Our super stylish colleague and US native, Amy, fills us in on her recent Miami trip and the places to know.

Where to Stay

You can’t get more Miami than the Shore Club and the Delano, but these two South Beach classics are getting a run for their money from some of the new kids on the block, including the SLS and Ian Schrager’s recently opened Edition. The Setai offers a luxurious, zen-like twist to your Miami experience, and Soho Beach House provides an oasis of tranquility slightly north of the hustle and bustle of Ocean Drive. The Tides is also a fantastic option for its enormous, understated suites and oceanfront views.

Where to Eat and Go

My favorite restaurant in Miami is The Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS hotel. The extensive menu offers both traditional Spanish tapas (including such rare dishes as papas canarias) and fusion cuisine – and it’s all excellent, subtly-flavoured, and thoroughly imaginative with attentive service to match. Cecconi’s at Soho Beach House is wonderfully romantic, with its outdoor fairylit courtyard and traditional Italian menu. And if you’re lucky enough to be in Miami on a Sunday, don’t miss the jazz brunch at The Setai. The extensive selection (from perfect French pastries to omelettes and Asian delicacies) and delicious mimosas will soothe even the strongest of sun-drenched Miami hangovers.

The party scene in South Beach can be overwhelming to say the least, but it is possible to avoid the chaos. On a warm night, you can’t get much better than the Hyde Beach at the SLS, the sleek all-white bar at the Delano, or the Shore Club’s Moroccan-inspired garden.

No trip to Miami would be complete without a walk along Ocean Drive to check out the art Deco architecture (walking tours available from the Welcome Center on Ocean Drive) and a stroll along Collins Avenue and Lincoln Road. Must-see boutiques include The Webster, Alcehmist (located in the Herzog and de Meuron designed parking garage at 11 Lincoln Road), Atrium, Barney’s COOP and Intermix for a selection of international designer goods with a Miami twist. If you’re looking for bright Kaftans, embellished bikinis, and jewelled sandals (all Miami essentials), you can find them in abundance at Taj by Sabrina Crippa and Onda de Mar. If you’re feeling peckish after an afternoon of shopping, stop by Rosa Mexicana at the far end of Lincoln Road for fresh guacamole and chips, prepared according to your flavor preferences. Or if you’re after a more substantial meal, Quattro, Sushi Samba, Meat Market, and newcomer YUCA all provide opportunities for a tasty refuel while soaking up the South Beach atmosphere.

The Design District has become a real destination in the past few years with international designer boutiques (for clothing and home), art galleries and cafes in abundance. The area really comes alive during Art Basel Miami Beach, held at the beginning of December every year. The Rubell Family Collection and several vintage design stores can also be found nearby.

What to Pack

Miami is definitely a beach town, so fill your Eddie Harrop Voyager bag with sunglasses, bikinis, kaftans, destroyed denim, tank tops, designer trainers and flat sandals/Havaianas for day/ At night, show off your tan like the locals in a bright dress and a pair of skyscraper heels. Don’t forget to bring a blazer or a lightweight sweater – especially during the winter months when the temperature drops as soon as the sun goes down – an Eddie Harrop Panama hat and some sunscreen – the rays are much stronger in Miami than in Europe (even when it seems cloudy).

And Finally…

If all the Miami madness becomes too much, consider a trip to Key West for a relaxing change of pace. The 3.5 hour drive (much of which is directly over the water) is just as awe-inspiring as the destination, where you can watch the sun go down over the southernmost point of the United States, tour Hemingway’s Home and Museum, and walk amongst the butterflies at the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy.

James Harrop