Bal Harbour Shops, an upscale, open-air mall known for its collection of luxury retail and see-and-be-seen eateries. (Bethanny was one of many celeb sightings.)

It's easy to feel like a celebrity as a guest at the Versace Mansion.

It's easy to feel like a celebrity as a guest at the Versace Mansion.

Once we experienced some much needed luxury, it was time to take a taxi past all the elegant resorts to the more celebrated and famous area of Miami, South Beach or SoBe. Known for its Art Deco style buildings, South Beach is a melting pot of shopping, dining, people watching and of course, a little partying thrown in. Ocean Drive, home to many famous eateries and nightclubs, is the most talked about area due to its sheer number of hip celebs and beautiful people who populate the street from morning to night.

The Villa by Barton G., formerly a 19,000-square-foot mansion belonging to Gianni Versace, boasts one of the most exceptional and historic-laden dining experiences on Ocean Drive or anywhere in South Beach. Dinner and a tour of the grand house is worth the wait – entry is by advanced reservation only and must be made at least eight weeks out.

Renowned event impresario and restaurateur, Barton G. Weiss, purchased the home and picked up where fashion-designer Versace left off with an additional $1 million renovation to the estate that only enhanced the luxury and elegance in which Versace and his family lived.

Night life is hopping at The Clevelander on Ocean Drive.

Night life is hopping at The Clevelander on Ocean Drive.

In the dining room, Barton G. (yes he’s Kenny G’s older brother) developed an inspired menu of refined continental cuisine, which results in a to-die-for menu featuring exquisite entrees like whole Dover sole and organic veal mignon and cheek. We didn’t choose the sole, but the veal was buttery beyond words.

I opted for The Villa Salad, which was yummy with artichokes, anchovies and a unique frozen Caesar dressing. Our choice of appetizer was soy cured bigeye tuna, with tasty (and tiny) compressed cucumber and shimeji mushrooms.

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Category: Around Town

About the Author (Author Profile)

Shari Baughman
In addition to her duties as a society columnist and photographer, Shari Baughman handles business and community relations for The Voice-Tribune.

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