South Beach is always a scene. But when it’s the Saturday night before Halloween and there’s a full moon, the buzz of the area is next level. My boyfriend and I had a front-row seat for all of the action from our suite at one of South Beach’s coolest, most boutique hotels.
The Gabriel South Beach, part of Curio Collection by Hilton, is a 132-room hotel located in the heart of South Beach, directly on Ocean Drive. The gorgeous Art Deco property dates back to 1937, created by architect Henry Hohauser, who also designed other South Beach properties including The Essex Hotel and The Colony. The original name was Park Central Hotel and, due to preservation restrictions prohibiting changing the façade or exterior, the old signage remains. (Keep that in mind when you’re driving to the hotel — we thought Google Maps led us astray until a helpful valet clued us in.)
Spread across four buildings, The Gabriel South Beach has an interior melding Mid-Century Modernism with South Floridian accents. There’s also a big focus on art, starting with the 30-foot-tall mural by street artist Mr. Brainwash; a girl, a boy and a dog sit on a bench and ponder a wall of graffiti in a painting that feels like Norman Rockwell meets Banksy. There’s also a complimentary shuttle to Wynwood, home of Art Basel, as well as more than 10 galleries, museums and collections, including Wynwood Walls.
Various room configurations include either a king or two queen beds, overlooking the courtyard pool or the beach. Some come with a lounge area or terrace. All rooms offer a mini-fridge, minibar, Illy espresso machine, Acqua di Parma amenities, a CHI-pro hair dryer, high-speed WiFi, two-hour beach cruiser rental, and two beach chairs and towels.
But if you’re already staying in South Beach, you might as well splurge. We didn’t want to leave our King Oceanfront Loft Suite with terrace, a 396-square-foot accommodation with floor-to-ceiling windows and a huge balcony with table and chairs perfect for people-watching on Ocean Drive, peering at the swaying palm trees or staring at the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean. We sipped our coffee there in the morning to watch the sunrise and popped a bottle of Champagne as an apéritif before dinner. These balconies have to be some of the best spots in all of South Beach. The room also features a floating platform bed with low nightstands to match; white-washed oak hardwood floors; and a seating area with a sofa, table and chairs.
Meet Dalia is the hotel’s dining concept, the kitchen helmed by chef Patrick Ochs with a Mediterranean-meets-tropical menu. You can sit inside awash in blue, pink and neutral tones, or outside at one of the tables on Ocean Drive if you can’t get enough of watching pedestrian traffic and $200,000 cars slowly cruising by.
The cocktail menu veers a little too much toward frozen and poolside sips that don’t exactly feel like what you want before dinner, but there are a few standouts. Smoke Show shakes tequila and mezcal with Cointreau, jalapeno black pepper syrup, calamansi (a sour citrus fruit indigenous to Southeast Asia), lime and orange and juniper bitters. The Purple Lady mingles gin with peach liqueur, ginger syrup, lime and butterfly pea powder, which gives the drink its name as the lime’s acidity changes the color. The by-the-glass wine list has some fun finds, including floral Moschofilero from Greece and a Tuscan Sangiovese.
Whatever oysters the restaurant sources that day is a good place to start, along with ahi tuna tartare in an umami-rich soy marinade, served atop avocado and garnished with crispy tortilla strips. Whole boneless branzino is perfectly cooked on the wood-fired grill and arrives with salsa verde and a choice of fries or beans and rice. A 14-ounce boneless ribeye is done on the churrasco grill, sliced and garnished with chimichurri and red wine herb jus. We skipped dessert but were definitely tempted by the lemon curd and Greek yogurt mousse with meringue and an olive oil cookie.
Escape the Miami heat in the hotel’s two pools; one is tucked into a courtyard with a more secluded, private feel, while the other is glass-bottomed on the rooftop — pretty wild. With swimmers visible from the hotel floors below, it’s basically a participatory art installation fitting right in with the hotel’s artful vibe.
More than 22 million visitors pour into Bangkok each year, adding to the roughly 11 million residents of the Thai capital famous for its bustling streets. Packed with food carts, markets and cultural spectacles, life in Bangkok is unusually defined by its vibrant street scene, both day and night. That means you don’t necessarily need a solid plan when heading out on any given evening.
The Islands of Tahiti offer a range of captivating activities for travelers with diverse interests, from hiking to breathtaking waterfalls, riding horses on secluded beaches; swimming with sharks; or immersing in Polynesian culture through traditional dance, music and art. For watersports enthusiasts, the crystal-clear lagoons offer exhilarating experiences like surfing, kiteboarding and paddleboarding. And if you’re looking to relax, the pristine beaches, overwater bungalows and tropical sun offer the perfect setting. With 118 islands and atolls to explore, island hopping is an excellent way to experience the full diversity of The Islands of Tahiti. With its blend of adventure, culture and relaxation, The Islands of Tahiti offer a truly unique travel experience.
As another phenomenal year of travel comes to an end, it’s time, as always, for Global Traveler to celebrate and award those who do it best as we announce the 2023 winners of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards. But that's not the only cause for celebration here: We've hit another major milestone, as this marks our 20th year honoring the best of the best inn world of travel!
The highly anticipated GT Tested Reader Survey has more reason to celebrate in 2024 than ever before. This year marks the 20th anniversary of our GT Tested Reader Survey awards, with many of the winning brands earning milestone accolades for years of dedicated and consistent service.
Reconnecting the World: GBTA Convention 2023 Spotlights the Vital Role of Business Travel and In-Person Connection
In an increasingly digital and interconnected world, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention remains an indispensable platform for business travel industry professionals seeking to make the most of the power of face-to-face connections. Taking place August 13–15 in Dallas, the 2023 GBTA Convention provides the unique opportunity for professionals and companies to join visionaries, thought leaders and industry experts for meaningful networking, cutting-edge insights and inspiring innovation.
Global Traveler Announces the Winners of the 2023 Outstanding Diversity & Inclusion in Travel Awards
For its third year, Global Traveler awards the airline, cruise line and hotel brand best representing diversity, equity and inclusion within the travel industry. Over the past year Global Traveler analyzed many airlines, cruise lines and hotel brands to determine which companies prove most committed to changing the world through diversity and inclusion.
The Tampa EDITION recently launched two new offerings this festive season. Book the Holiday in the Sun promotion and receive complimentary valet, $50 in food and beverage credit, $50 in spa credit, and a signature EDITION Le Labo amenity. This offer runs through Jan. 5. Book here.
Filled with hidden treasures waiting to be discovered, Seoul invites travelers to unearth its many gems, and Seoul Tourism Organization is here to help travelers do just that. Through thoughtfully created initiatives like the Theme Tourism County Competition, Seoul Tourism Organization works closely with local districts to identify and showcase what makes each district unique and charming in all seasons.
Going to Austin, Texas, soon? Hotel Van Zandt celebrates the season with a special deal. The To All a Free Night offer allows guests to extend their stay and receive a third night free when booking two nights. Running through Jan. 29, 2024, book this offer using promo code BONUSNT.