Between Miami Beach and Bal Harbor, this minimal district promises with its multi-ethnic restaurants, boutique shops and the reopening of the legendary Surf Club, converted into a hotel.
Far from the lights and brightness of South Beach, this district shows a rare face of Miami. Instead of malls or chains, there are author’s premises. The beach is wild, with yoga classes, a long boardwalk to ride a bike and plenty of space to go unnoticed.
With only three hotels and some beachfront condominiums that do not exceed 12 floors (it is the height limit allowed), there is full sun guarantee without interruptions. To that extent ecofriendly is added the fact that this is one of the favorite spots of the Loggerhead turtle, which arrives to nest between May and October. The municipality promotes the reduction of artificial light during this period. In the town, the protected species is honored through thirteen fiberglass sculptures – the Turtle Walk -, each one painted by an artist from South Florida, to raise awareness about its conservation.
Surfside was always a quiet neighborhood (laid back, they say), of low houses, retired in search of the Florida sun and not many tourist reasons to stop. But it stopped being “the middle district”, to have a life of its own: an ideal bridge between the vertigo of Miami Beach and the luxury of Bal Harbor.
Just steps from the ocean, on Harding Avenue, along eight blocks, there are 31 multi-ethnic restaurants (several of them, kosher): Greek food, Asian food, the Serendipity Creamery gourmet ice cream shop, aphrodisiac tapas and a local specialty in macarons.
There are also some outstanding boutiques, such as Le Beau Maroc, which offers haute-couture caftans made by hand by Moroccan designers, another of wedding dresses or the eccentric Her Royal Household, by expatriate Londoner Bera Kalhan, who sells tableware English and memorabilia of British royalty, with a corner dedicated to the recent wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Glamor of the 30s
The milestone for the promotion of the neighborhood was the opening in 2017 of the Four Seasons Surf Club. The new hotel revives the famous beach club designed in 1930 by Harvey Firestone, the king of the tire, where characters such as Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Winston Churchill paraded. The black and white photos of the main hall show the dolce vita that passed between these walls at the height of the Great Depression, when the prohibitions were commonplace.
On the other hand, in this hedonistic redoubt it was worth everything: banquets with alcohol that arrived in boats from Cuba, nights of boxing and costume balls until the early hours of the morning. The legend says that once they came to walk elephants through the ballroom for a lusty party. Although initially the quota of members was exclusively men, then women joined the select club.
After several decades of neglect, the Four Seasons chain rescued it and regained its splendor at the hands of architect Richard Meier.
The original structure, Mediterranean style, was built on top of a modern glass tower, where the 77 rooms with sea view are distributed (they have theatrical details, such as curtains that open automatically and a light regulator that adapts to the moment of the day and the mood of the guest), three pools, a spectacular spa and a Champagne Bar – Le Sirenuse – retro chic style, worthy of film: set with tropical plants, ceiling fans and vintage music.