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Alternative edens: Off-the-beaten-track marinas to moor at

Alternative edens: Off-the-beaten-track marinas to moor at

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port-of-miami
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Port of Miami

Florida, US

Miami is often ignored as a super port but the yacht types have slowly realised it is the best place to be. We all know how fantastic Miami is, with its ever growing international scene running alongside its Latin undertone, which makes it an East Coast favourite. With its year-round sunny climate, even a cruise down the Intracoastal Waterway on the mildest of days is heavenly. Use it as your boat hotel during the week and then venture out into the city and explore the endless restaurants, art galleries, shopping malls and golf courses.

Boat notes: The port of Miami has all the boat services and support you could wish for and is the perfect home for your yacht this winter. One Island Park and Island Gardens marinas were built to house superyachts away from the cargo ships and cruise liners. They are the “it” addresses to attach your yacht to. Friday sees an exodus of boats leaving for the short cruise over to the Bahamas or the tranquillity of the Exuma islands for the weekend.

Where to eat:_ _Sunday brunch at Zuma’s buffet is the place to be. Overlooking the water downtown, this London import does not disappoint. Cecconi’s at Soho House is an elegant haven in Miami Beach – dress up and enjoy the ambience. Who goes Miami has become a melting pot of all nationalities looking for a good time and the best weather. Old, young and in between – there is no category Miami excludes, except boring. The crowd changes slightly, depending on the season. December’s Miami Art Basel art fair brings in the who’s who of the art world. Private jet after private jet fly in the crème de la crème from all corners of the world. Each spring, the tennis world flocks to Key Biscayne for the Miami Open, bringing the celebrity crowd – Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian and Elle Macpherson – scurrying in too.

Hot tip: Bal Harbour shopping mall is the indoor/outdoor equivalent of Rodeo Drive in LA – chic, elegant and housing the biggest and most glamorous names in fashion and jewellery, from Harry Winston to Charlotte Olympia.

Insider tip: Sawgrass Mills, about a 40 minute drive away, is the mother of all outlet malls. Miles and miles of stores are discounted at 50-70 per cent. Head straight to the Colonnade, for the big designer outlets like Gucci, Valentino, Barneys, Loro Piana and Ralph Lauren.

Local classic: Coconut Grove: To escape the frenetic pace of Miami venture just south of Downtown and try Coconut Grove, with its relaxed Grove Harbour Marina, which is perfect for smaller yachts and has a hippy vibe and laid-back spirit. Surrounded by coffee houses and independent boutiques as well as smaller art galleries, it’s a completely different world from Miami Beach, and only a 20 minute ride away. Lunch on excellent American food with a contemporary twist at Ariete, hit cocktail hour at Monty’s Raw Bar for some Key West vibes and dine at Greek-inspired Boho.

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