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In South Beach and Miami Beach, the, erm, beachy bits of, erm, Miami, out over the water from the downtown area, they’re having an identity crisis. A totally fun one.

Cruise down the very Anglo-sounding Washington or Collins Avenue – and this is a very cruisable area, maybe the most cruisable in all Florida – and you’ll see that the sugary art deco hotels all seem to have very English names: London House, Mansfield Park (this being the last place in the world you’d expect a Jane Austen reference!), even The Dorchester.

But this is not England. Couldn’t be further from it with its hot, steamy skies and girls in string bikinis walking along the sidewalk and strange three-wheel cars pumping rowdy music into the atmosphere. Go into a shop and you’re as likely to get an ‘holá’ as you are to get a ‘hello’. It’s a Spanish town, baby. Don’t fight it.

They’re certainly not fighting it in the new Moxy on Washington. From the neon-signed ‘Tiendita’ (Little Shop) as you walk in, to the sounds of Salsa making people bounce a little whether they’re checking emails at the little co-working spots or getting buzzed on Margaritas at the pill-shaped bar under the porthole into the pool, throwing its watery shadows onto the lobby floor, it’s all Spanish, all the time. The staff all seem to be Spanish-speaking – though they can break back into American anytime you like.

And this continues upstairs, whether you go out to the courtyard, past the shaded seating areas and up the stairs or take the lift to Serena, a first-floor rooftop Mexican restaurant that is all umbrellas and sofas and endless Spanish music. Try a sope, a cute little pastry case loaded with Mexican goodies, washed down with one of the tequila and pineapple cocktails our waitress intro-seduced us to. Brunch never got more Latin.

Just across from Serena is the pool, a hunk of blue in the burning, burning sun. Grab a cabana for $100 a day and at least have somewhere to go back to reapply your sunscreen, something we got way too chatty to remember to do… because the vibe here is just as lively as downstairs and over at Serena. Two local Latin lesbians kiss in the water while they simultaneously try to pick up a man (who can’t believe his luck) and chat to us. Then there are the women from Fort Lauderdale up the road, who get day passes to the Moxy because it’s more their style than the resort they actually live in. And of course the people who have flown in for the party vibe. Like us.

Back downstairs again (bums and tums, people! Or get the lift, especially in those corky wedges), take a right and you’ll find Como Como, Moxy’s destination marisquería (ie. seafood), which has quickly become one of South Beach’s newest, most beautiful look-at-me restaurants. As the latter parentheses suggest, fish take a starring role (if only they knew) and once you pick yours, you can watch it sizzle over there in the wood-burning grill. As vegans, this isn’t exactly our favourite pastime but don’t worry, this is Miami, and there’s a similarly smoky veggie menu for your pleasure should you be of a similar ilk. Then there’s the Tequila Bar in the middle of the restaurant – more sculpture than All Bar One – where you can drink yourself into total amnesia. (True fact, pop pickers: 100% agave tequila doesn’t give you a hangover. Something about the plant growing at night… we were too busy drinking to take notes.)

Get up to your room and you’ll find it has all the cheeky, quirky touches Moxy has made a name on the back of. Yes, standard rooms are small, yes, you might have to keep your underwear in your suitcase in the specially-created cubby holes under the bed but that wall bracket thing seems to have most of what you might need attached to it, from coat-hangers through folding chairs to tote bags loaded with beach towels. And you’re just two blocks from the beach – look! There! – so who’s spending a lot of time in their room, right? (Or you could always double your square footage and get yourself a suite.)

Actually, location-wise, the Moxy has nailed it. The gay beach on 12th Street is a ten-minute walk in a town where it’s too hot to walk further than ten minutes. Twist, perhaps the best gay bar in all the Americas is a few blocks up as is Nathan’s, where you go to pre-load ready for Twist while Palace, the most nutso drag operation anywhere, is two blocks over on Ocean Drive: it’s the one with the crowds outside waiting to see a drag performer burst through the doors to complete her death drops right there on the street.

If you’re going to South Beach for fun – and we can’t think of a single other reason to go, to be honest – and you want to feel like you’re a part of the whole scene (which is why we go away, right?) then there is no better spot – or more reasonable spot – in this stretch loaded with some of the greatest hotels on the East Coast. Ask anyone. Maybe even in Spanish.