The art deco town that is known as SoBe (for South Beach) has been a magnet for the most exotic styles for the past 70 years. It had its downtimes, but since the 1980s, there has been a return of attention and glamour to this stretch of waterfront. The high-point of its fame may well have been when Gianni Versace was tragically shot in 1997 at the gates of his house in this area.
Miami – Simply Fabulous
Today, with its art deco architecture intact and rollerblading beautiful people still on the go, SoBe has re-established itself as a place with a cool nightlife and where the beautiful people go to show off themselves. In fact, joining in the bandwagon of bespoke diets is a new South Beach Diet. For those who want to look — and feel – simply fabulous.
The place’s image begins with its place in the sun. In the early part of the 20th Century, Miami Beach was literally underwater. Thanks to the efforts of real estate entrepreneurs like a man named Carl Fisher, sand was dredged up to create a new “beach”, upon which new buildings for rich vacationers could be built. The style was of course the art deco style then in vogue in northern cities. However, with the place being touted as a sunny getaway, there were bound to be adaptations. The colour palette is dominated by pinks and other bright, uncompromising colours. The hopeful place began life as a rich man’s playground, but as is often the case, once it was found out, more ordinary people started turning up, and the best solution, of course, was to build larger.
There is not much of a beach to speak of today, with most of the sand covered up and built over. People still come to look good. Rent a pair of rollerblades and practice near Ocean Drive. Instruction is readily available from experienced professionals. If you feel that you already look good enough for the beach, then head on with your new swimsuits, for the sand is soft and it is usually sunny. And after you have worked on getting a fit body and tan, go indoors for some recovery therapy at a spa. Massage and skin treatment is top rate here in a city with many stars and wealthy around.
When the sun comes down, the night warms up on South Beach. The Birdcage, a movie starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane as the gay owners of a nightclub in the south beach, attests to the vibrant and “exotic” nightlife here. You may find some genuine Hollywood Stars out on the town on any given night. Otherwise, it might be fashion designers or stars from the Latin world. Miami is in many ways the capital of Latin America, and it has been said that a Mexican is more likely to meet a Brazilian here than in any place in actual Latin America.
South Beach — the inspiration for today’s hot diet
In the 1990’s, there was Miami Vice. More recently, the sequels to Bad Boys and The Fast and Furious were filmed on location around here. The sunlight, seaview and glamorous architecture play its part in weaving movie magic. But it was Calvin Klein, whose campaign for his “Obsession” line of fragrances and cosmetics was filmed here, who claims the major credit for the revival of South Beach glamour. Since then, fashion shoots and shows have made this location an integral part of the circuit. A walk around town might bring you to a photography session of some sort. Fashion shows and major boutiques are held around very often. Gianni Versace did purchase a major property and converted it from a hotel into a mansion he called Casa Casuarina. Famous parties were held with beautiful guests — Madonna and assorted supermodels. The mansion has since been sold by his estate.
So, about the diet. Yes, the latest thing to carry the South Beach label — the eponymous Diet. You can dine and keep to the South Beach Diet anywhere in the world, but then, it would be great to do it in the atmosphere that inspired it, wouldn’t it? But what is the diet about anyway. Well, for full details, you will have to consult the bestselling book by Dr. Arthur Agatston. Essentially, the philosophy is to satisfy your need for food without deprivation. Eating three meals a day, with dessert, but management of the types of food taken. The diet also proposes differentiating the types of carbohydrates to take, shunning highly processed ones for more natural sources. You can follow one of many recipes in the book, but if you are there at the place, you can check out a few establishments here – the China Grill and Joe’s Stone Crab.
Miami is the capital of the cruise ship industry. More cruises either commence or depart from Miami than from any other port city. For a spot of shipspotting, head on to the South Pointe Park, right at the tip of the sandbar they call Miami Beach. If you are embarking on a cruise to a Caribbean paradise, remember to take in a little South Beach magic, wither before or after your sailing.