Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Miami Trip - South Beach

Yum
Just over a week ago, my hubby and I traveled down to Miami for our 25th anniversary.  It was a super special treat, obviously to celebrate our 25th, but also because it was the first time we have traveled without the girls since their birth.  Yep, our oldest is almost 20 and it just never worked out.  Time, money and my weird obsession about flying together.  I can be a worry wart at times.  I know shocking.???  Probably not....but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  What if something happened while we were away?  What if the plane went down?  What if we were bitten by sharks, dragged underwater to bleed to death and drown (scarred forever by Jaws).  I know, crazy right?  BUT, we finally did it!  Hopped aboard a plane and flew to Miami's South Beach.  Oh my gosh!  We had soooo much fun!  So, today I am going to be your travel guide with recommendations on what to see, where to stay and what to do.  Please note, I was not compensated for these recommendations.  We were just really impressed and I thought I would share with all of you.  
Grab your beach towel because we are heading to the beach!



Where we stayed...
The Betsy Hotel on South Beach.


The Betsy Hotel is quite a gem along South Beach's Ocean Drive.  A four star boutique hotel offers everything you need and more.  The Betsy is located at the North end of Ocean Drive and is just across the street from the beach.  I loved the quiet end of the strip and all the attention you received from the staff.  Truly a timeless and refined hotel.


The lobby had a perfect area for relaxing and grabbing a cocktail before eating at the hotel's restaurant, best steakhouse in Miami, or before heading out onto South Beach for dinner.



Oh my gosh!  The rooftop deck had amazing views during the day as well as at night.


"Misters" and a cocktail bar helped you stay cool during the day, but the real treat was to relax up here after dinner as the moon rose over Miami.  Comfortable couches and chaises were set up for group conversation or just quiet conversation with your significant other.  An absolutely perfect way to end the day!  I would definitely come back to stay here.  Rooms reminded me of someplace Hemingway would have stayed.  Of course The Betsy has a pool as well.  And, the attention to detail!  A bottle of chilled Prosecco and chocolate covered strawberries were in our room upon arrival!  This is the place to stay if you want that sophisticated hotel that also has the ability to make you feel like you are a part of their family.  LOVED IT!

Things to do on South Beach
Of course, the beach!



The Betsy provides 2 chairs and an umbrella for each day of your stay, a must in all the Miami sun!
The water was like a bathtub, so you really needed to go out far.  The water is crystal clear and you could go almost 25 yards or so and still have water only up to just above your knees.  Just dip down and relax in the water.  And you know what, the thought of sharks didn't even cross my mind because I was on vacation with my hubby!  


The 3rd most photographed house in the United States is located right on Ocean Drive.  Behind these gates is the Versace Mansion.  Gianni Versace, the Italian designer, lived right here and was unfortunately murdered in 1997 right on the steps of this opulent home.  There was quite a manhunt on the streets of Miami to catch the killer.  Lots of stories about this home.  I believe there is now a really nice restaurant located inside.  Worth peeking through the gates!


News Cafe is a Miami tradition!  A cute, little sidewalk cafe with great breakfasts while you people watch!  Versace grabbed a croissant and coffee every morning from here.  You should too!


I wasn't familiar with this area, from my past life living in South Florida.  Espanola Way is located near 14th street a couple of blocks off Ocean Drive.  Modeled after quaint streets of Spain, Espanola Way is full of restaurants and shops, totally worth a visit.  You can walk easily to this area.  It is actually really close to The Betsy.  It started off in the 1920's as a meeting place for the wealthy and a place gangsters, like Al Capone, would gather.  Then it became the backdrop for lots of 80's movies and tv shows like Miami Vice.  It has a fun vibe and lots of places I would like to eat at when we come back!

Then there is the nightlife...


Lots of cruising, music luring you into clubs and people watching to the max.  Whether you participate or not, it's still fun.

A definite must is a Miami Culinary Tour!  This company offers foodie tours of South Beach, The Wynwood Art District and Little Havana.  What a way to experience an area through food and probably places you would never think to stop at.  These tours sell our fast!  Make sure to check in tomorrow for a whole wrap up about this tour!

Where to eat...
So many places!!!  

We grabbed a lunch at The Kitchen on Ocean Drive.  They had a baby palamillo with plantains, rice and black beans so that we could get our Cuban food fix.  


Breakfast at The Betsy was decadent!
Almond Brioche French Toast with Cinnamon-Caramelized Bananas.
AMAZING!


Another breakfast at The Betsy, we ordered a seasonal fruit plate and fresh berries as well as a bakery basket that included croissants, scones, a bundt coffee cake, madelines and a danish.  I could get used to these luxurious breakfasts!


Right next door to our hotel was Z Ocean Hotel.  They had a lovely outdoor restaurant called The Front Porch Cafe.  Keeping with my love of seafood, I ate a Blackened Mahi Mahi sandwich with a side of mango salsa.  So tropical and delicious!  Besides, eating outside on a covered porch in your bathing suit makes everything taste really, really good!


Lunch at The Betsy!  Blackened Swordfish with Avocado and Mango Mostarda.  Fabulous service and seafood that is top notch!   


For our fancy, anniversary dinner we ate BLT Steak...the best steakhouse in Miami which is at The Betsy!  This hotel has it all!
Enormous light and airy popovers come at the beginning of your meal.


A huge Fontina and Bacon Baked Potato!  Biggest tater I have ever seen!  YUM!


 For the main meal, Grilled Local Snapper with sweet pea guacamole and a cilantro vinaigrette.  The flavors were outstanding!  I wanted to lick the plate, but it was a fancy restaurant so I controlled myself.  Besides, it might have made me look like I didn't get out often.  :)


BLT is known for steaks, so the hubby had a 8 ounce CAB filet that was amazingly tender and flavorful.


So, that's it!  Our first trip together in a really long time was a huge success!
We thoroughly enjoyed all that South Beach has to offer and hope to return again soon.
Don't you just want to check it out too? I hope so!
The Betsy had it all, so if you plan a trip there, this is THE place to stay.
Check back tomorrow for The Miami Culinary Tour...can you tell I like food?

Celebrate the little things that make life sweet,
Christine


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