Miami

Points to Ponder 

Miami – you put My Heart in the Sunshine State. The epitome of the South, Miami lies between Biscayne Bay and Atlantic Ocean. South Beach nicknamed as SoBe is a neighborhood in the city of Miami Beach. Day and night, SoBe is a major entertainment destination with boutique hotels, restaurants, bars & clubs. SoBe has a high tolerance of female monokini- in other words topless sunbathing at public beaches. That explains the open-mindedness of the town itself. Miami is the melting pot of the south. The tropical paradise by day and urban playground by night. There are no words for me to justify the beauty of Miami.

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So, I thought of throwing in some of my thoughts to ponder summed up to My Top Lists. Here you go:

Top 4 Streets/Roads/Avenues:8th Street and further up, the beach is busy and lively near the bars and clubs. But slow-paced near 4th street.

South Beach Map

Lincoln Road: shopping & restaurant destination
Ocean Drive: Bars & Restaurant:Infamous for those humongous $40 drink margaritas and mojitos. But if you hit it up during happy hour it is half off.

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Collins Ave.: upscale shops & galleries

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Espanola Way: restaurants,tapas bars, boutique shops

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Top 5 Hotels: You should be aware that all hotels charge between $25-$40 for valet since there are no lots around and there is a resort fee of at least $20.

Fontaine Bleau: 4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
                800-548-8886
                http://www.fontainebleau.com/
Fontaine Bleau “the” resort where James Bond and Goldfinger played a game of gin rummy, where Frank and The Rat Pack played and where Elvis was really “in the building,” – See more at: http://www.fontainebleau.com/web/nightlife/bleau_bar#sthash.EHFYiDBD.dpuf

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This is the iconic 5-start hotel of the stars, if you prefer the glitz, people watching, 21-over pool, and famous LIV nightclub.

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Lapis Spa : I would recommend taking advantage of the Miami Spa Week for discounted packages. I stabbed on the Bamboo Fusion Massage. This is a vigorous massage performed with natural bamboo stalks.

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What more can I say, but this is the hotel where you will get what you’ve paid for. Oops, the $25 & up $$$ cocktail drinks served in a plastic cup at the Bleau Bar, is worth your moments to hub on people watching. Bleau Bar is known as the meeting place of the star. The bar is centered at the lobby of the hotel.

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Loews: 1601 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL
       1-888-822-9097
       http://www.loewshotels.com/
Location is walking distance to Lincoln Rd. A typical Miami upscale hotel and at the same time kid friendly. I love the Hemisphere Lounge.

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Delano: 1685 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
        (305) 672 – 2000
        https://www.morganshotelgroup.com/delano/delano-south-beach

Hip and eclectic vibe hotel. I make it a point to visit Delano for a cocktail or two. Either by the pool, at the Rose Bar, or at the Umi Sushi Sake Bar. Delano is one of the landmark at South Beach. Check it out and you will find out why they are known for their epic pool parties.

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The Standard: 40 Island Ave, Miami Beach, FL
              (305) 673-1717
              http://www.standardhotels.com/spa-miami-beach

The Standard is another hip but simply luxurious hotel in Miami. The pool is the superlative feature of the hotel. This place somewhat defines the gorgeous people of Miami. You will run into some of the locals since this is located west of SoBe, about a 5-10 minute drive.

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Marenas Resort: 18683 Collins Avenue, Sunny Isles Beach, FL
                877 858 2305
                http://www.marenasresortmiami.com/

Marenas Resort is a hidden gem of Sunny Isles. This is more of a condo-type hotel. So if you are looking for a family getaway, this is the resort to go to. It has a friendly atmosphere, and the units have a full-sized kitchen and living room. To top it all, a great ocean view.

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Top 3 Boutique Hotels

Casa Victoria Orchid: 507 Espanola Way, Miami Beach, FL
                      305-908-1462
                      http://www.casavictoriaorchid.com/

The hotel is located at the foot of the Espanola Way. The location is away from the extreme party scene of SoBe. A nice place to relax away from the crowd but just a few blocks walk up to the beach. Affordable and a great value. The hotel has only 2 floors with a studio type of rooms with a nice European flair. We were lucky to be one of their first guests when they opened in 2013. The staff was friendly and accommodating. The guests get a complimentary use of  bicycle as well as beach towels and chairs. One of the best boutique hotel experience I had in Miami. I would definitely stay here again.

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Riviera Hotel and Suites: 2000 Liberty Avenue, 318 20th Street, Miami Beach, FL                                            305 538 7444                                                                       http://www.rivierahotelsouthbeach.com/

Riviera Hotel has its own definition of sophistication with a dash of modern character of a boutique hotel. The hotel is about 4 blocks to the beach, and close to the center of SoBe, yet a hushed spot away from the crowd. Their amenities are secluded and a homey modishness of Miami. The rooms are set in classic industrial touch. This hotel is a first-rate boutique hotel for couples and families as well. They offer the Classic Rooms, Balcony Rooms, and the one-bedroom apartment like lodging.

