Miami is a favorite warm-weather destination for my family. My husband went to college there (Go Canes!) and it’s the perfect escape from these horrendous Chicago winters.
Typically we take our boys with us everywhere – but this time, we went sans kids. First vacation without them in eight years. I know, we were way overdue!
As a foodie, I was most excited about hitting up some amazing restaurants and having a meal and conversation without being rushed or interrupted. Parents, share this post if you know what I mean!
I also wanted to spend plenty of time lounging by the pool with a book and possibly an adult beverage. Such activities require picking the right hotel. Having worked in luxury hotels for many years, I’ve stayed at so many amazing properties. I tend to stick with Starwood/Marriott properties because you always know you’re going to get great service and a great product – but this time we went with the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Resort. I went through VRBO and got a sweet deal on an owner’s unit in the Sorrento Tower. This is nice little travel hack – if you want a room with more space for less money!
The perks of staying at the Fontainebleau Resort include the amazing on-property restaurants, the great lobby bar, onsite shops, a gelato bar (ummmm…. this makes it worth it alone!), the resort location directly on the beach, and it’s on the north end of Miami Beach. If you don’t know, South Beach can get a little crazy – at least for this not-a-20-something-anymore gal.
Also, the pool area is huge with several different options. Some are adults only, which makes it nice when you travel alone. Some pools are kid-friendly, which is great if you wish to be with other families who won’t get annoyed when your kids start acting a fool. Win-win. There are also 100s upon 100s of chairs, which means you don’t have to run down at 8 am to save your spot. They also have options for loungers and cabanas which range in price. While there, we got a deal on one of the cabanas for the day because the TV and speaker system weren’t working. Who cares about the TV when you’ve got that beautiful view and pool vibe! Further, each cabana comes with water bottles and a fruit plate. Parents – they have a kids club there with half-day or full-day options. Rejoice!
I could have spent the whole four days at the pool or beach (they have similar lounge offers and a food delivery service via an app to beach goers) and been just fine. However, we decided to venture out to check out some of the local Miami sites.
First stop was the Vizcaya Museum. Talk about breathtaking! The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, previously known as Villa Vizcaya, is the former villa and estate of businessman James Deering on Biscayne Bay in the present day Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Florida. The early 20th century Vizcaya estate also includes extensive Italian Renaissance gardens; native woodland landscape; and a historic village outbuildings compound. You can tour the entire property, check out the beautiful views, landscape and even tour inside the mansion.
Next, we headed over to the Wynwood Art District to check out Wynwood Doors. Known for its many colorful murals, Wynwood is one of the city’s most happening districts. Wynwood Walls is an outdoor museum showcasing large-scale works by some of the world’s best-known street artists. The surrounding streets have converted warehouses housing craft breweries and funky art galleries. A hip young crowd frequents the neighborhood’s chic clothing boutiques, stylish bistros, and late-night bars. Such a cool place to walk around and check out all the art. Even the sidewalks had fun little messages and art on them.
Last, we headed over to Coconut Grove. My husband went to”The U” so we had to go buy some swag for our boys. We’ve spent a lot of time here in the past and headed over to one of our fav lunch spots, Lulu In The Grove.
Now back to Miami beach and what we were most excited about – the food!
Here are the places I highly recommend:
Baoli Miami – I think this was our most favorite out of all the places we went. It looks like a magical scene out of an enchanted garden. Inside, the service was perfect, and the food was insanely good.
Katsuya South Beach – Located inside the beautiful SLS South Beach hotel, Katsuya masters the art of Japanese cuisine. The food was stellar and the service was great. Bonus, their cozy and swanky hotel bar is right outside the restaurant so you can have a pre- or post-dinner cocktail.
Mr Chow – A staple. I’d been to their location in Los Angelas years ago, and was excited to dine here again. It is very high end as far as service goes. The space itself is beautiful to look at and the food will not disappoint. It also helps that it’s located inside one of Miami’s best hotels – The W South Beach.
Larios on South Beach – I know there are a lot of great Cuban restaurants in Miami and I wish we could have hit up a few more but we decided on revisiting an old favorite – Larios. They have Cuban classic dishes, a great ambiance and a patio that makes for great people watching. Oh, and some great cocktails!
Below are some recommendations from friends we were unable to get to:
Caja Caliente, Mandolin, Soho House, St Roch Market.
We’ve been home for a week now and already can’t wait to return! Miami was just what we needed.