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Miami Beach fast becoming one of the world's trendiest spots

MIAMI BEACH, Florida--Miami Beach has become one of the trendiest spots in the world attracting the likes of rich heiress Paris Hilton and countless other international celebrities and film stars to tan on its pristine beaches.

The resort has a thriving night scene as well; not just sun-tanned bodies in the daytime but also those same bodies swaying in fashionable outfits in the evenings in clubs and other venues.

It is second only to Los Angeles in terms of VIP density per square meter.

The most exclusive location in the Miami Beach area is Star Island, an enclave for the rich and famous with restricted access. It is a tourist attraction to be wondered at from afar for everybody else.

The so-called beautiful people enjoy their homes, discretion and privacy on Star Island much as the Chicago gangster Al Capone did in the 1920s, the period when the resort experienced its first boom as a vacation destination.

Miami Beach started off as just a plain sandbar off the coast of Florida. It was bought by entrepreneur Henry Lum and his son Charles from the U.S. federal government in 1870 as a development site.

The rich and famous keep second homes in Miami Beach because of the weather.

It doesn't matter whether it is January or February or March: The beaches are white and the water transparent, peaceful and temperate all winter long. And, all of those things trump the not minor threats from hurricanes during the summer-fall storm season.

Beautiful architecture is another important feature that adds to the enchantment of Miami Beach. Many small hotels in the Art Deco section, with its low buildings in pastel tones, have recently been renovated.

“Architecture defines our city,” said Michael Kinerk, president emeritus of the Miami Design Preservation League.

It was Miami Beach's architecture that drew visitors back in the 1970s after many years in which the hotels had been decaying and Miami itself was swamped by an influx of half a million Cubans fleeing Fidel Castro's revolution in Cuba, turning it into the Latin capital of the United States.

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This undated photo shows Miami Beach with its white sand and transparent water. Miami Beach has become a trendy spot for the rich and famous.

(dpa)

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