Bello Mag by Brent Lambert (@FEELguide)
Cities and time capsules have a lot in common. You can open them up, fill them with memories, and seal them up again for years or decades at a time. In 2005 I was lucky enough to spend four months living in Miami, and in that short amount of time I managed to have one of the best mini chapters of my life. So when I returned earlier this month for a four-day visit I felt like I was walking through a time capsule of my own.
Every corner I turned, it felt like another long-forgotten memory was resurrected from that amazing winter I spent living in South Beach twelve years ago. And just like all the very best weekend getaways, I had the chance to make some new memories as well. One of my favorites being my stay at The Gates Hotel in the heart of South Beach — Miami’s hottest new hotel that has the whole city buzzing.
Built on the foundation of the 1954 Ankara Motel, The Gates just opened from its impressive 4-month renovation which was designed by the dream team at Dutch East Design, and with lighting design by Focus Lighting. To say The Gates is the newest crown jewel of South Beach would be an understatement. Its gorgeous new look still maintains the art deco beauty of the original building, but it’s now filled with a stunning array of elegant design details and stylish interiors that made me feel like I was in the lap of pure luxury.
“Some important tenets to address in the design were to create intimacy and warmth in the lobby and provide a variety of seating arrangements for positive social dynamics,” said Dieter Cartwright of Dutch East Design. “To eliminate visual noise each individual space is defined based on functionality.” So whether you’re kicking off your evening with a game of pool in the lobby, or getting your happy hour started with Ryan, the cocktail master at The Gates’ outdoor poolside bar, you are surrounded by voguish design moves wherever you choose to chill.
Although Miami is filled with endless activities, there’s a good chance you might end up sticking close to the hotel during much of your time in Miami because that’s exactly what happened to me. The Gates has a private complimentary Tuk-Tuk service which shuttles guests to the hotel’s private oceanside beach cabanas managed by the Boucher Brothers (BoucherBrothers.com). Not only are the Boucher Brothers’ cabanas a dream come true in the hot Miami sun, but they also have a brilliant range of beach games where the hours will melt away in between your sips of oceanside cocktails. They will also have chairs and towels waiting for you when you arrive.
If you’re in the mood for something other than the beach, the hotel also has a fleet of designer bicycles in the lobby ready for you to take a bike trip to all the top spots within minutes. The newly opened Bass Art Museum, for example, is just a five-minute walk up the street and it’s the perfect option for escaping the blazing sun while soaking up some of the city’s extraordinary art scene. Visit TheBass.org for all the details.
After a hot day spent sightseeing, you will be in good hands when you head back to the Gates’ Agaveros Cantina restaurant, the hotel’s ingenious modern spin on a Mexican taqueria. The chef has created a menu with a range of Mexican tapas-like ‘tastings’, and without exaggeration, I strongly suggest you just go ahead and order everything on the menu because you won’t be able to stop at just one. Adding to Agaveros Cantina’s incredible food is the fact that the restaurant is also one of Miami’s best tequila-mezcal bars — it’s stocked with over 100 imported bottles of tequila and mezcal, making it not just a must-see destination for guests, but for locals as well. The private patio between the restaurant and the pool is home to many legendary happy hours, and it’s a great way for guests and locals to mix in what feels like a hidden/secret South Beach bar setting.
And be sure to take up the staff on all of their recommendations. One of the best I can remember was when one of the hotel staff recommended dining at the nearby Hilton Cabana’s restaurant called Salinity, run by executive chef Tim Rowland. I thought I knew what mind-blowing seafood tasted like before I went for dinner here, but after one meal courtesy of Tim’s culinary wizardry, that all changed. Salinity will truly give you one of the most remarkable food experiences in the entire city, and I cannot recommend it enough.
But the Gates’ charm doesn’t stop with just food, drinks, and interior design. Nearly every wall is adorned with the beautiful photography from Jorge de la Torriente’s DE LA Gallery (DELAgallery.com). This is just one of many local partnerships that infuses the Gates with the spirit and beauty of the local culture and its artists. They’ve also partnered with Our Vodka, a globally sourced and locally produced vodka company with micro-distilleries in such cities as Berlin, Los Angeles, London, and one opening up soon in Miami.
The Gates and Our Vodka have also partnered with a brilliant organization called Young Artist Initiative (YAI), founded by George Dufournier. YAI is an innovative, atypical platform empowering emerging artists through conceptually rooted experiential exhibitions designed to foster community engagement and contribute a unique substance to the landscape of culture, art and music. While I was there I had the chance to chat with George who gave me a tour of YAI’s 3-floor immersive pop up at the Historic Post Office Building in Downtown Miami, where the artists were busy prepping a huge range of art installations for Art Basel which was coming up the week after. YAI really is an extraordinary organization, and you can learn much more at YoungArtistInitiative.com. You can also get more info on Our Vodka at OurVodka.com.
Although Miami is famous as a party hotspot, it’s also a major business centre. And since The Gates is only ten minutes away from the Miami Convention Centre, it’s makes an excellent hotel choice for savvy business travelers who put a high priority on health and fitness. One of the coolest new additions at The Gates is coming in 2018 when they add two rooms known as Hilton’s Five Feet to Fitness rooms. These two rooms will essentially be private rooms with gyms. So if your schedule is packed with meetings, these rooms are a great way to enjoy the luxury of a private gym in your own room and prevent any lost time trying to get around from your hotel to a fitness centre far away. The rooms will come with a TRX, a Gym Rax, a Watt Bike, yoga ball, and much more. Learn what comes with these awesome rooms by CLICKING HERE.
Needless to say, my Miami time capsule weekend getaway was taken to a whole other level thanks to my stay at The Gates. It was so perfect, in fact, I have a feeling I’ll be back in no time at all. You can learn more by visiting GatesSouthBeach.com.