We are looking for the best deals
This will take some time
ru | en
Search on site

Miami Created to Inspire


The Ukrainian architect and interior designer Christina Ivanova on how to enjoy Miami with all your senses.

Christina, travelling is an essential part of your work. Is Miami one of those destinations where you mix business with pleasure?

Definitely. This time I’ve come to Miami to explore its real estate market and look for investment opportunities. I’m interested in developments that I could join as an architect and designer. And I must admit that Miami’s market is booming: the prices have been rising steadily since 2010 and have soared after the pandemics. I’ve regarded several options and focused my attention on four branded residential projects, due to be ready before and in 2026. 

Cipriani and Baccarat towers will soon dominate the skyline in Brickell. I’m a devoted fan of the Baccarat brand: their New York’s hotel is my favourite in the “Big Apple”, their chandeliers adorn my home and the houses I design. So I think highly of their new beginning. Boasting the central location, Baccarat Residences will provide access to the private beach and pool, thus offering the best of two worlds.

The other projects are in Sunny Isles: this area still has some space for developers. The St. Regis Residences will come with a Maldivian-style beach. The prices start at $5 million, and the construction is yet to begin. Bentley Residences Sunny Island will be located next to the Porsche Design Tower and have a resembling concept. Each apartment will feature a private garage next to the unit (so the owner will get to their floor by car), and a huge terrace with a pool. 

What do you like about Miami? What do you think of it?

Miami is a beautiful resort city, definitely one of my favourites. Although settling there is a bit of a different story. But for vacations, it presents a unique mix of an oceanside resort with a selection of trendy restaurants, upscale infrastructure and a strong cultural component – far beyond a beach holiday.    

It’s a number-one place for moms-to-be. Many of my friends have given birth in Miami and say they wouldn’t trade it for any other city. What is also great about Miami is that from here you can embark on a cruise to the Caribbean Islands, Bermuda, Hawaii and lots of other destinations for a modest price.

As an expert in design, what places in Miami would you advise to visit to nurture aesthetic awareness? 

It’s definitely the Miami Design District. The name speaks for itself. It is conveniently located and easy to reach both from the mainland and Miami Beach. You can wander around all day long and observe its public art by notable architects. As you walk, you will notice numerous design institutes and artistic schools, including Istituto Marangoni Miami with courses in fashion and interior design. In addition, it’s a great shopping destination with boutiques of luxury brands (e.g. Dior, Hermès) and more democratic ones, for example popular with Americans, Alo Yoga. Even having a bite at Dior Café can get you inspired. And then you come to Tiffany and Fendi windows: blue and yellow correspondingly, and that looks so Ukrainian: no wonder that the photo spot is popular with people from our country.

There’s a wealth of interior design boutiques: Poliform, Baccarat, just to name a few, and a store with incredible vases and chandeliers with a coffee shop in it. 

In a 10-minute drive from the Design District, you’ll find Wynwood District with an interesting open-air museum, Wynwood Walls, where you can see professional graffiti. You can spend at least two hours there: watching, taking photos and soaking up the American street culture.

What would you say about the city’s art scene? Which venues and events are a must?

Miami is undeniably the world’s cultural centre. You don’t even have to be an art connoisseur to feel those vibes: a simple around the city stroll would suffice. And if you stay at Faena Hotel Miami Beach, it’ll be a true immersion. They have a separate art gallery, and their permanent and temporary exhibitions are a big draw. Moreover, right by the pool stands an enormous mammoth skeleton by Damien Hirst. That 10-million-euro artwork was bought by Leonid (Leonard) Blavatnik at a charity auction in Cannes in 2014. 

Also, the above-mentioned Design District is chock-full with galleries: both small local and world-known, including Galeries Bartoux. I like and often visit their London’s venue. But the main attraction for art aficionados is Miami Art Basel, held annually in December and ranked as high as their art fairs in Basel, Hong Kong and Paris. 

Which hotels would you recommend? And where do you prefer to stay?

One of the most notable is The Villa Casa Casuarina – the former Versace mansion, where he was actually killed. As a hotel, it’s too loud: blasting music, parties within a small territory. But book a table for dinner in their restaurant and enjoy the location altogether. It’s really unmatched. 

If you want to stay in Sunny Isles Beach, I’d recommend Acqualina Resort. It is a well-established hotel with an older part and a newer one. The service is impeccable. Many Ukrainians, including my friends, stay there. 

If serenity and a homely feel is what you are looking for, choose The Setai, Miami Beach: very calm, respectable and with an eastern flair. That is what I like it for. 

In case you prefer sleek innovative design, you will be captivated by W Miami: clean, fresh and not so touristy. Only, it can be somewhat noisy around the pool because of the neighbouring hotel.

Nearby, you will find 1 Hotel South Beach, created with the proponents of green, sustainable luxury in mind. The hotel is huge and comprises rooms and residences. But get ready for loads of vacationers and lines in its restaurants as a result. 

If you fancy shopping, pay attention to The St. Regis Bal Harbour in Bal Harbour Village. It’s within walking distance from the beach and close to fashion stores, restaurants and other infrastructure.

