What is it? A sister property to the dignified Raleigh and the hipper-than-thou SLS South Beach - all in the hot heart of South Beach, Miami, in the United States - the three-storey, 69-room Redbury offers a three-in-one deal; stay here and enjoy the amenities of its siblings, too.
Design driven or just really cute? The Redbury is jaunty and quirky but not an envelope pusher in a town that worships the ultra-edgy. Like most other hip South Beach hotels, it's set in a revamped art deco building, but while the street-side entrance (below), with its welcoming marble-topped tables, references the period, the renovation doesn't lean heavily on the mid-century modern aesthetic. The decor is an ode to the shiny Miami of the 1950s and 60s. The public spaces and guest rooms are decorated with black-and-white photos of period bathing beauties and the Rat Pack's Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jnr, et al. And any vinyl junkies who step through one of the Georgia-peach, lipstick-red, or flamingo-pink doors into the paisley wallpapered rooms beyond will welcome the sight of an old but workable record player and a collection of LPs by Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald and other icons from the era.
Eat in or out? Given the popularity of its brand new eatery, Cleo, you could describe The Redbury as a restaurant that includes a hotel. Czech chandeliers and small candles in colourful Moroccan tea glasses light the atmospheric and whimsical hotspot, which was adopted by A-listers faster than you can say, "Hey, Beyonce, wanna get in on this selfie?" Craft-paper-covered tables (crayons provided) sport deliberately mismatched china and flatware, and open shelving around the tables is casually cluttered with red clay tagine pots and jars of ochre and orange spices. The open kitchen, wood oven and small plates may seem a little old hat for 2015, but the raves here are for chef Danny Elmaleh. A gastro-phenom whose heritage is Moroccan and Japanese, Elmaleh has brought his modern Med-Middle East cuisine from Los Angeles and Las Vegas to Latin-infused Miami. The menu, in which hummus and flatbreads star, recognises South Florida's obsession with seafood. Monkfish tagine, stone crab (with a harissa dipping sauce) and grilled octopus feature. With a father who had a Moroccan restaurant in Kobe and a mother (his "favourite chef") who cooks Japanese and Chinese food, Elmaleh comes by his mash-up cuisine honestly. In addition to using spices from Morocco, Lebanon and Greece, he happily borrows from Asia. "We use fermented rice products to enhance flavour," he says. "We also incorporate soy sauce in marinades - in our beef kebab - combined with cumin, which reminds me of regional Chinese cooking or the flavours at some of the night market booths in Taipei."
Other than Beyonce, who might we rub shoulders with? You'll get to practise any Spanish you might know, with much of The Redbury's well-heeled clientele hailing from Argentina, Chile and other points south. Europeans have also made the hotel a bolthole and Cleo is a late-night draw for large men who make a living by throwing balls into nets for the Miami Heat or smacking pucks across the ice for the Florida Panthers. A smattering of rockers and actors can be found, too, trying to look unobvious in an obvious kind of way.
What if we get bored with the white sandy beach across the street? South Beach is not only North America's heart of hedonism, it is also its artistic heartland. Mega-event Art Basel (Switzerland, Hong Kong and right here) may come but once a year, but the scene never ceases. The Bass and Wolfsonian museums are a five-minute walk from the Redbury and the Wynwood Art District a short taxi ride away. You can grab Peruvian ceviche or Venezuelan arepas (think jianbing) at a farmers' market on the nearby Lincoln Road and, when night falls, clubs in the area boast musica en vivo courtesy of bands from Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela.
Will this cost an arm and a leg? Of the three sister hotels, this inn is a (relative) bargain. Standard rooms start at US$199 a night in the slow season and the 715 sqft corner flats from US$284. For more details, go to theredbury.com/southbeach.