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Miami's New Standard Hotel

In post-Delano South Beach, trying to out-Starck Philippe Starck is a futile effort. Balazs has managed to carve out his own carefully modulated turf, even among countless boutique-hotel competitors and pretenders. The Raleigh's atmosphere is more palatable for people of a certain age than, say, that of the Shore Club, and Balazs has hosted some intelligent parties at the hotel. On the other hand, the Raleigh's Sunday Soirées—poolside bashes around a vast tribal bonfire—cross the line to resemble overlit nightclubs. For fashion designer Catherine Malandrino, who was dismayed by the silicone, hormones, and escalating Euro-lounge music one recent afternoon at the Raleigh, a moment has passed. "I've been coming here for eight years. Back then it was an undiscovered jewel—quiet, shabby, and crooked," she sighs. "Maybe it's time to look for the next secret place."

Balazs insists that the Standard, Miami will be the opposite of "everything Collins Avenue has become."Then again, the Standard has applied for a 5 A.M. liquor license—and in Miami, everyone, everywhere, wants some kind of party. A lounge and outdoor restaurant now occupy the Standard's wooden dock, set to become yet another stomping ground for the young and wayward, though the hotel is not permitted to play music after dark. Given the constrictions of being the only commercial enterprise in a residential area, the Standard is bound to face some complaints from the neighbors. Few people on Belle Isle will be thrilled to live next door to any kind of late-night scene, no matter how tasteful.

In the end, to last as long as the Lido, the Standard only needs to stay out of its own way and embrace Biscayne Bay, a lulling expanse of pure beauty that makes natives fall in love with Miami all over again. Balazs insists he is resolved to keep the party small and quiet. "This little neighborhood of cottages, with the sounds of birds and children playing, is like nothing else in America," he says, sipping a glass of wine as night falls and the skyline of downtown Miami glimmers across the bay. "It's lost in time, unbelievably charming. The vibe doesn't need music: the idea is to turn down the volume, not step into it."

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