The already mentioned Faena Hotel Miami Beach has a historic charm and splendour. It’s like a fairytale which you want to be part of. And its stunning location in South Beach with a scenic boardwalk stretching all along the coast makes me love it even more. 

What restaurants are your favourite? Which of them stand out for design and which for food?

The most coveted venue is definitely Sexy Fish Miami, with its sophisticated, whimsical interiors. The flagship restaurant of the brand is open in London, and it’s much more humble compared to the Miami’s. But the cuisine is standard for both venues: quite good sushi, a decent wine carte and delectable desserts. 

For the best lunch, come to Ocean Grill at The Setai, Miami Beach. They have an advantageous location overlooking the ocean, with tables outdoors. And there’s something unique about the place: even when it’s sizzling hot outside, you feel comfortable in a restaurant. I like their service, and the food is superb. Octopus, tuna and other menu items are fit for a king.  

For dinner, I strongly recommend Gianni’s Restaurant at the former mansion of Gianni Versace. They offer topnotch cuisine, which the Italians are famous for. Try their scallops, and for the dessert treat yourself with tiramisu. They serve it in a chocolate semi-sphere filled with mousse. The portion is small, but it is the best tiramisu I’ve ever tasted. 

But my number one venue is Novikov Miami. The design may not be that cutting-edge. But they are conveniently located at the Downtown, and the food: duck with rice, all kinds of sushi – is just so palatable. For those who love pan-Asian fare as much as I do, Novikov is a must.

And here’s my lifehack. When on holiday you decide where to go for a meal, pick a reputable restaurant at a leading, highly-rated hotel. This way, you kill two birds with one stone: enjoy good food and explore the hotel. Maybe next time you’ll stay there.  

What are the shopping destinations in Miami?

There are two primary addresses. The first is Bal Harbour with its high-end stores where you can lose track of time. One of my favourites is Neiman Marcus. And to refuel, visit the local Carpaccio restaurant with the world’s best, you get it, carpaccios.

The second is the Design District with a wealth of upscale boutiques. The prices in the US are higher than in Europe, the difference is around 20%, but in America you have the whole range: you can find the right thing in the right size, which is rather problematic in European stores.

For example, I bought some items at Hermès in the Design District and was impressed by the assortment: many clothes and accessories which you wouldn’t get in Europe even with buyers, are available here, in Miami. And the staff is really helpful and nice: they take your purchase record at once, and you have a pleasant small talk. A really nice experience. Whereas at some European stores of the brand, sales managers can be rather arrogant.

I didn’t have time to visit local outlets, but my friend had and was excited by the prices at Aventura Mall. Three pairs of excellent Fendi shoes have cost her 1,000 dollars in total. And you would never find a raincoat or anything by Loro Piana with a discount in Europe, but in Miami they have sales. So, this city is a real shopping mecca for a fashionista and bargain hunter. 

What about beaches? Are they just as good as everything else in Miami?

They are outstanding, one of the best in the world. The centre of water activities is Miami Beach, connected to the mainland with bridges, with its picture-perfect turquoise water and vast stretches of white sand. But you must remember that this is the real ocean, not like in the Maldives where you can leisurely swim in a lagoon. It’s massive, intense, tempestuous at times, and yet it makes you feel energised. For a tranquil and pleasurable swim there’s a better alternative: heated saltwater pools. Almost all good hotels have such. 

How do you spend your time in Miami? Are you a party-goer?

I have a tight work schedule: appointments, negotiations, presentations, property site visits. After that all I really want is to unwind: talk to friends, enjoy a good meal, relax on the beach. And that’s what I actually do. 

I’m not a big fan of noisy parties. But I can advise you to visit a theatre at Faena Hotel, where they arrange classy evening shows in Lido de Paris style. These are not daily events, and it takes some effort to find tickets, but it’s worth it.

If our reader wants to have a celebration in Miami, what would you advise them?

I’d regard two options: a 5-star hotel or a yacht. With a boat you can explore the coastline and do some island-hopping, visit Fisher Island and beyond. Many private parties, including branded ones, are held on a yacht. 

What new attractions have you discovered in Miami during this visit?

This winter, for the first time, I’ve been to Palm Beach. It’s more than an hour’s drive from Miami Beach. The road runs along the coast, and on your way you can drop in Aventura and Fort Lauderdale. Palm Beach represents the American “old money” families in contrast to Miami with its mixed society. They strongly differ in vibes and architecture.

The most renowned hotel, The Breakers, Luxury Palm Beach Resort, is rumoured to be the masons’ meeting point. And somehow you believe it. The hotel is like a resort-within-resort. It occupies a huge territory, has a majestic driveway, loads of boutiques and world-class restaurants. The hotel is rather expensive, $2,000 overnight, but it has a selected clientele, interesting to mix with. 

There’s something about this place that made me feel uneasy. And when I learnt the hotel’s history I understood why: the mansion was built by the industrial tycoon Henry Morrison Flagler more than a century ago. The man stood behind the most (and actually the first) luxurious hotels in South Florida. But his Palm Beach creation was destroyed by the fire and rebuilt twice. Maybe this explains the air of mystery in The Breakers, as if it were a ghost house. But that doesn’t make the allure of this historic hotel any less. You definitely need to see this gem of Palm Beach.

/ / / Miami Created to Inspire