As far as vacation go, I don’t think it gets better than Miami for me. Some of my best friends happen to live there, so it’s the perfect balance of friends, beach time, shopping, dining, and going out. I was just there for two weeks and also did a weekend in Palm Beach, which is a perfect break from Miami’s hustle and bustle. Here’s a look at the standouts from my trip. On a side note, Miami isn’t all that popular in the summer because it’s so hot, but it’s a great time to go if you’re on a budget because the hotels are considerably cheaper, it’s more fun to shop because everything is on sale, and, anyway, there’s AC blasting all over the place. Also note that everything happens LATE in Miami so I would recommend doing dinner at 9PM or even 930PM.
WHERE TO STAY
My husband and I rented a car, which I personally would not recommend. First off, if you pick up the car at the airport it’s 30% more expensive. We ended up paying over $1000 for our car and that doesn’t include all the tolls and valet ($15-25). Uber is super cheap and fast in Miami. We ended up doing Uber even though we had the car very often because it was cheaper and more convenient than dealing with valet! That said, if you do like to drive and don’t mind being slightly out of central South Beach Eden Rock is a great option. They have a Nobu Hotel within the Eden Rock, which has a great spa (image at the top of the post is from the spa) as well as an amazing restaurant, Malibu Farms, which stands out because it’s actually on the beach. It’s amazing for lunch or dinner (get the avocado pizza above if you go and make sure to request a table outside!).
If you’re looking for something more central you can’t go wrong with the Edition and the Faena is the newest it hotel. I will say I’ve stayed at the Edition before (this time I stayed at an apartment that my parents bought), and the rooms are expensive and tiny (like…they didn’t even have a closet in my room!), but the hotel itself has a great vibe. I’ve heard the same thing about the Faena – expensive and tiny. For a more affordable option with an equally amazing location and a solid pool and restaurant, checkout the National Hotel.
WHERE TO EAT
I’m all about the food when I travel, especially this time because I wasn’t staying at a hotel. The dining options in Miami are endless, but you really want to plan ahead and make reservation or you’ll be stuck in tourist traps on Lincoln Road. Above is an image from Villa Azur. They make a parmesan truffle pasta dish that is OUT OF THIS WORLD! I usually don’t eat pasta (rather save my carbs for bread) or cheese (acne!), but this was worth every bite. They also have wonderful focaccia that’s oily in the best possible way.
Gianni’s is another must. Yes it’s touristy, but the restaurant is located in Gianni Versace’s former mansion and it’s simply stunning. The dessert alone is worth going for.
Cecconi’s at Soho Beach House (you can go even if you’re not a member) is another great pick for dinner but also for brunch (the buffet is amazing). If you’re a member you’ll love the pool and beach area and their bar is such a scene. Speaking of brunch Bagatelle is always a fun options and I’m always pleasantly surprised at how amazing their food is. I have to say the vibe wasn’t as hot as it is at their St Barts location, but still a fun vibe and super0friendly and upbeat (dancing, singing etc.) staff. I can’t remember exactly what the above was, but ask for their smoked salmon toast because it was delicious.
For truly Instagram-able moments, head to Jaya at The Setai. They had entertainment throughout our dinner. The space is stunning. You can’t tell from the above image, but it’s outdoors. The food is also great (try the dumplings).
Vegan spots usually aren’t hot spots, but Planta is (images above and below are from Planta). We went for lunch, but dinner the place is actually packed, which is far from typical for a vegan spot. Everything on their menu is amazing. I would go with a group and order as much as you can, but especially the watermelon sushi. Even their vegan burger was out of this world. Below is their version of tartare.
TO GO OUT
I didn’t get to go to Sugar because it was pouring rain when I got there and since it’s totally outdoors it closed, but Sugar is on the 40th floor so the views are supposedly stunning. From what I could tell about the decor, it’s beautiful too. Because it was raining we ended up going to Quinto la Huella, which is located in the same building and is a great place for dinner or a quite drink. It’s so comfortable to sit and the decor is beautiful.
TO GET GLAM
Valet Tan gave me an amazing spray tan. It was my first stop off the plane! I highly recommend. I went to them, but they can also come to you. Glam + Go is a great option for quick, hair blowouts (with or without washing) and if you go to their location in the Loewe’s hotel you can get your mani/pedi done next door. When I was in Palm Beach I also got my hair color done at Paul Labrecque. The salon is located in this fantastic shopping plaza (with a Sant Ambroeus! Which is where the image above was taken). My color came out so well, even if you’re not staying in Palm Beach it’s worth the drive. Ditto for the manicure I got which wasn’t gel, but lasted over a week! Literally I have never gotten a non-gel manicure that has lasted that long.
Miami is known for excess, but they’re also known for Art Basel which means they have an amazing art scene. Two museums I would highly recommend (and both have restaurants great for lunch) are the Norton in Palm Beach (go on a sunny day because they have a beautiful sculpture garden) and the Pérez Art Museum. The two restaurants are Verde at Perez Art Museum and The Restaurant at the Norton.
I was eating a lot while I was in Miami so it was important that I workout. I’m a Barry’s Bootcamp addict so it’s great that they have a location there. Sweat 440 is another great, but less intense HITT option and then there’s Anatomy, which offers classes and a multi-level gym. It’s GORGEOUS. This is where all the trainers go to workout.
The most famous hotel in Palm Beach is obviously The Breakers. If you can’t afford to stay there, it’s worth going for a drink or to their seafood restaurant just to take in the scene. It’s the biggest and most resort-like hotel in Palm Beach. For a luxe, but more boutique and homey feel checkout The Brazilian Court. It has a better location than The Breakers in my opinion because you can walk to town for shopping and dining. It also has a Fekkai salon and Boulud restaurant and it’s just 5 minutes from one of the best restaurants in Palm Beach – Buccan. Buccan has a great vibe, great food and fair prices. The team behind it also owns Grato, which is a nice, laid-back family spot.
Lastly, I have to give a shoutout to Miami Cocktail Company. I rarely drink, but my husband, a friend, and I did a tasting with them and all of their drinks – which have no fillers and are certified organic taste so refreshingly delicious (think mimosa, sangria, bellini etc.). While we were there we got a sneak peak at their canned cocktails coming out soon at Whole Foods. If you have a yacht moment, I would highly recommend stocking up on their drinks beforehand.