Party in the city where the heat is on. All night on the beach til the break of dawn. Welcome to Miami (bienvenido a Miami)! Don’t you just love this song? Of course you do, it’s Will Smith’s awesomest performance of all time. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that Will Smith was right. About no work, all play. About sipping a little something, leaving the rest to spill, while building up a huge bill at the bar (I paraphrased a little bit here). Anyway, a few weeks ago I flew from Düsseldorf to Miami with AirBerlin. In business class, if you don’t mind me showing off. The German airline renewed their business class, so they needed the.ego.tripper to give his seal of approval. APPROVED!

So, I had never been to Miami before, ladies and gentlemen. All I knew of this city came from Will Smith, Miami Vice and Scarface. I thought this city was all about sun, sea, beach, latina ladies, cocktails, parties and all-inclusive holidays for Europeans. And I was pretty much right, except for the fact Miami turned out to be so much more. For instance: the street art scene. Awmagawd. Never in my life have I seen such a collection of street art. But I’ll tell you more about that in my next post, which will be all about Wynwood (the artsy district of Miami) and the Wynwood Walls.

Back to Miami now, and to be more precise: Miami Beach (which does not actually belong to Miami, but as a tourist you don’t really care about that). Here you’ll find the very impressive art deco district, with dozens of hotels built in this particular style, most of them still going strong since the nineteen thirties and fourties. Brilliant, isn’t it? So colourful, so pretty, so charming. But there’s a lot more going on in this area. Parties, bars, restaurants, cocktail bars, beautiful resorts, … Anything you could wish for as a tourist. Although you should probably be concerned about your money. Miami (Beach) is not a cheap destination, by no means. In a cool cocktail bar you’ll be charged almost 20 dollars for a specialty cocktail, tip not included. To stay in one of those art deco hotels, you’ll be looking at 300 dollars a night, at least, in low season (which is in our summer months). Fine dining will set you back a hell of a lot of money as well.

Luckily one of the cheapest and coolest options to stay, drink and eat is The Freehand Hotel/Hostel, located in one of Miami Beach’s classic 1930s art deco buildings. This might as well be the coolest, most charming hostel I’ve ever seen. In their own cocktail bar, The Broken Shaker, you’ll drink the best cocktails Miami has to offer. And their restaurant ’27’ offers great (often local) food at decent prices. Anyway, I would advise anyone on a budget to stay here.

Another cool place, quite new, is Vintro Hotel & Kitchen in South Beach. This very hip hotel also has a great cocktail bar, a crazy cool rooftop terrace with swimming pool and an amazing restaurant. It’s all a bit more expensive than The Freehand, but it will definitely be worth it. Honestly, in their restaurant I had the best Brussels sprouts ever. And I don’t live to far from Brussels…

Anyway, time to start shutting up now. I know you’re only here for the pictures anyway. Here you are…

(click pictures for slideshow)