Whether you’re a serious art collector or just learning to appreciate it—or, let’s be honest, simply love a good party scene in Miami Beach—Art Basel is the time to visit Miami. Taking place Dec. 5-8 this year at the Miami Beach Convention Center and with exhibitions across the city, Art Basel allows you to take in as much or as little of the scene as you like, depending on where you stay. Hotels around Miami Beach are also key players in the annual event, hosting exclusive parties, pop-ups and VIP guests galore. Here’s where to stay and play if you’re in town during Art Basel this year.
W South Beach
The epicenter of Art Basel’s social scene, W South Beach has some of the largest guest rooms in South Beach—and the best parties. Home to a permanent art collection with original works by Andy Warhol and Julian Schnabel, the hotel will play host to many events throughout the week. The famed invite-only Surf Lodge pop-up (playing off the Hamptons hotel of the same name) takes place Dec. 5, and includes a private cocktail hour with recording artist Swizz Beatz followed by a poolside bash and surprise performance (past guests have included Kendall Jenner and Gucci Mane). On Dec. 7, The Dream Party, open to Marriott Bonvoy members only, will celebrate women creatives on the hotel’s WET Deck. Not on the invite list? Hit up the Gumbo Limbo Experiment on Dec. 6, a multi-sensorial evening show with DJ Richie Hell and multimedia artist Francisca Oyhanarte that’s open to the public.
The Betsy South Beach
Beloved for its permanent art collections, which include works from photographers Robert Zuckerman and Richard Bluestein, The Betsy will debut its own Art Basel exhibition this year. The first exhibition curated by hotel co-owner and Wall Street executive Lesley Goldwasser, Facing Ourselves: Past and Present will feature the work of global photographers throughout 15,000 square-feet of event space; standouts include works by the late Andy Sweet, who famously captured Holocaust survivors on Miami Beach. Come for the grand opening the evening of Dec. 6 to hear a commissioned poem by Richard Blanco in response to Sweet’s work, along with a performance by members of the Miami Classical Music Festival.
The Miami Beach EDITION
Paying homage to Ian Schrager’s famed Studio 54, Basement Miami nightclub at The Miami Beach EDITION will celebrate its fifth anniversary over Art Basel this year. An impressive lineup of DJs that week include Diplo, Idris Elba and Bedouin, while a special anniversary party on Dec. 4 will feature sounds from Dramian, Unders, Mandrake and Courtney Scott. Also on tap: neon light installations from contemporary visual artist Olivia Steele.
1 Hotel South Beach
Five-time James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Solomonov will bring the Israeli cuisine he’s known for in Philadelphia to the highly anticipated Zahav pop-up experience at 1 Hotel South Beach. For three nights, Dec. 4-6, he’ll host exclusive four-course, family-style dinners inside the property’s signature restaurant, Habitat, for $195 per person (reservations required), in partnership with American Express. 1 Hotel is also offering a package that grants complimentary access to hotel events during Art Basel, a $200 food and beverage credit and a 60-minute private fitness experience.
Mondrian South Beach
Fashion lovers can take part in the immersive, four-day Style X at Mondrian South Beach, a celebration packed with day-to-night art exhibitions, designer presentations, VIP sunset cocktail hours and dinner receptions overlooking the pool. Some 25 artists will be showcased throughout the week, including Mint Swimwear at an afternoon poolside soiree hosted by designer and actress Draya Michele. Curator Omar Victorious will also present the exhibition You’re Not Welcome, with work from intentional artists—including pieces that play on augmented and virtual reality.
Dream Hotel South Beach
The rooftop at Dream Hotel South Beach will be the place to be the first night of Art Basel, as the hotel officially kicks off the 18th annual event with the #BaselDream party. Hosted by Miami-based Creative Glue, the party will showcase new pieces from Jason Perez Art Collective, a live performance by New York musician Ben Moon (who also has an immersive art installation in the lobby) and an interactive digital art experience in which guests can take part. Add the hashtag #baseldream to any visual content on social media to be part of this cutting-edge, projection-mapping installation.
Mr. C Miami – Coconut Grove
Through a partnership with Contemporary Art Projects USA, an organization that nurtures new contemporary art through exhibition opportunities, the recently opened Mr. C Miami – Coconut Grove will have pieces by many global artists on display throughout its lobby until Jan. 6, 2020. Art connoisseurs can admire and purchase the pieces, which start at $5,000, during Art Basel, and can also book the ultimate Art of Travel package at the hotel, which includes a private tour of the collection and a weekend pass for two to Art Basel’s Red Dot and Spectrum shows, among other amenities.
Nautilus by Arlo
One of few activations taking place directly on South Beach, Nautilus by Arlo is set to host Arlo Beach Club from Dec. 3-7. Decked out in luxe lounge décor and jungle-like foliage, the space will be among the best spots in the city to party during Art Basel, with performances by electrifying DJs and celebrity hosts curated by New York nightlife vet Up&Down, as well as late-night performance art and pop-up experiences taking place sunrise to sunset. Off the beach, don’t miss the hotel’s new barbershop-slash-speakeasy Blind Barber, which does haircuts by day and killer cocktails by night.