*Post sponsored by VISIT FLORIDA*
Hello and welcome to the first instalment of my Miami posts.
On the 20th January, I headed off to Miami with my baby sister in tow for a girlie holiday. We planned to explore, eat and laugh our way around the incredible city - and that is exactly what we did. It was honestly the trip of a lifetime; Miami has been high on my hit list of places to visit for so long now, so to have been able to travel there for a whole week (and with my sister, Faye – bonus!) it really was a dream come true.
The weather was totally glorious throughout our trip, reaching highs of 29°c on most days, which considering it was January, was rather splendid indeed. With the sun beaming down on us for a whole week and with a somewhat needed sea breeze, we honestly couldn't have asked for better.
Miami has so much more to offer than I ever thought possible.
From the incredible beaches of which I expected, to the high rise Downtown area and of course- the oh so colourful areas of Wynwood and Little Havanna, there is truly something for everyone and I'm here today to share exactly what we got up to in the hope to inspire your next trip... Honestly if you're keen, book a ticket, you certainly will not regret it!
So grab your tipple of choice and perhaps a snack or two as it's a bit of a long one but a fab one which may well leave you wanderlusting.
*Disclaimer it definitely WILL leave you wanderlusting.*
WHERE TO GO
Okay so first up I wanted to share some of my favourite parts of Miami with you, starting with Ocean Drive of course.
Waking up on day one of our trip to Miami on Ocean Drive truly was a "pinch me" moment.
It was the ultimate in holiday feels and I must say, it didn't feel like America one bit, or at least the America I've come to know.
We were in complete holiday mode with the palm tree lined streets, the intense sunshine and the smell of the sea... Oh the memories.
Walking down Ocean Drive you're greeted by seriously lovely locals on every corner, an array of hotels, bars and restaurants. The atmosphere is totally electric.
Ocean Drive is quite a busy road indeed, with the most awesome of cars from retro Mustang's to the latest Ferrari's it really is like something from Grand Theft Auto as George commented. With the beach and beach walks on one side and the most incredible of Art Deco buildings on the other, there isn't a better way to kick start your trip to Miami than with a walk down Ocean Drive.
As an architecture buff, we started our trip with a seriously informative Art Deco tour of the local area and oh what a treat it was. The buildings are out of this world extraordinary and unlike any other place I have ever visited. Each building has been restored and treated in order to stay true to its original features; painted in pastel colours and decked out in a way that keeps it contemporary yet true to its 1920's style.
FIND IT: Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
As I mentioned, on one side of Ocean Drive you have Miami Beach one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. White sands and blue water, it truly was stunning. I particularly loved the sky line of Ocean Drive and beyond, peeking through from the other side. For me, as a city girl through and through it was the best of both worlds... Sea and skyline, oooo yes!
And that’s what I loved about Miami – it’s a great mix of city and beach. You could easily spend a week on the beach, or if you have a busy schedule, like we had, a day on the beach is the perfect way to recoup. There was literally SO much to see, do, and in turn, photograph. After five days of intense exploring, our beach day was most definitely needed and was a truly relaxing day indeed.
Colourful beach huts line the beach indicating when you've reached the next part of the beach, which only adds to the vibrant and fun atmosphere of the beach as a whole.
In my opinion, no trip to Miami is complete without a visit to the beach, even if it's just for an afternoon beach walk - this isn't to be missed.
WHAT I'M WEARING | FOREVER 21 TEE, BOOHOO SHORTS, RAY BAN SUNGLASSES, ADIDAS STAN SMITH TRAINERS, NEXT SWIMSUIT
Now Little Havana has got to be my surprise fave of the trip.
We had a free day and with the weather being rather cloudy we decided to hop in a taxi to a place I'd not heard a lot about but had been advised by locals that we must visit.
Now Miami is HUGE so a car is essential, but if like me you don't drive (c'mon 2017 let's change this) Uber in Miami is totally awesome with each and every driver being SO lovely indeed. We didn't wait longer than 4 minutes for a car and it was really reasonably priced.
The driver that kindly took us to Little Havana was an absolute delight and told us of all the best places to hit up whilst we were there.
We took his advice and he did not disappoint. Cuban coffee, ice cream, mojito's and live music it was a truly wonderful day indeed but I have a WHOLE post dedicated to my favourite area coming up next week so I won't say too much here.
FIND IT: Eighth St, Little Havana, Miami, FL
When asking friends, fellow bloggers and you guys, on some top tips for Miami, SO many of you suggested we check out Wynwood for a day of art!
Luckily, we were kindly booked onto a tour with the wonderful Ryan, who you can see pictured above and were shown the best of the best when it came to Wynwood and its world famous art.
Street art from highly respected and credited artists from all around the globe, my mind was truly blown that such things could be created with spray paint... CRAZY!
