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There are a few places in the U.S. that seem almost too exotic to fit in. South Beach in Miami is one. Over the past two decades, this trendy beach area has been transformed into an ultra-chic destination with a thriving nightlife scene. The Betsy Hotel on Ocean Drive is right in the middle of the action, and just steps away from the green and light-blue waters of the South Atlantic.


The hotel

Set in the middle of the Art Deco district, The Betsy is unique for its classic design. The four-column portico and shuttered windows on this traditional white exterior create an inviting entrance that continues inside. The colonial feel extends to the rooms where the latest in technology blends with timeless architecture, resulting in a comfortable environment. An example is the marble bathrooms with built-in LCD televisions in the mirror. Custom four-post beds and the finest down linens sit atop walnut hardwood floors. Why can’t I have this at home?

The Betsy is a boutique hotel with only 61 rooms, ideal for those who like to socialize. The Lobby Bar is a must-stop before dinner or in-between daily activities. Located in the salon the décor has a Caribbean feel to it. Seems like a place perfect for Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

The concierge and front desk are just a few steps away, should you have questions about your desired activities. Larger groups will want to spend some time at B Bar, the hotel’s “underground speakeasy.” This private enclave hosts many of Betsy’s philanthropic community events which are extensive under its new ownership. They even offer aspiring writers a special room when working on a new book.


The beach, deck and spa

Past the park across the street, warm waters and beach await. The Betsy has its own private area with umbrella, cabana and towel service. The waves are always present but not alarming. The beach scene at South Beach is usually exciting and an international draw. The visitors come from Europe, South America and the Northeast U.S. If you need a break from the sun, the hotel is just more than 100 yards away.

Once back at the hotel, you might want to relax at The Wellness Garden & Spa located on the rooftop. The Zen-inspired wood, stone, bamboo décor is shaded by sails and private cabanas. The roof deck is an ideal place to take in the views of the Atlantic with palm trees across the street framing the scene. At night, this area becomes a lounge with soft music and a full service bar. The hotel also offers a courtyard pool area and brand new fitness center.

Guests at the hotel enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast at BLT, the signature restaurant just opposite the lobby. This is a perfect starter for whatever your day entails. Visit TheBetsyHotel.com for further information. The Betsy is just a 25-minute cab ride from the airport with a reasonable flat rate in force. No need for a car in South Beach.


The nightlife

South Beach is famous for its vibrant nightlife and not far from the hotel is one of its best spots. Tantra Miami is a fantastic restaurant that transforms late evening into a chic dance club popular with celebrities and local luminaries. The moment you enter, it becomes a sensory experience enhancing one’s smell, sight, touch and hearing. Tantra’s International Aphrodisiac Cuisine will put you in the mood for an exciting late evening. If you can take a break from the attractive distractions, you will note that the food is excellent with entrées such as ginger-kissed grilled king salmon, Moroccan mussels, and grilled all-natural filet mignon.

Monday night is the big event at Tantra, with the action starting around 11 p.m. This is where the “Beautiful People” go to dance and have fun surrounded by Kama Sutra paintings. Gorgeous girls dance on nearby railings and bar tops to get the crowd going and it works. By midnight, the club is in full swing, and on Mondays this goes till 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday are also busy nights.

The pulsating music never stops at Tantra, which also prides itself with its own martini menu should you opt for such a libation. Tantra is just a few blocks from The Betsy, but a cab home probably makes sense. This can be a tough ticket in season, but the concierge at The Betsy should be of assistance. If you go for dinner, you are welcome to stay all night. Check out Tantra-Restaurant.com.