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Published on Monday, August 13, 2018

Dos and Don'ts of selling Miami Beach

Miami Beach, which is an island connected to Miami by several bridges, is a must-see destination. It's where you'll find the iconic South Beach, the legendary art deo hotels and some of the area's best shops and restaurants. Here are some selling tips:

Do choose the location carefully, as each area has a different vibe. Ocean Drive, facing South Beach, is the busiest spot in Miami Beach and it's here that you'll find the majority of art deco, historic hotels for which Miami is best known, such as Avalon Hotel, the Breakwater and the Starlite. However, the area is like Blackpool in the sun - think wall-to-wall bars blasting loud music, girls and boys in beachwear carrying giant Margaritas, and Mustangs revving in the street. It won't suit everyone.

If your clients want a good hotel in the heart of the action, I'd go for the Loews Miami Beach Hotel on Collins Avenue. It's right on South Beach and is close enough to the bars of Ocean Drive without being too noisy. It also has couple of great restaurants, Prestons, great for lazy breakfasts, and the Lure Fishbar. It has a lovely pool and is only just across the boardwalk from the beach.

For those guests who want a more relaxed vibe and aren't too fussed about being close to Ocean Drive, I'd look at hotels further along Collins Avenue in an area known as Mid Beach, including The Palms Hotel & Spa .

If your clients have deeper pockets and want an historic hotel with a sophisticated, modern twist, look at The Miami Beach EDITION, which is right next door to The Palms, but has a completely different feel. Designer Ian Schrager has totally transformed the original mid 1950s Seville Hotel into a super cool space where every room from the gold columned, white marbled lobby to the famous Matador Room restaurant, where Frank Sinatra and the Brat Pack used to dine, has a wow factor. It also a stylish bar with a view of the ocean and the Basement nightclub with an ice rink and bowling alley, which acts as a magnet for international celebrities.

I recommend a reservation at the Matador Room, where you can dine in the 1940s style circular restaurant or outside on the candlelit terrace, overlooking the most modern of the hotel's two pools. Designed by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the menu is tapas style but with a Latin American/Caribbean twist such as wild Gulf shrimp, charred octopus, lobster with chili lime and butter and pizza with black truffle and Fontina cheese. There's also an extensive cocktail list and a very decent wine cellar, featuring reds and whites from Europe, New Zealand and Chile as well as from California.

Don't recommend car hire for a stay in Miami Beach as overnight parking at the hotels is expensive and you never wait more than a minute or two for an Uber. Suggest clients get a pre-paid currency card to link to their Uber account to avoid paying currency conversion charges on a UK-registered bank card

The only time you really need a hire car is for day trips to the Everglades or the Florida Keys, which can easily be arranged for one or two days from the city. If they do want to hire a car, suggest they upgrade to a Mustang. Yes it's a cliche, but when in Miami.....

Do suggest a guided tour of the iconic art deco hotels in Miami Beach, such as the Park Central, Hotel Beacon, the National, the Delano and The Carlyle, which featured in movies such as The Bird Cage and Scarface. Self-guided audio tours are available daily from the visitor's centre on Ocean Drive. Guided tours operate daily at 10am from Essex House Hotel and at 5pm from the Wolfsonian Museum.

Don't forget to tell clients to take a peek inside the art deco hotels, which is okay as long as they're in small groups. Those with some of the most beautifully restored interiors include the Hotel Astor on Washington Avenue.

Do recommend a trip to the Everglades Natural Park, known as the 'sea of grass' that stretches 100 miles from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico. It's an easy hour's drive from Miami Beach and guests are guaranteed to see some interesting wildlife including alligators and lots of birdlife. Self-drive is the best option, but there are also plenty of coach tours which pick guests up from hotels.

Don't forget that there's more to see and do in the Everglades than the iconic airboat tours, which are noisy, touristy and you don't see nearly as much as you would by taking a stroll inside the park. Better still, recommend heading to Shark Valley, off Highway 41, where you can hire a bike from the Tram Tour Company and cycle along a paved route to an observation tower from where you can see treetops teeming with heron and other birds.

Do recommend a trip to the trendy Wyndwood district in Miami, which is full of art galleries, designer boutiques and decent, local restaurants including the Asian-inspired KYU at 251 NW 25th Street

Don't over-hype the shopping in areas such as Lincoln Drive which, given the poor dollar exchange rate, doesn't offer the value it once did. Don't forget to tell clients they'll have to pay the Florida 7% sales tax at check-out, which isn't included in the advertised prices.

Do suggest a cruise from Bayside over the bridge in Miami, which will give clients a glimpse from the water into the holiday homes of the rich and famous, including the Beckhams', apparently. It's basically property porn on steroids.

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