Travel back to 1940s Miami Beach
Neon lights and towering façades. Pastel pinks and turquoise hues. Palm-lined streets pulsing with energy and golden-age glamour. Beneath its dreamy subtropical allure, this island city’s rich creative culture awaits. And as the home of the world’s largest collection of Art Deco buildings, it’s simple to tour the streets of this ‘billion-dollar sandbar’ and discover the historical side of Miami Beach.
The island’s most dazzling Art Deco gems also happen to house some of the best hotels in Miami Beach. Back in 1940, architect Anton Skislewicz designed The Plymouth. A bold move at the time, it quickly became an icon of buzzing Collins Avenue. Its narrow-slit windows and frontal spear give it a mysterious yet futuristic appeal. While inside, its recently-revived 1940s charm is a thing of undeniable beauty. From the Ennerdale floor tiles to the pastel-pink parasols lining the private beach ¬– at The Plymouth, you’ll feel you’ve stepped into a clubhouse fit for 1950s film stars.
Once you’ve checked in and checked out your home-away-from-home, you can begin your Art Deco tour of Miami Beach. From your hotel, you’re just a few steps away from The Bass, Miami’s contemporary art museum. An Art Deco statement in its own right, this 1930s building is covered in fossilised Palaeolithic coral, adding a historical feel to this modern art hub. Inside, thought-provoking exhibitions unfold all year round – from the conceptual right through to the classic. Often hosting landmark shows that see international artists exhibiting in America for the first time, it’sits proof that Miami Beach has always been ahead of the creative curve.
Captivating Collins Avenue – the main stretch for Art Deco developments in Miami Beach – has a sun-soaked Americana glamour that feels straight out of the movies. Bright whites, hazy hues and symmetrical designs stand tall on your right. While Atlantic swells lap at the South Beach shores on your left. Stop off in Española Way for a small slice of Latin American history. While you’re here, take a seat in Havana 1957 Cuban Cuisine for a cool mojito and fresh Floridian lobster. All before setting off in search of more Art Deco inspo.
Just a five-minute stroll from the restaurant is The McAlpin – the most photographed building in South Beach. Perfectly encapsulating Art Deco design, the windows are framed by salmon-pink accents, while turquoise lines run the length of the building. Like most places along this stretch, it’s just as dazzling at night. But we’d recommend an afternoon visit so you can really soak in the striking colours.
No matter where you go in Miami Beach, you won’t be short of photo ops. And your next stop, the 8th Street Designer District, is just as photogenic as the rest. This place is a haven for Art Deco architecture, with cool classics and fresh revivals lining the roads. It’s also a great spot to splash out in high-end boutiques and thriving independents.
Just off Ocean Drive sits the Art Deco Museum, housing a concentrated collection of Miami’s rich architectural past. Opened by the Miami Design Preservation League, this museum will give you a better understanding of the city’s heritage and vibrant community culture. And as well as Art Deco, you’ll learn about the two other design styles that are scattered throughout the city – Mediterranean Revival and Miami Modern. A trip here is the ideal place to end your Art Deco tour. And as the sun sinks behind the city, head back to The Plymouth or The Betsy South Beach for a cocktail by the pool.