Reinventing Miami: Soho Beach House

Above (top): The Bayside Soho room, the Soho Beach House pool and an aerial shot of the Soho Beach House rooftop / Above (bottom): Cecconi's Italian Restaurant  and the Cowshed Spa inside the Soho Beach House in Miami (Photos courtesy of: Soho Beach House)
Above (top): The Bayside Soho room, the Soho Beach House pool and an aerial shot of the Soho Beach House rooftop / Above (bottom): Cecconi's Italian Restaurant and the Cowshed Spa inside the Soho Beach House in Miami (Photos courtesy of: Soho Beach House)

In 2010, there was something big brewing down south. The Marriott Group bought a new South Beach property for $57.5 million, setting real estate ablaze. Art Basel Miami – in its lucky seventh year – was making international waves and attracting big boldfaced names. It was also the year Soho Beach House opened on legendary Collins Ave, the catalyst for what many will tell you has become the “New Miami”: fresh, surprising, and, yes, a little decadent. In fact, those exact words describe what it’s like to ditch the office and spend your workweek at the Beach House instead.

The property is impressive compared to its close neighbours, occupying the historic art deco building previously known as the Sovereign hotel, with a splashy facelift and a heavy import of cultural clout. Although Soho is known for its whole private member’s club shtick – which, trust me, is not as off-putting as it sounds – anyone is welcome to book one of over 50 rooms spread out over a main building a new beachfront tower. Rooms like The Bayside (pictured) start at $585 per night – and they’re among the best in the building, with oversized King beds, slick concrete finishes and unique antique pieces. They also offer views of the Bay (meaning they face the street) and the city skyline. For an upgrade, try one of six Beachside rooms ($1,575 per night), which are 1,515-square-feet of luxury and take up the top floors of the hotel. These open-concept mini-palaces have two large terraces, floor-to-ceiling windows and ocean views for miles, or days. (And you’d bet that the marble tub certainly kicks our rainforest shower’s little ass.) The mini-bar isn’t so mini either: full bottles of your favourite liquors, treats for every taste bud, organic ginger ale – you name it, they have it. Indeed, the rooms are stocked sensibly, with complimentary everything, from the latest magazines, top-of-the-line toiletries and, yes, even condoms.

The House amenities are equal parts erratic and relaxing, in the best ways possible. The main floor features a 100-foot private pool with loungers on each side for a sun/no sun option, there’s a private beach with beds that come with fully-stocked coolers of Evian, coconut water, and fruits. (And, yes, these treats are gratis.) There’s also lounge-side service in both areas, so you can have your Pinot or your guac without breaking a sweat. The influx of clientele the House attracts (for good reason, too) is an eclectic mix of low-key vacationers and high-maintenance local Soho members, almost to an annoying degree. The weekend seems to see the worst of it. For example, when you’re sitting on the beach, you don’t want to hear some chick talk about Snapchat-ing fishtail braid pics until your ears bleed. But she’s a House member and so you’re at her mercy just as much as she’s at yours. During the week, the vibe seems to slow down and it’s a little more like paradise again. That’s when you can actually enjoy the decadence: daily yoga classes, a screening room, a full gym with that ocean breeze, a rooftop pool that’s almost deserted, especially after sunset. (Sneak a late-night swim overlooking the Atlantic shores, I dare you.) Still, for every time you might feel out of place, there’s a time that you’ll feel like you own the damn place, largely due to the excellent hotel staffers.

And what to do when you actually want to chill? Eat, drink, and get some work done, of course. Soho’s main attraction for visitors from far-and-wide is the always-packed Cecconi’s, a world-famous Italian eatery with outposts from Istanbul to West Hollywood open for public reservations. With a stunning outdoor dining room lit ever so dimly, the menu is all that and a shot of Campari. Calamari fritti ($16) is the perfect antipasto, while the meatballs (a worldwide Soho staple, $10) and the octopus ($18) won’t ever let you down. Chicken paillard ($19) makes for a solid main, but if you’re going to splurge, do it with spaghetti maine lobster topped with saffron and basil ($33). And for dessert? The Key Lime pie ($9) is actually city-famous, as voted by the Miami Times.

Soho is home to some of the best drinks in the country. All cocktails, from perfected classics like Negori to Old Fashioned, are at $15 (in comparison, wine by the glass starts at $9). But the standout is the seller A Night In Hong Kong. Winner of the St Germaine competition, the concoction features the elderflower liqueur superbly mixed with Grey Goose, champagne and slices of jackfruit. For no additional charge, you can even have a bartender come up and mix you (and your guests) a cocktail while you get ready for the night. Now that’s room service.

For something a little less fattening, but no less intoxicating, spend some time at the in-house spa Cowshed for massages, facials and other body treatments. The express treatment For Men On The Go ($75) is a 30-minute steam, cleanse and mask. With over two dozen options, there’s also the pedicure ($60), or, when you’re ready to sleep for 12 hours, try a variety of relaxation massages starting at $125 for 60 minutes.

But do people actually enjoy their stay? It’s almost a shock that the Beach House is listed as an official 4-star accommodation by Google, despite receiving 100 per cent from its own user reviews. TripAdvisor reviews tally up to a stellar 4.5-star rating, making it the 16th best hotel in Miami Beach (out of 206). Despite official designations or user votes, the Soho is a 5-star experience. Sure, I’m not afraid to admit the service inside the Roof and Club bars can be notoriously shitty, but the hotel and Cecconi’s sees the creme de la creme when it comes to service staff and highly makes up for the rare shortfalls you might encounter in your journey.

Do everything you can to get here, if even for one night.

Soho Beach House, Miami Beach
4385 Collins Ave, Miami Beach


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