CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: At dinner with designer Jason Wu at the J&G Grill during The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort’s grand opening weekend; with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer at The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort’s phenomenal grand opening gala; the lovely Carolina Herrera recently hosted a party to debut her CH Carolina Herrera boutique at Bal Harbour Shops; STARZ’s new show, Magic City, is fantastic. We shot the cast (including Jeffrey Dean Morgan) at the Shelborne South Beach when they were in town attending NATPE

If I weren’t an editor, I’d love to be a hotelier. A resident of Miami since 1993, I’ve been to numerous memorable property groundbreakings, opening parties, and special events that have both inspired and spoiled me. Who could forget the Delano’s $22 million (obscenely pricey at the time) opening in 1995, when Madonna was seen arm-in-arm with her soon-to-be baby (Lourdes) daddy Carlos Leon, and Ian Schrager held court with friends Calvin Klein, Barry Diller, and David Geffen at the pool? Or the dozens of Asian-themed dancers and lion and dragon performances when the Mandarin Oriental, Miami threw its official opening gala in 2001? During The Setai’s grand fête in 2005, Buddhist monks blessed the hotel’s doorway, and then guests followed them to the ocean and released small baby turtles onto the beach and doves into the air.

I can only imagine how exciting it must be to plan and build an extraordinary hotel, and then produce its opening party. There’s plenty of blood, sweat, and tears, I’m sure, but as an outsider, I’m only privy to the pretty end product. An enormous amount of creativity is involved, from the distinct fragrance chosen for the common areas (thanks to hours and hours of focus-group testing) and chic staff uniforms, to the perfect mood music and lighting. This was all so obvious at The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort’s lavish commencement weekend celebrations a couple of weeks ago. If you haven’t yet set foot in this spectacular building, make your reservation at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s J&G Grill, or the Bal Harbour 24-Karat Designer Facial at the Remède Spa, stat. The number of new, high-end properties entering the market here is a testament to Miami’s position as a world-class destination; I can’t wait to see the new SLS at South Beach, The James Royal Palm, The South Beach Edition, Faena Saxony, the Gale South Beach, and the Lennox all make their debuts.

Hotels are truly the lens through which visitors see a city—something I think about every time I plan a trip. In the same way, I hope the pages of Ocean Drive color the way you choose to experience Miami, soaking up every drop of its energy, sun, fun, and sophistication…. and enticing you to stay a while.


SUZY BUCKLEY

Follow us on Twitter at @suzybu

PHOTOGRAPHS BY SETH BROWARNIK/WORLDREDEYE.COM (HERRERA, WU); GUSTAVO CABALLERO/GETTY IMAGES FOR ST. REGIS BAL HARBOUR RESORT & RESIDENCES (BLITZER)

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