BEST POOLSIDE BAR Miami 2004 - Delano Hotel
For all its chic international appeal, the poolside bar scene at the Delano remains refreshingly accessible. No velvet ropes, no beefy bouncers, no clipboard-wielding door divas. As a nonguest, you should be polite and use some stealth: stroll nonchalantly through the sumptuous lobby into the carefully manicured rear area. Meander past the rows of private bungalows to the back bar, then plunk yourself on a stool providing a perfect view of South Beach's lotus eaters in full glory. The music's not too loud (lounging without migraines: what a concept), and the drinks, while hardly a bargain (this is South Beach), are lower-priced than the jewelry and designer swimsuits you'll spy on guests lazily drifting about the pool's brightly dappled water. After a few cocktails you may find yourself transfixed by the pool itself: Its "virtual edges" are now de rigueur for fine hotels around the nation. And should you spot a hot celeb tanning on a deck chair, keep your camera tucked away. The security staff is cool, and quick to toss paparazzi staking out Hollywood dreams. In all ways, discretion is the better part of having a blast, or just getting blasted, at the Delano.