Some like it hot, which is why steroid-pumped and silicon-filled bods in barely-there swimwear head to Miami when the winter closes in elsewhere.
New hotels open and shut by the day in this fabulously fickle Floridian city, but a favourite of mine is still The Delano at 1685 Collins Avenue (001 305 672 2000; delano-hotel.com ). Decked out by superstar French designer Philippe Starck, this heady haunt comprises 194 gorgeous guestrooms and sumptuous suites, a luxurious rooftop spa, a couple of chic restaurants and a sushi bar. There's also a beautiful bar/lounge area and a show-stopping lobby. The pool is the hotel's centrepiece, stretching out beside the ocean like a sparkly turquoise rug and flanked by 50ft palm trees. Underwater music and furniture ensures that the party vibe continues even when submerged – and I can testify to that, having sunk to the bottom after one too many poolside Sea Breezes.
Those who prefer fresher paint should check out W South Beach at 2201 Collins Avenue (001 305 938 3000; starwoodhotels.com). Three blocks south, you find Nobu at the Shore Club, 1901 Collins Avenue (001 305 695 3100; shoreclub.com ). Having a good name is everything in Miami, and when it comes to restaurants, this place has one of the best. Chef Thomas Buckley is the man behind the menu (having previously dazzled at Nobu London), serving up dishes such as rock shrimp tempura and black cod with miso. A sleek cocktail bar finishes things off nicely.
Also at the Shore Club is SkyBar (001 305 695 3100; shoreclub.com ), a space that's as lavish as you'd expect for one of Miami's hottest hangouts. Ascend in the elevator and be amazed: with some of the tautest velvet ropes in town, the clientele is scarily chic; inside the Red Lounge sharp-suited city boys rub shoulders (and sometimes more) with stick-thin model types, while elsewhere celebrities and their groupies enjoy the flattering lighting emitted by the lanterns dotted around the pool.
Partying in Miami doesn't stop there. The night is always young at Mansion (001 305 532 1525; mansionmiami.com ), one of Miami's trendiest superclubs, with five dance rooms and six VIP areas, all decked out with chandeliers, ornate fireplaces and Venetian mirrors. House music blares from the impressive sound system and champagne flows at the bar, with everyone who's anyone being snapped falling out on to Washington Avenue at the end of the night.
For something more low-key, step into the versatile venue that is the Safari Bar at The Chesterfield Hotel (001 305 531 8588; thechesterfieldhotel.com ). By day it is the reception area of the hotel, but by night it converts into a favourite for cocktails and chatter.
During the day, there's no better place to nurse your hangover than the soft sands of South Beach, with the glorious Art Deco backdrop of Ocean Drive. Those who prefer to relax without rays should head to the Bliss Spa at W South Beach (001 305 938 3124; blissworld.com ), which is dedicated to easing away the stresses of everyday life. Seven treatment rooms, separate lounges for men and women, a retail beauty boutique and a nail lounge are all spread across three spectacular floors. Then there's the spa's signature brownie buffet – surely designed to help unleash the fat kid within. Just make sure you work it off before stepping on to South Beach – thin will always be in here.
A Hedonist’s Guide to... (Hg2) is a luxury city-guide series for the more decadent traveller. For more information, see www.hg2.com