4 girls and 4 nights in South Beach. We were excited. It was one of my friend’s 30th birthday so we decided to make a trip out of it. Miami is actually super annoyingly far from Vancouver – it takes about 8 hours to get there – and that’s just flying time! You could fly to Amsterdam in the same time! But, no, we were set on Miami. I had been to Miami before (in 2007) and I managed to convince my friends to give it a go. “It’s not the cheesy, tacky place that you think it is! It’s cool and low-key.” I promised my friends. I knew this because I had been before… but that time it was with my boyfriend visiting his sister. We didn’t have to plan a thing – his sister took care of everything and we had a great time. This trip, however, was different.
First, the weather didn’t work out for us. We went in March and it rained almost every day during our trip. Miami is not that great if it rains. We rented a car for the day and drove out to the outlets. That took about 45 mins and although the outlets had many designer stores (Barneys, Theory, Saks, etc.), I did not have any luck finding anything I liked so clearly I was not a happy girl. We also tried driving out to the Keys to see if the weather there would be nicer. So weird but it worked. We only drove to the tip of the keys (as we didn’t have the time to go further) but the sun was shining. The beach, on the other hand, was really ugly. We just couldn’t win.
- It took me a long time to figure out where to stay. We wanted to stay in South Beach but not too close to the busy part near Collins and 5th street so we opted for an apart/hotel near Collins and 23rd St. Hotels were super expensive – I mean, $800 for a room at the Setai? Come on, I’m no Kim Kardashian. So we opted for Tradewinds Apart/Hotel – ha! A couple of blocks from the beach, and right next to the W, Setai, Gansevoort, Setai, etc. The pictures looked lush and pretty..and somewhat skeptical..but for $200 a night and 4 to a room, we weren’t going to get a better deal.
- Note: This place was totally decent to stay at if you are with friends and don’t mind a bit of noise. The crowd was a bit younger – like a lot of 18-24 international students – but it was fine for us. Not the place to stay if you are couple looking for a romantic getaway. No. No.
- It was a bit tough to find tasty but chilled out places to eat. We found one place that was our thing – Ms. Pings – tasty chinese food but in a cool, modern/hipster-ish setting. Otherwise, we weren’t too into the rest of the touristy places to eat so Miami didn’t get many stars in this dept.
- We did manage to hit the town while we were in Miami. We went for drinks at the Delano, Setai and the W. This was one of my favourite parts about Miami. Delicious drinks outside on the beautiful grounds of a hotel. The outdoor bars are super relaxing, low-key and you can always find a place to chill out and sit. The drinks are not cheap though. $15 at least for a wine/cocktail.
- Crowds can be iffy – this time around I found a lot more cheezeballs (orange tans, white gucci loafers, greasy hair etc.) when we were out in Miami compared to my last trip. Not sure what happened since 2007.
- On this trip, the highlights were really drinks at the outdoor part of the W hotel and the beach near our hotel (23rd St. and Collins – much quieter than the beach further south). Beaches in Miami are just beautiful – not what you expect for a “city beach”. The further south you go, the busier it gets. Either way, you get to enjoy some beautiful Caribbean water and powdery white sand.
- I need to include a highlight from my other trip to Miami: visiting and eating at the Standard. It’s the place to go to have some appys, drink some rose and watch the sunset. Priceless.