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On The Waterfront In Miami

Santos de Cartier sunglasses presents a series exploring the very best of Miami

There are many places in the world that might lay claim to the title “The City by the Sea”. Barcelona, for instance, is nice, but, well, it’s small. And of course, Rio is vast, but could you really say the sea was at its very heart? Sydney is delightful, but unless you are one of the privileged few, you are likely to be more than a stone’s throw from the beach. Only Miami, that conflagration of nature and man, on the most southerly bit of Florida, can really lay claim to be a city in which the sea, and the water, are at the very heart of everything that goes on here. The hotels face it, the pools are full of it, and the boats bob gently on it. Whether you want to surf, swim, sail or just pose by it, there is no better place to do so than Miami. We have travelled the city to bring you the very best of its pools and marinas.

THE STANDARD SPA, MIAMI BEACH

This spa-hotel was opened by Mr André Balazs in 2006 and has been an A-List magnet ever since. In part, this is due to its location. Situated on Belle Isle – an island in Biscayne Bay – it’s perfect for the weary traveller who is tired of the South Beach fray. So, you might find yourself in a yoga class with an off-duty movie star or sharing the Turkish baths with a bold-face name of the art world. Most people are drawn here for the spa, which is a pleasing mix of Turkish hammam and ashram.

The 100-room hotel has all the comfort and conveniences you expect of a Balazs property – roll-top baths, attentive staff, a juice bar and great restaurants such as The Lido Bayside Grill, which serves top-flight Mediterranean food. That said, to MR PORTER’s mind, the best of the hotel is to be found outside. We recommend grabbing a lounge chair by the infinity pool, donning a pair of Santos de Cartier sunglasses, and kicking back until the sun sets over the cerulean of Biscayne Bay. The scene is laid-back and the music is to match. Just don’t forget to order a margarita.

THE MIAMI BEACH EDITION

If there is one thing Mr Ian Schrager knows how to do, it is create a scene. The legendary cofounder of Studio 54 opened The Miami Beach EDITION to great fanfare during Art Basel in 2015 – and the party has not stopped since. The real action here is by the pool. There are two to choose from in the vast tropical gardens that make up the hotel’s beachside garden, but whichever you choose, you will find yourself surrounded by the type of toned bodies usually seen on a runway. Book a cabana for lunch, order a glass of rosé and drink in the scene.

The boutique hotel is located on the more northerly reaches of South Beach, and is popular with celebrities – Mr Leonardo DiCaprio, among others, has both been spotted here – and the New York smart set, who pop down for weekends to escape the icy winter chill. As well as three restaurants, all by uber-chef Mr Jean-Georges Vongerichten, there’s a nightclub, ice-skating rink and bowling alley.

GROVE HARBOUR MARINA

Standing on the harbour looking out over Coconut Grove, it is hard to believe you’re not in Saint Lucia or St Barts, so clear is the sea and so idyllic the scene. Leading onto the southerly part of Biscayne Bay, it is the heart of the Florida yachting scene. From pocket-sized pleasure cruisers to large yachts up to 200ft, you’ll find many available to rent – and rent them you should, because exploring the waters off Miami is a must for both nature lovers and those in need of chilling out after a night bar-hopping.

Rent a boat, such as the 1964 teak wood number above, and explore the 64,607 acres of Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, which was established in 1974 and runs the entire length of Biscayne, from the headwaters of the Oleta River down to Card Sound near Key Largo. Whether you are fishing, snorkelling, or just kicking back on the deck, this is the place to do it.