Ryan was so clued up and truly passionate about all things Wynwood that it began to rub off on Faye and I. Having never truly understood the work that goes into street art, I now have an all new respect and eye for it, that's for sure.
Some works have been up in Wynwood since as early as 2005 whilst others are quickly taken over by rival artists. It's an interesting world is street art, with oh so many politics and rules, but the level of respect they have for one another is infectious.
Wynwood is a truly wonderful experience and something I urge anyone visiting Miami to do. I would say a personal guide such as Ryan is the best way to do it so Ryan really was awesome at showing us the best of the best..
The sun, combined with the colours of the walls, the passion of Ryan and the faces of the tourists who came to view the works was truly magical and I would highly recommend it as a top tip when visiting Miami.
FIND IT: 2520 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127, USA
Everyone from Andy Warhol to John and Yoko to hilariously Donald Trump (who got the hump and obvz forced them to cover it up) has been immortalised here at Wynwood a place like no other thats for sure.
The Design District
From Wynwood, Faye and I took the short walk through Mid-Town Miami across to The Design District; a new part of Miami that quite honestly took my breath away.
When we saw it on our itinerary I wasn't overly sure what to expect, but what was in store was the most stunning of luxury shopping experiences I have ever seen.
A truly beautiful area of the most beautiful of luxury shops from Louis Vuitton, Loewe, Hermes, to Dior, Valentino and more, The Design District is home to some of the second Flagship stores in the world. With each store being designed personally by the brand, meaning no two shops are the same which added to the beauty of the area.
Each store was different to the next, showcasing and encompassing all it has to offer as a brand. Something I found totally interesting indeed.
With art installations throughout, street after street of luxury stores and with a menswear and contemporary fashion area coming up later this year, it really is the most perfect of shopping destinations, and unlike anywhere I've ever shopped before in the world.
FIND IT: 3841 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137-3606
WHERE TO EAT
So now I've told you some of my must visit places within Miami, I thought it only fair to share some of the absolutely sensational dining experiences we had whilst in the city.
When I say that Faye and I ate like queens, that really is no exaggeration. We were kindly booked into some of the most incredible restaurants that Miami has to offer, with one of them being the best dining experience of my life!
So with that absolutely HUGE accolade I had better start off with such a restaurant, hadn't I?!
Komodo - situated on Brickell Avenue in Downtown Miami. An area of town which is seriously up-and-coming and where we spent three nights, I can only wish to come back to see its full transformation in 5-10 years or so.
Brickell is a brand new establishment offering luxury shopping stores, hotels, restaurants and bars, and Komodo is based right within the heart of it all.
Komodo is a three story restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining areas which combines contemporary Southeast Asian cuisine with a South Florida vibe. Can I get a hell yeah to that!?
We were treated to a tasting menu of the most exquisite of food, with everything from Peking Duck, Wagyu Beef and the most delicious seafood and sushi. Each dish was truly sensational, with the service second to none. We were looked after by Arnaud who was extremely attentive, funny and clued up with exactly what went into each dish he served.
It was a dining experience like no other and something I would HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend should you be wanting something extra special for your trip to Miami.
FIND IT: 801 Brickell Ave, Miami, FL 33131, USA
Now, the Big Pink was somewhere we opted to eat at on our beach day, which, probably wasn't the best idea... American portions combined with a swimsuit wasn't my brightest of ideas but when SO many of you suggested we checked it out, well of course we had to!
It's a HUGE pink building with neon pink and silver furnishings based just on Collins Avenue.
The Big Pink is known for its outrageously huge menu and even bigger portion sizes. It's the ultimate American diner style restaurant with a really relaxed and fun vibe, with both locals and tourists lapping up the sun and of course the fried food.
Completely daunted by the epic menu, Faye and I randomly selected the chilli nachos, bacon and cheese loaded potato skins and of course the mac & cheese, and I can honestly say that each dish was AMAZING!
Sometimes with these places that offer a little bit of everything, it's easy for flavour to be overlooked, but not here. It was comfort food at its finest and we had an absolute blast!
FIND IT: South Pointe Beach, 157 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
WHAT I'M WEARING| RAY BAN SUNGLASSES, WILDFOX COCA-COLA TEE, MONICA VINADER BRACELETS
River Yacht Club
AKA Faye's favourite night of the trip.
The River Yacht Club, as expected is situated right on the Miami River in Downtown Miami, offering a stunning outdoor setting, extremely low lighting and therefore totally romantic. It was the perfect place for two sisters to dine LOL. But no, seriously, it was a truly magical setting which would be so perfect should you be visiting with your other half.
