With Art Basel Miami now underway, the world’s art elite, famed celebrities, DJs and socialites have descended upon sunny Miami for a few days (December 3-6) to mingle, soak up some culture and party until the early hours. Whether you’re planning to head down to the Sunshine State for Art Basel or business, or just planning a getaway, the InterContinental Miami provides both an amazing stay and endless opportunities to experience all that downtown Miami prides itself on. Room rates start around $189 a night.
Location, location, location
Located downtown in the heart of Miami’s art, culture and entertainment district, the InterContinental is a satisfying mix of convenience and the luxurious amenities this famed hotel group is known for.
As the saying goes, “location, location, location.” The InterContinental is conveniently located near many of the great destinations in Miami. If you’re heading to see a Miami Heat game, visiting the Pérez Art Museum Miami (see below), spending the day walking around the eclectic area of Wynwood or keeping it local in the downtown area, you’re close by.
Planning on taking a cruise for a couple days? The InterContinental couldn’t be any closer to Port Miami unless it were actually on Dodge Island. So if you’re staying a couple extra days before or after your trip, be sure to check with the hotel for package deals prior to departure or upon your return.
Coming into town to catch a Miami Heat game or looking for a place to have dinner or a drink before an event at the AmericanAirlines Arena? The InterContinental Miami is a roughly 10-minute walk (or about five minutes in a car) and has both a great restaurant and social bar scene (see below).
Eating well at the hotel
Located near the main lobby of the hotel and the vision of renowned chef Richard Sandoval, Toro Toro offers a colorful twist on fantastic Pan-Latin cuisine. Carved table side, the rodízio-style menu offers more than just a meal; it’s an experience supported by a great staff in a sophisticated, sleek atmosphere. If you’re looking for some private dining I suggest inquiring about the only “Chef’s Table” in downtown Miami: Table 40 located in the main kitchen of Toro Toro.
Located at the pool, Bluewater is a great spot for a pizza or light lunch situated overlooking Biscayne Bay. The InterContinental also has this place called Starbucks just off the center lobby. Apparently it’s a popular chain.
The rooms at the InterContinental are great. They’re spacious, quiet and have great panoramic views overlooking the bay (if you’re on that side). If you’re looking to up your game, you can also check into one of the recently renovated Presidential Suites designed by tennis star Venus Williams.
If the 18 foot, 70-ton travertine marble spindle sculpture by the artist Henry Moore in the lobby doesn’t provide evidence that the InterContinental is a huge supporter of art and culture in Miami, I wouldn’t know what would. The showpiece is the center of attention in this main lobby area, which is quiet during the day and takes on a whole new life for the night crowd.
The main lobby area is a great place to host an event, meet for drinks or spend some time people-watching. On a side note…the Moore sculpture is estimated to be worth around 20 million big ones.
Yes, they have a gym with fantastic city views.
The pool at the hotel is great for getting some sun—or just unwinding. The chairs face east toward Biscayne Bay, so there’s plenty of sun first thing in the morning. If you’re planning to spend time here, it’s best to do so in the first half of the day as the hotel is neighbored by several high-rise buildings and the sun ducks behind them later in the day. There’s also a huge open area for outdoor entertaining or for private events.
I can’t think of a better way to unwind than than some time at a spa. mySpa at the InterContinental has everything you can ask for in a high end spa, including the unique SpaJet2 hydro capsule and ten fantastic treatment rooms.
Beyond the InterContinental
1. Miami tour with Dr. Paul
If Hollywood were to script the character of a superhero based on the life of a Miami tour guide/historian, this is what he would look like. Meet Dr. Paul. If you or your group would like to spend some time learning about the history of Miami architecture, culture or art in the downtown area, he’s your guy. Contact History Miami for information regarding walking tours, coach tours, boat tours, and more. Make a point to request Dr. Paul.
2. Bayfront Park at sunrise
If you’re an early-riser who likes to start the day with a walk or a run, the Bayfront Park walking/bike path provides a great way to get going without having to worry about traffic.
3. Pérez Art Museum Miami
The sleek Pérez Art Museum Miami showcases amazing global, modern and contemporary art and is a short, 5-10 minute ride on the Metromover from the hotel. Situated directly on Biscayne Bay, the PAMM is also an ideal place to have lunch between stops. It’s $16 for adults ($12 for students and ages 6-18) and open from 10 am to 6 pm, with two exceptions: It’s open until 9 pm on Thursdays and it’s closed on Mondays. Two quick highlights:
And speaking of art…
4. Wynwood Art District
The Wynwood Art District is a section of the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. It’s home to over 70 galleries, museums and collections and it’s a must-see if you’re looking to experience some of Miami’s art and culture scene (say, during Art Basel). It’s also home to the largest open-air street art installations in the world. I highly recommend spending some time in Wynwood (it’s very easy to get to from the hotel).
5. Zak the Baker (405 NW 26th Street)
Ask what the hardest daytime ticket to get in town is right now, and anyone will tell you it’s a table at popular Zak the Baker in Wynwood. Only they don’t give out tickets, take reservations or do take-out lunch orders over the phone. You just have get in line like everyone else. What started as a bakery has become the go-to destination for great eats.
How do you find the place? It’s easy: Look for the line that extends around the corner. It’s open 7 am to 5 pm and closed on Saturdays.
6. El Cielo
For another brilliant dining experience (off site), look no further than El Cielo. A quiet atmosphere complements renowned chef Juan Manuel’s traditional Colombian cuisine and the preset menu keeps you eager to experience each plated dish. Book well in advance.
As I headed out for the airport I noticed all of the transportation just outside the front door of the hotel. For those on the go this can be a great asset. Here’s a list of those conveniently located travel options :
- Miami Trolley (free) — A great way to great around locally. There’s a station located conveniently right in from of the hotel.
- Metromover (free) — A light tram that heads north toward Wynwood and then loops back around toward the hotel. Perfect if you’re going to a Heat game or the PAMM.
- Freebee (free, though tipping is suggested) — A unique way to get around. It’s basically a golf cart that can accommodate up to five passengers. They even have an app that work the same way Uber operates, except that Freebee is free! The app even gives you music options for your ride. Tipping is suggested.
- Citi Bike — One of my favorite ways to get around. There’s a bike station located directly adjacent to the InterContinental entrance. 24-hour and 7-day access (and smaller rental periods) passes are available at any Citi Bike station kiosk with a credit or debit card.
- Uber — Uber is Uber and definitely not free.
- Worldwide Transportation — If your trip requires a car service, Worldwide Transportation has a fleet of chauffeur driver cars available to suit your needs.
- Taxi — And there always seems to be several of these guys around. Like from Downtown Miami Yellow Cab Company.
Something I noticed about the InterContinental Miami: They’re incredibly supportive of their community, the arts and Miami culture. The evidence is everywhere. It’s refreshing to see a hospitality group as big as the InterContinental putting its money where its mouth is, taking chances and supporting its community. Kudos, IC Miami!