FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Live Out Your Miami Oceanfront Dreams at The Gabriel South Beach

by Kelly Magyarics

Nov 16, 2023

© The Gabriel South Beach

Daily

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.

exterior

© The Gabriel South Beach

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.

restaurant

© The Gabriel South Beach

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.

pool

© The Gabriel South Beach

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.

 

 

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