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Hilton Grand Vacation Suites: 1430 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach                                                                                                                                  http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/florida/hilton-grand-vacations-suites-at-south-beach-MIAMSGV/about/index.html

The hotel is located at the Art Deco of Miami Beach. Steps away to all the SoBe bars, restaurants, shops. A walk along the pristine beach of Miami. To sum it up – perfect location!!

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SoBe can be showy, but there are more to the bars and restaurants listed as such. There are restaurants that are hidden along the alleys, hole-in-the-wall, and more on locals only knew hang-outs. Need I say more, being a foodie makes me explore and discover the diverse palate of SoBe.

My Top Eateries:

Moreno’s Cuba: 318 20th St, Miami Beach, FL                                                    

A Havana like restaurant is a little sanctuary that offers live music every night. The Lechon Asado was delicious, and the Crocodile Colada was the turning point.

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Puerto Sagua:700 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL                                                

This place is open from 7am- 2am. I love their breakfast menu as well as the lunch and the dinner! Why don’t y’ all try their Noche Buena (Cuban Sandwich) Ropa Vieja, Oxtail Stew, Tres Leches Cake, and Cafe con Leche.

Ox tail Ropa

Under the Mango Tree:714 6th St, Miami Beach, FL                                                     

There is the sense of Miami’s culture that grows Under the Mango Tree. This is the place to go to for acai fruit bowls, dragon fruit smoothies, and other fruit juices. A vegan’s haven. Very refreshing atmosphere to your wallet and mind after a night’s out of margaritas and sangrias.

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Charlotte Bakery:1499 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL                                            

I make it a point that I stop by this bakery every time I’m in town. The best Columbian & Venezuelan pastries and sandwiches. The freshly baked empanadas are the best. My pick is always the chorizo empanada, and the arepa and corn cake with butter, why not! creme brulee is the bomb! You can also pre-order and pick it up for the next day’s picnic at the beach.

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Nexxt Cafe: 700 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, FL                                                                        The best Lobster deal at the middle of the tourist trap area. The 2 for $25 lobster-what can I say for a fresh quality lobster. A great menu at an affordable price. The fried mac-n-cheese appetizer was to die for. The chicken marsala was tasty. Beware of the huge portions!

 

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Top 3 Clubs/Bar:

LIV:Fontaine Bleu Hotel: 4441 Collins Ave.,Miami Beach, FL

My go-to place.Indulge a $75-$100 cover charge, and at times more depending on the guest DJ for the weekend. Yes—LIV is another home for Tiesto and Kaskade. Watch Tiesto perform at LIV during the Miami ULTRA Music festival.

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SET:320 Lincoln Road, Miami, FL                                                                                          SET is one of the premiere club in Miami.This club has a set up of Hollywood’s era during the 30s and 40s.

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FDR:Delano Hotel:1685 Collins Ave Miami Beach, FL

An underground club that has the  exclusive dark and sexy vibes of Miami.

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Top 3 Lounges & Tapas Bars:

Haven Gastro Lounge: 1237 Lincoln Rd Miami Beach, FL                                                                           This place is the happy hour gem of Miami Beach. Let’s add up the ambiance + the $$ –  beats me!

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Martini Bar: The Raleigh Hotel 1775 Collins Ave Miami Beach, FL                                                            An intimate bar with more than a handful of different flavors, and obviously Martini is the du juor of this bar. How do you want your Martini. Mine? I prefer it slightly dirty with a splash of vermouth.

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Tapas Y Tintos: 448 Espanola Way Miami Beach

The tapas bar that offers a bit of every subtle chill bar. Wide range of vino selection, great sangrias, and of course the Paella. They will warn you that it would take at least 45 minutes for the paella order, but its worth the wait. The baked goat cheese drenched in marinara sauce was astounding.

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Things to Do or the art of relaxation in Miami:

You can go boating and scuba diving at Biscayne National Park, search for the Florida panther in Big Cypress National Preserve, go island-hopping in Dry Tortugas National Park, or canoe through subtropical wilderness in Everglades National Park.

What you need are just the basics: bikinis, board shorts, flip-flops, sunblock, hat, towel, sunglasses –  and you’re good to go for a full day at the beach. Enjoy the luxury of actually doing nothing.

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Transportation:

To and From the airport, it is advisable to contact the hotel and ask for a hotel shuttle. To get around SoBe, taxi is great, which would cost you around $5 to $10 to get around from point to point. Maybe if you’re more adventurous, the fun and cheaper way to get around is to take the SoBe bus. The fare is only $0.25. If you are planning to get around the tourist spots of Miami, the Hop-on-Hop-off is a great way. For $39, you get to see the downtown area, Design District, Coconut Grove etc.

Lastly, why don’t you Uber Miami. I heard it from the grapevine that during the Miami Music Week, they offered the Uber Yacht. What can I say — Only in Miami!

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So this is Miami …THE CULINARY DELIGHTS, THE COUTURE, THE CULTURE,and SEXINESS AT IT’S BEST!

NOS VEMOS

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Music By: Tiesto: Chasing Summers

Kaskade: A Little More

Pictures Courtesy of: Participating Hotels, Bars, Restaurants

Pictures:

Leia Rinoza

Sheila Despi

Chad Regner

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