After gorging ourselves at Barton G, J and I decided to shake our sluggish stupor off by going for a nighttime stroll down Ocean Drive. I already shared some shots of Miami's iconic Art Deco style (think never-ending rows of white lego buildings), but at night, the hotels along Ocean Drive illuminate their neon signs, transforming their facades beyond recognition. We started at the intersection of Ocean Drive and 5th Street and walked north until we hit 17th Street, using this guide for some historical/architectural context. The entire walk is worth it if only so you can maximize the people-watching hilarity, but if you're feeling lazy, just scan for the highlights.
At the 8th Street intersection is the Colony Hotel, which in my opinion, is the epitome of Miami's "neon Art Deco" style. It looks straight out of Miami Vice! Around 8th Street, head away from the hotels towards the water to find the most beautiful sand castle EVER. Not sure if the builder erects the same castle every night, but the one we saw was a masterpiece. Complete with turrets and pirate ships and studded with tealights. The builder himself is quite the character and will entertain you with all sorts of sandcastle veteran yarns. Around 11th Street is Gianni Versace's former house. Yes, the one he was shot on the steps of. The residence is chained off, but the incredibly ornate front gate is still worth a look. And lastly, far up on the north end of Ocean Drive is the Betsy Hotel. For lack of a better word, the Betsy Hotel is a babe, elegantly distinct from the rest of the street's residents. Its wooden white exterior reminds me of an ol' Southern plantation house, and the marble lobby- decorated with husky leather couches and chess sets- feel ripped straight out of an English Lord's reading room. A perfectly chic oasis amidst the neon storm that is Ocean Drive and the perfect place to end one's stroll.
Enjoy the pictures after the jump!