The menu was simple and to the point with seasonal dishes on offer, making it an easy decision process, unlike the other restaurants we visited. It was fine dining with a relaxed feel to it ( and truly lovely staff too). I opted for the burrata to start which has got to be one of my fave starters ever, but this one wasn't like any burrata dish I've had before... in the most delicious way, of course. Faye selected a salmon and avocado Ceviche which was truly delicious and oh-so fresh and for her main a squid ink risotto which she assured me was the best meal of her life.
FIND IT: 401 SW 3rd Ave, Miami, FL 33130, USA
On our first evening in Miami, we were kindly treated to a trip to El Tucan, a dining experience that offers a cabaret show whilst you eat... HELLO PERFECT NIGHT OUT!
As soon as you step foot in El Tucan you are transported to the 1920's from everything to it's lavish decor, to it's speak-easy style entrance and of course, the show itself. Performances included everything from dancing, burlesque, singers and a live band it truly was SUCH a fun night.
Faye and I had one of the best seats in the house. Seated on a high bar table in the centre of the room which made for the perfect view of the show, whilst we chowed down on a set menu of delicious Latin inspired tapas.
For just $85 dollars a head for a delicious four course meal and a spectacular show this really isn't something to be missed.
FIND IT: 1111 SW 1st Ave, Miami, FL 33130, USA
Whilst wandering around The Design District, Faye and I stumbled upon newly opened OTL. A community hangout coffee shop with the most beautiful and dare I say it "Instagrammable" decor EVER! A whitewashed open plan space with the cutest baby pink and mint green accents throughout, it was seriously to die for.
With a real hustle and bustle to the place, from friends hanging out, business men catching a coffee between meetings to students working away on their laptops, it had a great vibe to it.
Whilst we only popped in for a quick refreshment of homemade lemonade and a pick me up espresso (both of which were spot on), it was a place I really fell in love with, especially as the girl behind the counter kindly helped me with my loose change... those American coins are confusing okay?!?!
FIND IT: 160 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137, USA
WHERE TO STAY
Now that you know where to visit and where to eat; you'll need somewhere to rest your head after a busy day of exploring the wonderful city of Miami, right?
Luckilym we stayed at three truly awesome hotels, so you've come to the right place 😉
First up on our agenda was The Sense Beach House, situated right on Ocean Drive. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it was the most perfect of locations to start off our holiday in Miami. Just a short 10 minute walk to the hustle and bustle of Miami Beach, Washington Avenue, Collins Avenue, the works!
The Sense Beach House offers a relaxed surf style oasis in the heart of Ocean Drive, with a calm decor of white and blue and fun accents such as Barbie Doll and Pineapple art work, it was a real treat to stay there.
With incredible views of the beach from our room, a fantastic location, delicious breakfast favourites and a bright and spacious room, Sense Beach House ranks high when it comes to hotels, that's for sure.
FIND IT: 400 ocean drive, at 4th street, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Next we headed across town to Downtown Miami, a place that as I mentioned earlier, is on the up, and has a real vibrancy to it, however not quite as picturesque as that of Miami Beach... yet!
Here we stayed at The Langford, a truly beautiful hotel with a real New York feel to it, which probably has something to do with the fact it was built for purpose as a bank. With traditional features reminiscent of that of a bank, the hotel has modernised its interior, but with a retro 1920's touch.
Everything from the wallpaper to the head-boards of the bed, to the furniture and flooring has been thought out, with its original era in mind, which is something that truly inspires me to say the least.
One thing I must say about this place is that the beds are simply incredible! Absolutely huge, luxuriously comfortable and with a mountain of fluffy pillows, all of which provided the best night's sleep of the trip.
FIND IT: 121 SE 1st St, Miami, FL 33131, USA
And finally we ended our trip with two nights at The Vagabond Hotel which was completely amazing. I've always wanted to stay in a Motel style hotel so this was seriously exciting for me.
Although, of course, I know that the Vagabond Hotel wasn't like your typical road-side motel. This place has been decked out in the most awesome decor that transported Faye and I straight to the 1940's. There was a real bad-ass, rock and roll vibe to the entire place which was of course right up my street.
The rooms were seriously to my taste with a quirky retro feel to them, whilst the pool area was absolutely stunning! We spent our final two days in Miami lounging by the pool and it was just the perfect way to end the trip of a lifetime.
The Vagabond Hotel is located in the Upper East Side - another side of the giant city of Miami and just a 15 minute taxi ride from both Ocean Drive and Downtown Miami, meaning its location is pretty perfect for all Miami has to offer.
The website states to "be ready for a whirlwind love affair" and this is exactly what it was.
FIND IT: 7301 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138, USA
So there we have it, told you it was a long one 😉
I had the MOST incredible week away with Faye and I really hope you've enjoyed seeing and reading exactly what we got up to, I also vlogged the entire trip which you can watch down below too. I'm already desperate to get back out there to explore further so if you have any places that you think I'd love, do leave them in the comments below.
Lots of Love