Hamza Tarar, founder/interior designer at Lahoreâ€™s studio Casa Hamza, just loves Miami, his second home. Read on to learn about where those in the know eat, stay and party in the city that never sleeps
The reason I plan my holidays to Miami is because Iâ€™ve lived half of my life there and itâ€™s one of my favourite places in the whole world. Itâ€™s like a second home to me. Whenever you go there, rest assured youâ€™ll have a great time. There is something to do for everyone. But it wasnâ€™t just Miami on the itinerary, we were travelling around the States so we covered a lot of places like Las Vegas, Napa Valley, Fort Lauderdale, Key West and San Francisco to name a few.
What is the best time to visit?
I think the best time to go is during the winter because itâ€™s still sunny there and the weather is amazing! Ideally any time from November to March works great as there are a lot of events, festivals and parties happening so you have a wide range of activities to enjoy.
Where did you stay?
I rented a high-end apartment on Miami Beach. As we were travelling across the country, we were able to explore so many different places. In Vegas, we stayed at the ARIA Resort and Casino. During our time in Key West, we were at the historic La Concha Hotel and Spa, which is the ideal location to enjoy the vibrant nightlife and inspired surroundings on Duval Street. Duval Street is truly the heart and soul of Old Town Key West so the lively atmosphere keeps you going from night till dawn!
In Miami, an absolute must-try is Barton G. This restaurant makes each meal an experience that you wonâ€™t forget! Their innovative presentations will steal your heart. Garbo’s Grills is another one of my favourite places to visit while in Key West. They make the best Asian tacos in the world. Best Iâ€™ve ever had! Itâ€™s essentially a food truck and there is a minimum one-hour waiting time because the place is so busy.
How to get around?
Well, things have gotten rather convenient now with services like Uber and Lyft so transportation while travelling is not a hassle anymore. Itâ€™s your best bet in places like Vegas and San Fran. Although, I would suggest if you have an international driverâ€™s license, you must rent a car while you are in Florida. Itâ€™s much more economical and driving up to far-off destinations is totally worthwhile given the gorgeous views.
It’s Miami baby, of course we partied all day. We slept at 6 a.m. and up again at 8 a.m.! We were always out and about, up to something new every single day, offering libations up to the city morning, noon and night
What did you get up to during the day?
Itâ€™s Miami baby, of course we partied all day. We slept at 6 a.m. and up again at 8 a.m.! We were always out and about, up to something new every single day. We offering libations up to the city morning, noon and night.
Five essentials you cannot live without when travelling?
1. Liquid sustenance
2. Phone charger
3. Money and LOTS of it
5. My shoulder bag!
Where to stay?
If youâ€™re headed to Miami Beach, you must stay in one of the Art Deco historic properties on Collins Avenue. The candy-coloured Miami Art Deco district is the ideal home-ground to soak in the rich culture that this place has to offer. The whimsical Delano Hotel in South Beach is another favourite as it balances eclectic details that are playful, quietly theatrical and filled with all-night energy! Then thereâ€™s the W Hotel, another great option as itâ€™s an ultrachic beachfront hotel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
What to eat?
When in Vegas, I would definitely recommend checking out JoÃ«l Robuchon at the MGM Grand, which is an unforgettable Three Michelin Star restaurant catering to a sophisticated palate and is designed to resemble a luxurious Art Deco townhouse.
If youâ€™re into cool concepts and high end comfort food, State Bird in San Francisco will be the most fun you will have dining out!
What to see?
Thereâ€™s so much to do around Ocean Drive in Miami like the Art Deco Walking Tour, club crawls or bar hopping to get a taste of the nightlife and numerous beach activities in the daytime. Collins Avenue is your go-to place for all things cultured, artsy and fun.
The former warehouse district of Wynwood has become the arts hub of South Florida and has been converted to an outdoor gallery, so thatâ€™s an experience you donâ€™t want to miss out on. Touted as the design district, you can see vibrant spaces complemented with mural, street-art and graffiti.
Then thereâ€™s the Villa Vizcaya, which is a definite tourist spot if itâ€™s your first time in Miami. Itâ€™s a beautiful old palace surrounded by acres of serene European-style gardens chock-a-block with fountains and statuary.
And you must visit the legendary Villa Casa Casuarina, more popularly known as Versaceâ€™s Mansion. The place is a popular attraction due to the fact that Versace was actually shot dead on the steps of his Miami Mansion in 1997 as he returned from a morning walk on the Ocean Drive.
Lastly, for a bit of shopping, head to Bal Harbour Shops; an upscale mall with premium designer shops. You are sure to spot a lot of celebrities here!