By Samantha Chapnick

The Hotel Gansevoort is a New York hotel that made its name amongst the glitterati for its rooftop pool, contemporary design, and location that capitalizes on the cache of the newly gentrified, gallery-filled Meatpacking district.

It has taken this formula to Miami Beach in a big way with Gansevoort South, the newest of several upscale South Beach hotels. When the hotel officially opens in the fall, it will have two big-name restaurants, the Asian-themed Phillipe by New York restauranteur Philippe Chow, and the steakhouse STK; a nightclub, Louis, that is sure to draw celebs and VIPs; Cutler, a hair salon that bills itself as "going from runway to reality"; the popular New York boutique bigdrop; and inca, an If-you-can’t-wear-it-in-a-size-0-don’t-expect-to-find-it-here swimateria (bathing suit store).

On my recent Miami vacation, I was lucky enough to take the hotel for a spin a few days after its unofficial opening, well before any of the above was even built.

Clearly it’s going to be another fashionista force to be reckoned with. Although much of the final experience was still in development, some features came shining through. These would be my top reasons for choosing the Gansevoort South for your Miami vacation.

1. Room size
The hotel rooms are very generously large with an average 700 square feet. The minimalist furnishings leave plenty of space for lounging.

2. No "bad" views
The rooms that don’t face the ocean look to the west, overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway and lights of downtown Miami, making for a beautiful sunset view.

3. All balconies
Almost all the hotel rooms have large balconies — a nice feature in a town where having friends over for drinks or hanging out in the morning is a major sport.

4. Rooftop pool
The most popular feature of the New York hotel works even better in South Beach. Although there are no signs or regulations, the rooftop pool is clearly the playground for adult visitors looking for some very grown-up fun. The narrow long pool and lounges have unobstructed views of the ocean, the music is on high, and the bar staff are all exotic babes. But I suspect the real action kicks in at night when the cabanas light up and clothes get even skimpier than the daytime uniform of the jet set: a g-string bikini bottom and little else.

This promo video of Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal playing a tennis match in, yes literally in, the rooftop pool gets some great shots of the setting.

5. Excellent service
Seeing people under stress is always a good indicator of how they’ll be during normal times. Although the hotel staff faced numerous challenges including a very limited cooking facility and mechanical breakdowns, they handled it with aplomb. The best example was my room service dinner. When a very fatigued me couldn’t find anything on their limited room service menu, and didn’t want to walk to a restaurant, I made a special request for pasta. Without any hesitation the chef made me a nice penne with fresh tomatoes and basil.

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Samantha Chapnick is a New York writer who scours international destinations looking for what hasn’t been found.

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Tagged: Beach Vacation, Florida Vacation, Foodie vacations, Miami Vacation


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