In early December, in that weird social vacuum between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there's no more glorious place to be than Miami. That's when the planet's art-loving high rollers, and the scenesters who follow in their rarefied wake, descend on the city for the annual festival-cum-bacchanal Art Basel Miami Beach.
Party central for these seasonal migrants -- many of whom couldn't tell a Francis Bacon from a Kevin Bacon -- is the hotel scene on South Beach, where late-night revelers repair to the pool bars at the Delano or the Raleigh to toss back mojitos in the name of art. But this year, the epicenter is likely to shift to the $200 million Mondrian in South Beach, which will have its grand opening during the fair. The fanciful, exuberantly patterned confection, a 335-room hotel-and-condo development overlooking Biscayne Bay, is the brainchild of Marcel Wanders, the 45-year-old Dutch designer. The place promises to be high on drama, with a swooping, laser-cut steel staircase; secret "kissing gardens"; and bathrooms with showerheads embedded in chandeliers.