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Miami is hotter than ever, experiencing the most rapid real estate and building boom in North America. And why not? The weather is practically perfect, the beaches are some of the most beautiful in the Unites States, a great design and art community, a strong restaurant scene, upscale shopping, and a hip population. South Beach rarely disappoints. Book your travel early this year and get to Miami before the prices go up and the hordes of tourists arrive for the high season.

Eleisurelink (tel. 888/801-8801; www.eleisurelink.com) has a superb four-day/three-night package deal to Miami starting at $299 per person based on double occupancy. With airfare out of New York, this low-priced deal is good for travel through November 30, 2005 with some black out dates occurring during holidays. In addition to round-trip airfare and accommodations, the trip includes a choice of four hotels with the ability to upgrade to oceanfront accommodations for a $39 per night surcharge. Hotels include the two Howard Johnson hotels, an art-deco South Beach hotel and a hotel on North Beach along the old stretch that composed the original Miami Beach. Airport fees and taxes are not included in the price of this deal. You can get a discounted rate on a rental car and if you want to travel with a group you'll pay a small surcharge for a third and fourth guest. Other cities available at the same very low price point include Chicago-O'Hare, Providence, Atlantic City, and Washington, D.C.

Travelocity (tel. 888/872-8356; www.travelocity.com) always has some excellent last-minute deals to Miami and the environs. For approximately $310 per person, a weekend jaunt to Miami for the weekend of August 26, 2005 can be yours. Hotels are in various places from South Beach to Key Biscayne to downtown to pretty Coral Gables. Air is included in the price, but air taxes and departure fees are not. One of the hotels, the Haddon Hall Hotel South Beach, is an old school art deco boutique with a pretty pool. It's centrally located on Collins Avenue, just a block from the Beach amidst one of Miami's finest shopping drags.

Collins Avenue and the Haddon Hall is a short walk to some of South Beach's famous house music nightclubs such as Crobar (www.crobar.com), where the world's greatest Deejays spin records on a weekly basis. Nikki Beach (www.nikkibeach.com), billed as the sexiest place on earth, is a beach bar music venue with a large dance floor and beachfront properties. It's a serious scene where fashion and glitz come first. For people watching, Sunday afternoon is the time to go.

The Richmond Hotel (tel. 800/223-5652; www.richmondhotel.com), also located on popular Collins Avenue, is offering a great deal through October 31, 2005. If you book by August 27, 2005, you can lock in a rate of $79 per night for a Sunday through Thursday stay with a free upgrade to a bigger, "superior" room. This represents a 50 percent savings on regular rates. The hotel has a very swank coconut tree-lined patio and a luxurious Oceanside pool with a Hollywood setting. If you want to go very Miami Beach, this is the place for you.

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