Travel Diary: South Beach

View of South Point Beach in South Beach, Miami

This is part 2 of my travel diary from our trip back in November; the first instalment was of New Orleans so if you haven’t read that yet, you can find it here.  We only spent 1.5 days in Miami, so this is a short-and-sweet trip report!

Following our stay in New Orleans, we flew directly to Miami; when planning our trip our main goal was to visit the Cayman Islands but the majority of flights to Cayman are from Miami so we figured it only made sense to stop there for a bit, given that we’ve never been and have always wanted to visit.  We ended up spending 1.5 days there and after a little research, chose to stay in South Beach, about a 1/2 hour cab ride from Miami International Airport.

Miami is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world so we were excited to explore them and enjoy some relaxation after a busy few days in New Orleans.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans in mind; a few days before we arrived the weather was in the high 20’s but by the time we got there it had dipped to the low teens.  In the evenings you definitely needed a sweatshirt or a jacket.  It’s weird because at home if it was 18 degrees you’d never hear me complain but I think when you go somewhere expecting it to be a lot warmer it just seems way colder than it is.

Where We Stayed

Marriott Stanton South Beach

As per usual we chose a Starwood (aka Marriott now) property; we wanted something on the beach as we (wrongly) assumed that we’d be able to take advantage of it while we were there.  This hotel checked that box and also seemed to be a reasonable distance away from shops and restaurants.

View of the guest room at the Marriott Stanton South Beach, Miami

View of the guest room at the Marriott Stanton South Beach, Miami

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, we were pretty happy with our stay here.  The hotel is newly renovated and the rooms were very nice, clean and spacious (the bathroom was a little tight).  It had a comfortable bed and a beautiful view of the beach.

View from the balcony of a guest room at the Mariott Stanton South Beach, Miami

There was a small-ish pool and hot tub area that also overlooked the beach and we went down there one day and sat on the chairs for an hour before leaving because it was too cold.  I suspect that area gets crowded very quickly when the sun is out but they do offer complimentary beach chairs as well, which was nice (not that we got to use them).

The hotel had two restaurants (Japanese + Mexican) which we didn’t have a chance to visit as well as a Starbucks (which we did utilize each morning).

View of the beach from the pool deck at the Marriott Stanton South Beach, Miami

Location-wise, I don’t know if this would be my first pick.  This is on the south end of Ocean Drive which is a lot quieter and definitely not a bad thing.  That said, there’s definitely not a ton of restaurants around here – you have to walk in further to the centre (approximately 10 min.) to find them.  Even then, we didn’t really eat on Ocean Drive and preferred the Lincoln Road Mall area, which was around a 40-minute walk from our hotel.  I think next time I’d try to find a hotel that was closer to this area.

What We Did

View of Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami

Ocean Drive

We walked down the infamous Ocean Drive a few times and it’s definitely…interesting.  It’s basically back-to-back restaurants and bars decked out in colourful lights that all seem to have the same, several page menu and servers standing outside trying to convince you to eat there.

We did stop at the Sugar Factory for a drink one night and almost fell over when the tab came – it was close to $75 for two cocktails including a mandatory (practically hidden) service fee and an optional tip. Now Sugar Factory’s cocktails are good but they aren’t that good.

 Beach

View of the beach in South Point Beach in South Beach Miami

As mentioned, we were really hoping to spend a day at the beach or pool but the weather just didn’t cooperate.  Instead, we did several walks down the beach however and imagined how lovely it would be (haha).  The beaches are so wide with super soft sand and bright blue water; we’d love to come back in the warmer months when we could actually spend all day at the beach.

Shopping

There is great shopping in South Beach, specifically at the Lincoln Road Mall.  I could have spent an entire day just shopping here but I had done some shopping previously on our trip so I didn’t have any room left in my suitcase.  They had basically everywhere that I enjoy shopping at – Ulta, Macy’s, TJ Max (I did pick up a few bathing suits here for dirt cheap!), Express, Victoria’s Secret, etc.

Where We Ate

The Queens sandwich at Bacon Bitch in South Beach Miami - a croissant sandwich with bacon and cheese

A picture of a slushy cocktail and bottle of Funky Buddah beer on a table at Bacon Bitch in South Beach, Miami

Bacon Bitch

I came across this place on Instagram and I was…intrigued – by the name and their food.  We decided to give it a try for a late breakfast one morning and we’re definitely not disappointed by it; I had the Queens which was eggs, sharp cheddar cheese and bacon (of course) and Mr. PRL had the Philly that had strip steak, mushrooms, onions and nacho cheese.  Mine was warm, gooey and very bacon-y and decadent – it’d be perfect hangover food.  I also tried one of their slushy cocktails and it was enjoyable, although less so that day because I had a sore throat (the beginning of a cold :().

Something to be aware of is that this definitely isn’t the place for everyone; I wouldn’t take kids here or anyone who is easily offended.  They fully embrace their brand and you’ll hear a lot of cursing and adult language which I’ll admit, got a bit much near the end but if that doesn’t bother you, it’ll likely be the best croissant sandwich you’ll have!

a pepperoni and pepper pizza from Pizza + Burger by Michael Mina in South Beach, Miami

Pizza + Burger by Michael Mina

On our last night we decided to do a looong walk for pizza to basically the other side of South Beach at the Fontaine Bleu resort. Sidenote – this resort was beautiful and posh and reminded me of something you’d see in Vegas.  The food here was good – we split a pizza and burger (which was way too much) and although I found the pizza a tad greasy, it was still worth the hike.

Overall Thoughts

As I’ve mentioned several times, I’d definitely consider going back to Miami during the warmer months when we could enjoy the beach and pools for a couple of days.  Because it’s basically across the country for us, we’d probably have to tack it on to another trip to make the travel worth it but if you’re closer I would recommend it as a travel destination!


Have you ever been to Miami?

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