In Miami, the city that perfected the art of the velvet rope, there's a new means of discerning class from mass. Private clubs have begun to take hold—in the closed-door upper rooms of a chic Miami Beach restaurant, inside Gianni Versace's former mansion, and at one of Miami's grande dame hotels. But that's just the beginning. The Soho House—the queen of all new-wave clubs, with locations in New York and London—confirms it'll be opening an outpost here in 2008.
The Style Italianissimo as only Versace could imagine: inlaid marble, Corinthian columns, and more urns than a mausoleum.
The Dues A onetime fee of $50,000; $4,000 annually. Fees are half-price if you're under 35.
Getting In You must be either invited by the club's owners or sponsored by an existing member. The roster now includes Oliver Stone, Jon Bon Jovi, Alex von Furstenberg, and Lennox Lewis—with others waiting to get on.
The Perks Access to the club's ten hotel rooms (20 percent to 40 percent off the nonmember rate of $1,200 to $4,000), a magnificent mosaic-tiled pool, and a spa administering Moroccan-inspired treatments. Members can also use the services of the concierge firm Quintessentially.
Details 1116 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 305-672-6604; casacasuarina.com
The Style A few steps—and a world away— from Collins Avenue lies a small bougainvillea-covered stone house done in chic and homey shades of beige and white.
The Dues $2,600 a year
Getting In In the Soho House style, owner Michele "Miky" Grendene cultivates a membership heavy on media and art-world figures. There's a wait list, and the application—available online—requires you submit a photo. Recommendations from current members count, but acceptance is ultimately up to Miky.
The Perks Concierge services that can help you cater a yacht, plan a party, rent a villa, and score a last-minute dinner reservation at the restaurant, which typically books up weeks in advance.
Details 1700 James Ave., Miami Beach; 305- 673-1010; casatualifestyle.com
The Style Considerably less flashy than the others owing to the Coral Gables location, this place looks a bit like Havana's iconic Hotel Nacional, with gracious old-world service to match—well suited for all the Latin American tycoons who pass through on business.
The Dues $2,500 a year
Getting In Anyone can join and there's no limit on the number of members. The application is a questionnaire that determines your likes and dislikes.
The Perks On-call town cars to take you to and from the airport; waived weekday greens fees on the Donald Ross golf course; room upgrades; and 20 percent discounts on rooms. A portion of the dues counts toward room and spa charges.
Details 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; 305-445-8066; biltmorehotel.com