Miami may have a reputation for hedonistic excess but the rise of Art Basel has seen the city undergo an extensive makeover. For a tour through the burgeoning arts scene, start in the neighbourhood of Wynwood. After a croissant and caffeine hit at Panther Coffee ($7.50; panthercoffee.com), wander through more than a dozen galleries, guided by a free app (wynwoodmiami.com). Check out the Wynwood Walls (thewynwoodwalls.com) and the Rubell Family Collection ($10.70; rfc.museum). Take a bus ($2.40; miamidade.gov/transit) to Miami Beach so you can recover with some homestyle Cuban cooking from Tropical Beach Cafe ($16). Then, as you ogle the art deco splendour of Ocean Drive, finish up with a piece of legendary key lime pie from Joe's Stone Crab ($8.50; joesstonecrab.com). Retire to the cheap but terrific Freehand Miami Hostel ($106; thefreehand.com), which has a James Beard Award-nominated cocktail bar in the backyard.
EASY DOES IT
Embrace the torrid Miami heat at News Cafe, an unassuming breakfast spot ($16) that happens to be the last place Gianni Versace visited before being shot in 1997. Then take it easy: walk north along the beach, watching all the pretty people, before you jump into a taxi ($16) and head back to your hotel on Belle Island. The Standard Spa, Miami Beach ($213; standardhotels.com/spa-miami-beach) is a destination in itself. Visit the stunning Turkish Hamam for a "rub and scrub" on heated marble ($107), then chill out with Prosecco by the best pool in the city, complete with underwater speakers. Back in Miami Beach for the evening, watch the sun set from the rooftop terrace of Juvia (juviamiami.com), a restaurant built on top of a designer parking garage (mains about $32). Then party the calories away in Cameo (cameomiami.com), a nightclub in an old art deco picture palace.
Miami may be diversifying its image, but it remains a perfect playground for anybody wanting to throw some cash around. Make your base the epicentre of ostentatious wealth: the Versace mansion, now called the Villa by Barton G, which never saw a baroque flourish it didn't like (suites from $745; thevillabybartong.com). Wake up late and have a black car ($80; executivecarmiami.com) take you to lunch at Soho Beach House, where Cecconis serves up exquisite Italian fare in a garden courtyard (mains about $32; cecconismiamibeach.com). If you're a Soho House member, get a massage in the Cowshed Spa while you're there ($134). Have the car take you to the Design District so you can shop at boutiques such as Holly Hunt, Bulthaup and Luminaire. Enjoy a $62 steak at The Forge, once graced by the likes of Frank Sinatra (theforge.com). Finish with a watermelon sling at the Yardbird bar ($14; runchickenrun.com).