It may cost a little extra, but one great advantage to staying at a hip hotel is the concierge service. Don't be shy about calling on the concierge for help--that's what he/she is there for. A concierge knows the newest restaurants, the best nightclubs, or the trendiest boutiques. A truly great concierge knows the maitre-d's and the bouncers and can often get you on that all-imporant "list." You can even call a concierge ahead of your stay and ask for help with dinner reservations, spa appointments or finding tickets to a sold out concert. We stayed at the Sagamore Hotel in South Beach recently, but for two nights, Tuesday and Wednesday. Now, any club is hot on a Saturday, in fact the Sagamore itself throws a great party on Friday and Saturday; but it's trickier to find the models and their entourage on a weeknight. Chief concierge, Madeleine Kelly, put us on the list at the Delano (oh, yes, this oldie-but-goody is hot again). We bypassed the long line of want-to-bes outside and went right in. What a party! One last thought: you may still have to pay the cover; but at least you saved time waiting in line.
Not staying at a hotel with a concierge? Our friend Danny, who travels a lot for work, told us this neat trick: He calls the local Prada store and asks the sales associate for recommendations. Try it! It really works!