Certain members of the bling dynasty—Will Smith and Mary J. Blige, to name but two—apparently count the Mandarin as one of their favorite places to chill. It’s far from low-key, however: $100 million was needed to construct the hotel on a small island adjacent to the city’s financial district. Rich fabrics and modern furnishings decorate the rooms, many of which have balconies. Bathrooms are clad in Spanish marble, and some of the suites have their own kitchens. An expansive spa, state-of-the-art fitness center and beach club contribute to the lavishness.
Neighborhood: A mere drive or walk over the Brickell Key bridge drops you in the center of Brickell, a bustling neighborhood that’s quickly morphed from financial district to entertainment hub. Driving and parking are equally deplorable in these parks but the free trolleys along Brickell Avenue and the reliable Metromover system make getting around easy.
Komodo: For celebrity spotting, upscale Chinese food and the best Peking duck in Miami
Brickell City Centre: For shopping, eating, drinking and hanging out—the massive mall straddles North Miami Avenue and offers plenty of areas for relaxing
Sugar: For stunning views that will knock you over and for cocktails, whose alcohol content and price might make you keel over, too
Time Out tip: One of the city’s best brunches is just downstairs at La Mar. You’ll want to wear more than your bathrobe (it’s also one of the city’s nicer restaurants) and bring your biggest appetite for the all-you-can-eat extravaganza that concludes with an adorable artisanal dollhouse stuffed with desserts.