Miami is arguably one of the most amazing cities in the world to live in, but it’s even better when you have a home on the water. From panoramic ocean views to Intracoastal yacht life, there are waterfront luxury homes everywhere you turn. And though the appeal is high, the exclusivity is higher with demand from buyers around the globe paying whatever it takes to call paradise home.
“The current trend is the historical trend. Everyone wants to be on the water in Miami,” said Daniel de la Vega, President of ONE Sotheby’s International Realty (pictured above). “The issue is, not everyone can afford to be on the water. People still pay top dollar for waterfront properties and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.”
The only spot where you can actually buy a home directly on the beach is Golden Beach. The upscale neighborhood with only about 300 homes caters to big buyers who want to be directly on the sand.
Most people who want to live sand-side, live a condo tower.
If you head to South of Fifth on Miami Beach, the Continuum is one of Miami’s most coveted developments with just over 500 units between the 38-story North Tower and 42-story South Tower. Twelve sprawling acres of manicured grass surround three clay tennis courts, two pool and an outdoor restaurant at this South Pointe paradise.
The Setai Residences, (pictured above) a 40-story condo building adjacent to the 5-star Setai Hotel, is a Miami classic in the heart of South Beach. The 163 zen-inspired residences with spectacular panoramic views define luxury living at its finest.
Another hotel-condo combo is the 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach, offering an eco-chic escape with all the conveniences of hotel living. The nature-inspired interiors offer owners all the conveniences of hotel living while having access to a full suite of services and amenities that transform day-to-day living into an extraordinary, unforgettable experience.
The Miami waterfront hotel living trend moved further north on Mid-Beach with the Norman Foster-designed Faena Residences, which have all of the glitz and glam associated with the Magic City. Each residence is the realized dream of founder Alan Faena and master Hollywood visionaries Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin. The Penthouse Residences at Faena Hotel offer glamour to match their pedigree: master suites, open-air terraces and state-of-the-art appliances, plus deep-soaking tubs, custom furnishings and unencumbered views of white-sand beaches.
The newly finished Four Seasons Surf Club also offers a residential wing, providing relaxed elegance in an exclusive seaside hideaway. The 12-story, Richard Meir-designed, transparent towers are home to 199 private residences offering relaxed elegance that promotes luxurious comfort and tranquility.These homes – perched on an idyllic stretch of beach – feature the refined aesthetic of Joseph Dirand, the sought-after Parisian architect and interior designer whose minimalist yet evocative style is a favorite of high-fashion clients such as Balmain and Givenchy. A private elevator entrance from a dedicated residential elevator core ensures an added level of privacy.
If you don’t want to live in a hotel and prefer a more private building with hotel-like amenities, Eighty Seven Park offers the ultimate in relaxed beachfront living with design inspired by nature. The first residential project in the U.S. by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, this 66-unit building appears to float above the Atlantic and the building’s neighboring parks. This property is the only one in Miami to offer residents a key to their own private 2-acre park, designed by Dutch landscaping firm West 8, and offers a 70% ratio between indoor and outdoor space. Tennis star Novak Djokovic already nabbed a residence at this coastal sanctuary.
“The wealth in Miami is starting to mature, and people are coming here for more than a party. They’re staying, settling and seeking community,” said de la Vega. “Instead of wanting to be in the middle of the nightlife and tourist scene, luxury and family-oriented buyers are moving North. Areas like North Beach and Surfside are becoming high-interest neighborhoods, and with Bal Harbour a few steps up the road, there is no area quite like it.”
Arte by Antonio Citterio is another highly-anticipated building under construction. The Italian architect designed a 12-story rectilinear building that will house 16 coveted condos – all tucked into one acre of land in Surfside. Notably, each residence will receive three parking spots in an air-conditioned garage.
Another addition to the Surfside scene is FENDI CHÂTEAU, offering 58 oceanfront residences in a 12-story building. The first residential collaboration between luxury house FENDI and developer Chateau group, this opulent residential building is just 12 blocks from Bal Harbour Shops.
The Residences at St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort is as exclusive as the name lets on. Aside from its hotel offering, living at one of the 245 residences comes with the brand’s signature butler service, the Remède Spa, a private Residents’ pool and an extensive list of additional perks.
For buyers who opt for Bay or Intracoastal views, Miami Beach has an array of Island neighborhoods to choose from, dotted with waterfront mansions for every kind of buyer.
“Sunset Islands and Venetian Islands on Miami Beach are neighborhoods that continue to increase in demand,” said de la Vega. “With all of the restaurants, shops and activities rising in Sunset Harbour, which is like Miami’s new Soho, this area offers a community with privacy, walkability and water everywhere you look.”
The Sunset Islands are made of four islands, each with privacy protected by 24/7 secured gates and access at two points off of North Bay Road. A mix of waterfront and dry lot properties, architecture ranges from modern to Mediterranean – all a few minutes away from Miami staples Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue.
Known for its “wealth” of celebrity home owners, Star Island is an intimate, gated island with some of the most enviable estates in South Florida. The private island offers oversized lots (many with yachts docked to match) and some of the most magnificent views around. High-profile figures including Shaquille O’Neal, Diddy, Kanye West and Gloria Estefan have owned homes here.
The Venetian Islands are comprised of six man-made islands spanning along the Venetian Causeway. Varying architectural styles are found among the islands, all ideally located near Downtown, Brickell, Wynwood and the Design District. The islands are the winter home for distinguished celebrities and socialites.
The most exclusive of them all is Fisher Island – the former winter estate of William K. Vanderbilt. Accessed only by chopper or boat, the private island is a secluded playground for those seeking solace and seclusion. Residents enjoy perks including a private bank, school, post office, polo field, marina, yachting club and clubhouse.
“I wouldn’t say there’s a ‘best’ waterfront in Miami since a desired waterfront experience is in the eye of the beholder. I love seeing the open ocean, but the next person could prefer Miami’s rivers or Intracoastal waterways. Opportunities are endless,” said de la Vega. “You can enjoy waterfront living in Key Biscayne, an island off the mainland or enjoy a similar lifestyle in Coral Gables or Miami Beach. It really depends on the type of life you wish to live.”