Luxury Tropical Escapes – W South Beach

By Shereen Shabnam

Miami is a playground for celebrities and on the boardwalk of the coast area where the elite converge, sits W South Beach, a beachfront oasis in the heart of Miami’s most famous and visited coastal line. I stayed there to experience not just their room but their cuisine and enjoyed walking through their manicured garden area.

The W South Beach attracts visitors with its stunning design elements, high-ceilings, a lobby with a warm ambience filled with eclectic furniture an modern art. Before breakfast, I spent an hour exploring the lobby area and enjoyed the art of Damien Hirst and Jean-Michel Basquiat as well as a bit of retail therapy.

The large pool area featured inviting cabanas and comfortable lounge chairs next to the garden. The garden features winding paths amongst the swamp lily and flowering grasses, lanterns from the late 19th Century, sheets of poetry suspended from sea grape trees and 1920s-era objects discovered in French flea markets.

Dedicated poolside attendants pamper guests with all-natural cocktails and organic cold-pressed juices, light fare from WET Bar & Grille and invigorating towelettes. From here, one truly appreciates the calm and serenity of being in an enclosed garden and pool area reading and enjoying the view.

The ocean-facing rooms come with glass balconies and luxurious furnishings while the suites and penthouses feature amenities such as private rooftop plunge-pools, Wi Fi, docking station and services that remain unrivalled amongst luxury hotels.

Not to be missed is a visit to Mr. Chow, a restaurant that serves Chinese cuisine in an glamorous setting with delicious cocktails as perfect pre dinner drinks in the evenings.

The hotel has fitness facilities for the active guests. The high-tech haven has work out machines, a nutritionist and a Pilates program. A walk along the beach naturally provides a more relaxed workout.

The W South Beach is definitely a place I want to go back to for a sabbatical as it offers all that I need at the doorstep. It is the kind of hotel you hesitate to leave in fear of missing out.

 

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Caption stories – the best kind

Being a writer for my leisure groups and being in-house PR has allowed me to focus on one brand and determine with other journalists what hooks work best for them. For our press story today, although a bit long for my liking, I feel good that we spent a decent amount of time in selecting various images for various groups of media the press release was going to.

One thing we can agree on both sides of the fence (media/PR) is that a good dynamic photo can mean great publicity for your business!. As media, images are hooks that get us excited and as PR, images speak volumes eliminating the need for long draining press releases. If you’ve got the opportunity to create or capture a unique, dynamic photo that relates to your business, then half your battle is won when selling your story to the media.

For someone who has been on both media and PR sides over the last 10 years, I can vouch for this. I remember the best image brief for me in the recent years came from The Corvette UAE Club. The images were collated by the dynamic Osama and I remember us receiving images from one of our Road safety drives to the Yas Island Hotel with police escorts….Corvettes are super sexy anyway but the great photography done by one of our group members totally blew our mind.

In a nutshell, pay extra attention to photos you can create and arrange for your business and write a story to contextualise it. Corporate communications teams these days spend so much money trying to get the next hip venue for their events and press conferences that they forget to get a good photographer because their budgets are blown out of context…..pr agencies in many cases don’t dare say no and prioritise the budgets for photography. One thing is for sure, no matter how great a news story is – it will always appear naked without a powerful image to go with it.

PR World Congress comes to Dubai

Diva just got an invite to the PR World Congress….normally I would not be so bothered about it as I have done enough courses and attended enough PR conferences to date but this particular one features speakers I know very well or admire, including the ex-Prime Minister of Malaysia (Anwar Ibrahim) whose house I used to go to to break fast as an International IIU student. I used to love dinners with him and listening to him talk to us young things, telling us we were the future leaders of the Muslim world and we could do great things if we followed our heart. He was very hands on as our patron and took great care of us during the month of Ramadan when we were away from family so dinners at his home was always a regular for expat students.

I must say while I love my life the way it is, I don’t think I’ve done justice in doing things the way he as our University patron would have wanted me to do. I was one of the first PR graduates to work in the UAE beginning of 2000 when the industry was just blossoming here and most of my colleagues were marketing people taking on PR as an added extra. Thankfully UAE has matured tremendously since and PR is an industry in its own right and may I add one of the most successful one at this point in time. Hence my regret that I don’t do enough for this discipline that I love and keep wasting my time in areas that get me nowhere.

So all the prep talks we received from Encik Anwar Ibrahim on being the best in the disciplines we were studying for did sink in but I wish I had taken action and focussed on my talent and dreams more instead of being distracted along the way. It is fine and well to live someone else’s dream or do things they feel you are good at but essentially at some stage you need to take a call and focus on the work that you are cut out to do and excel in.

Nonetheless, I am thrilled about the congress. As a publicity chick perhaps I am a little bias, but I’m always so pleased to read that top-level industry leaders are endorsing public relations as one of the most powerful marketing tools available. Its about time people noticed and respected our work.

PR is incredibly powerful because of the highly trusted third-party endorsements of media organisations of stories that make a difference – in my opinion, you just can’t beat it. For now, I hope I get to attend some of the congress. The last time I tried attending something of significance like this, I was slumbered at my desk doing stuff I should not have been doing in any event so the episode left diva not very impressed. There is a reason why we have support staff to do the mundane stuff. This time round the world can go to pot as my 2012 resolution is to do what I love and PR is my first love above everyone and everything else!