Scores of celebrities, industry execs and discerning gourmands flock to South Beach for Food & Wine's South Beach Wine & Food Festival (Feb. 20-23), where the world's best chefs and well-heeled diners alike converge for a weekend of grand tastings and intimate celebrity chef dinners. Hitting the million-dollar mark for the weekend isn't unlikely, thanks to private island memberships, superior suites and pricey events. Miami has reigned as the east coast’s most glamorous destination year-round, where affluent visitors can splurge on designer shopping, book VIP tables at buzzing nightclubs and embrace a highbrow nautical lifestyle on the sea. Here's how big spenders will drop a million dollars in Miami.
Order tickets now for South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF)
There's no other time top chef personalities take over an entire beach for all things gourmet. Everyone from Rachael Ray to Daniel Boulud and Anthony Bourdain are hosting events at SBWFF, where tickets to specific events can go upward of $1,500. While several have quickly sold out, guests can still nab VIP tickets to buzzing affairs like Moet Hennessy's The Q with Michael Symon and the 2014 Sports Illustrated swimsuit models ($400), Celebrity Chef Golf Tournament with Jose Andres ($1,750 for four), NYT Tribute Dinner honoring Danny Meyer and Chuck Wagner ($500) and an intimate dinner with Tyler Florence ($250). sobefest.com
VIP Tickets to private events: $2,900
Book The Setai's Penthouse Suite
The most expensive hotel suite in Miami is at The Setai, booked by top pop artists and music industry execs like Simon Cowell and Madonna (thanks to the hotel's private recording studio). From the Setai's 40th floor, the penthouse ($32,000 per night) offers 10,000 square feet, including a 3,000 square foot ocean view terrace. Amenities include a Steinway piano, full-service kitchen, rooftop pool, Frette linens and Bose surround-sound system. Celebrity guests rave about the shaved-to-order truffle pizza ($300-$700), best washed down with the limited-edition, Jeroboam 2002 by Cristal (not on the menu); only 25 out of 400 came to the US. thesetaihotel.com
Three nights at The Setai's Penthouse Suite ($96,000) with bottle of Jeroboam Cristal ($40,000) and truffle pizza ($700): $136,700
Become a Fisher Island Club Equity Member
Fisher Island is one of the most expensive zip codes on a private island for millionaires, Russian billionaires and A-listers like Oprah Winfrey and Mel Brooks, who own homes here. The allure was initially set when William Vanderbilt II traded a yacht for island ownership back in 1925. Since, the island -- only accessible by ferry -- has long been stomping ground for dignitaries, pro athletes and celebrities alike. The island recently underwent a $60 million renovation, and affluent visitors can become an equity member for the exclusive Fisher Island Club (the only private island club in Miami) where they receive full entry to the 260-acre paradise with golf course, tennis facilities, two private yacht marinas, historic Vanderbilt mansion and access to members-only Snooker Parlor. The Fisher Island Club Hotel -- a member of Leading Hotels of the World -- is available for full buy-outs, should you want to take care of your friends. With the recent renovations, the hotel reduced its 35 guest rooms to 15 accommodations to ensure more private quarters. fisherislandclub.com
Fisher Island Club membership initiation fee ($250,000) plus first year annual dues ($20,651): $270,651
Fisher Island Club Hotel Full Buy Out ($18,056 per night for three nights): $54,168
Shopping spree at The Webster Miami
One of the most exclusive shops in Miami Beach and located inside a 1939 Art-Deco building, The Webster offers three levels of high fashion for a bevy of big spenders (Repossi's four-layer berbers ring is $23,300, to give an idea on price). Recently spotted here were Pharrell Williams and Kanye West. Last month, The Webster opened Hugo & Victor, the celebrated Parisian pastry shop's first US outpost (Hugues, one half of the duo, served as the pastry chef for Guy Savoy).
spree at The Webster: $100,000
Order one of the rarest wines in the world at The Forge
Neck-craning is de rigeur at The Forge where local socialites and A-listers alike book tables for $30 burgers, Ossetra caviar and some exclusive wines. Executive chef Christopher Lee (a Best New Chef by Food & Wine and Rising Star Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation) took over the kitchen last month. The Forge has an intimate wine cellar guests can tour (upon request), which is home to centuries-old, priceless bottles. One of the rarest wines in the world, which was last offered at $165,000, is 1822 Chateau LaFite Rothschild, Ler Cru Classe Pauillac. theforge.com
A bottle of 1822 Chateau LaFite Rothschild, Ler Cru Classe Pauillac: $165,000
Catch Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena in the new HYDE Suite
In a notable partnership, Miami HEAT and sbe Group launched the exclusive Hyde Suite at American Airlines arena in December 2013. The luxury suite, seating 32, includes ultramodern Hyde-branded furniture (like black snakeskin seat cushions). Hyde Suite is located on Dewar's Suite level at Suite 241 and comes equipped with a server, bartender, fully stocked bar and terrific game views. Miami Heat plays Chicago on Feb 23. hydeaaarena.com
HYDE suite buyout (32 VIP Suite tickets, 4 VIP parking passes, food/$3,800 beverage credit, Hyde Lounge access): $27,500
Rent the entire pool for a private party at SLS Hotel South Beach
Speaking of sbe Group, the SLS Hotel South Beach (opened June 2012) unveiled it's private/poolside event space last month. Clyde can host up to 50 guests and includes top food and beverage (from the hotel's The Bazaar by Jose Andres and Katsuya), in addition to well known DJ bookings like Nervo (who's played at hot nightlife spots like Liv, Mansion and Ultra). The pool scene has been buzzing since opening, where celebrities like J-Lo and David Beckham have been spotted, and Robin Thicke performed live here this past New Years. slshotels.com/southbeach/
Clyde private event: $150,000
Charter a private yacht
With Y Charter Miami, one of the most highbrow charter companies in Miami, guests can rent a luxury yacht aboard the 129' Norship, which underwent a complete $1-million+ renovation in 2012 and seats up to 8 guests. The yacht features a small gym, indoor salon, indoor dining areas with wet bars and a sky lounge. The Norship comes equipped with a 7-person crew (captain, first mate, two stewardess, chef and engineer) and the two-day package is all inclusive. The Prince of Quatar, Chris Bosh and Kelly Rowland have all booked Y Charter. While you're cruising, book VitaSquad, a mobile nutritional therapy service using IV treatments (specially customized blend of vitamins, minerals and amino acids in an IV bag) for immediate results. Rihanna and Sean Combs are fans. www.ychartermiami.com, www.vitasquad.com
Two days/one night private yacht: $41,600
Vitasquad for four hours: $5,350
VIP Bottle Service at new club, E11EVEN
Miami's first and only 24-hour dayclub/nightclub officially opened February 8 to the tune of $44 million and has proven to be a 25,000-square-foot stomping ground for A-listers and high-rollers alike. The entire cast of Entourage held a private party for their upcoming movie while filming in Miami. E11EVEN is equipped with 32 private VIP rooms (for private dancers), and VIPs have a separate club entrance, VIP areas, private suites and more. Bottle of Chateau Petrus starts at $10,500, and large private suites start at $5,000.
VIP Experience with 3 bottles of Chateau Petrus ($31,500) and private suite ($5,000): $36,500.