Miami, Florida: Day 1-2

July 29, 2013

For as long as I can remember I have had an obsession with Miami.  In my mind, it seems like the perfect city: While it is known for its endless choices that promise to excite all of the senses, it is also known for being one of the best destinations to seek complete relaxation.  On top of all of that it is an intoxicating blend of North and South American cultures where Spanglish is the language of choice.  I knew my Argentinean husband, Lucas, was going to share my love for it too, which is why I thought it was the best place to celebrate his Birthday this year.  And the icing on the cake was that our dear friends Andrea and John of Inspiring Travellers were going to honor us with their presence (the last time we had seen them was over two years ago during our wedding in Buenos Aires).

Whether it is Miami’s vices or virtues that are enticing you there, South Beach is the place for you to either go all out, chill out, or both.  We chose to stay at Lowes Miami Beach Hotel, since it is in the heart of the city.  The beachfront property is a fusion of cosmopolitan and Art Deco influences — a common theme found throughout Miami.

Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida

While the ocean was definitely calling our names, we did not have enough time for a swim before dinner, so we met our friends for some welcome drinks in the hotel’s bar.

We dined at The Forge Restaurant for Lucas’ Birthday dinner, because we all agreed that we wanted to spoil Lucas and it is arguably one of the best restaurants in Miami.  Our talented wedding photographer and friend Kyle of Kyle Hepp also joined us at the last minute.  My meal there was unforgettable for three reasons: 1) the food was beyond sensational, 2) I loved the company, and 3) it is where I began to fall out of love with this magical city.  Unbeknownst to any of us, a 20% gratuity tax is now automatically added on to all food and beverage purchases.  Do not get me wrong, when I have excellent service I tip generously.  However, our service at The Forge and subsequently most of the service we received during the rest of the trip was disappointing to say the least and it really upset me that I was forced to reward bad behavior.  After dinner we met up with more friends; one being the lovely Alex of Alex In Wanderland at the popular nightclub Hyde Beach.

The following day the four of us were generously given a private SOAK cabana at Lowes.  Each cabana features: butler service, full bathroom with shower, climate control, plush indoor and outdoor seating, safe deposit box, sun deck, soft seating, flat screen TV, I-pod home station, I-Pad, and mini-bar.  They can fit up to six people comfortably and if you are looking to splurge while in Miami this is the ultimate in luxury.

One of my travel icon’s, (yet another) Andrea, who frequents Miami often, recommended that we try Ola for dinner one evening.  The restaurant specializes in Latin American cuisine and was definitely a highlight of our trip.  I am still thinking about the delicious empanadas weeks later!

Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida
Over our decadent chocolate “cigar” dessert we discussed plans for our final day together. . .

47 thoughts on “Miami, Florida: Day 1-2

  1. TheDessertEngineer

    We love Miami, too. And we have stayed at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. My husband really loves the pool there. It looks like they have done some renovations recently. It looks really nice! Will have to try Ola next time I’m in Miami.

    Reply
    1. Andi Perullo de Ledesma Post author

      I would have liked the pool if there had been about 200 less screaming children and drunk college kids haha! It was WAY too crowded for me. The cabanas were lovely though. Definitely try Ola it was delicious!!!

      Reply
  2. Krista

    How wonderful to celebrate your man’s birthday in such a gorgeous place with such wonderful people!!! Happy Birthday to Lucas and much love to you. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Satu VW

    I shouldn’t have read this post hungry! Would love to visit Miami one day, although I’m not too keen on that automatic 20% gratuity tax. Although for someone who is not used to tipping, it does make your life easier not wondering how much to tip each time. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Andi Perullo de Ledesma Post author

      Hahaha sorry I should always warn my readers about food posts I think! Well, the servers we talked to claim that Latins don’t know how to tip and so since there are so many Latins in Miami they had to change the law. I think that’s incredibly insulting to Latins that they aren’t smart enough to add a tap, but I’m not a lawmaker so I guess my opinion is irrelevant. 20% is supposed to be be for AMAZING service and unfortunately I never once encountered that. 🙁

      Reply
      1. Satu VW

        Yeah I agree, I can’t think of many occasions I have left 20% tip when traveling. There has been a few places but it is just wrong that you need to automatically do it. And Latins don’t know how to tip?? Interesting…. 🙂

        Reply
  4. Jay

    I really, really don’t like when gratuities are automatically included. I think I’m a pretty good tipper and I’ll gladly do it when I feel the service warrants it but to have it predetermined for me puts me off.

    In any case, all of that sun looks incredible and so happy you were reunited with the Spirovs!

    Reply
    1. Andi Perullo de Ledesma Post author

      Yay, I’m so happy that you feel the same way!!! I don’t want to come off sounding arrogant or snotty, because my husband is a server and I completely respect the profession and I absolutely think they should be tipped, but tipped only when they have done a good job. Heck I would have taken decent job! Most servers we encountered though were just plain rude to us and obviously had zero desire to be doing their job. It really put a sour taste in our mouths.

      Reuniting with the Spirovs was AMAZING!!!!!!!! <3

      Reply
  5. Andrea

    Ahhhhh – I wish we could go back and do it all over again tomorrow, haha. As many little annoyances as there were we still had the BEST time with you and L. Such a fab setting for it too. Fab food, amazing company and plenty of stories to cherish. Where to next? xx

    Reply
  6. danee sarman

    I’m completely obsessed with Miami too. I could live there – no problem and I don’t feel that way about many places besides NYC. And you both looked like you did it up! The hotel looks amazing.

    Reply
  7. Rachel

    I’ve only taken a day trip to Miami but I’d love to get back and enjoy the beaches and restaurants. That hotel looks wonderful!

    Reply
  8. Anwar

    Wow, great photos and interesting. Sorry to hear the service was disappointing. I usually tip generously too but I hate having my hand forced. You definitely know how to live Miami up in Style. I have only been to Miami once and this makes me want to visit again.

    Reply
    1. Andi Perullo de Ledesma Post author

      Thanks a million! Yeah, it sucks being forced. Someone commented on FB though that you can actually demand it be taken off, which I didn’t know. I’m glad that you want to visit Miami again after reading my post. Yay!

      Reply
  9. Andy

    Looks like quite the birthday extravaganza. Right down to the food that just made me hungry (thanks for that one) Love your site! Congrats on your success.

    Reply
  10. Julie

    Miami looks so bright and colorful, and I can’t stop drooling over your photos of the food. I’m hoping to make it down there this winter and this post is definitely helping to motivate that!

    Reply
  11. Mark

    Wow, your photographs are spectacular and some looks yummy. Sounds like a wonderful place to celebrate a birthday. such a lot enjoyable moments and a memorable day for your lifetime.

    Reply
  12. Pingback: Miami, Florida: Day 3 | My Beautiful Adventures

  13. Cata

    That watermelon w the drink is dangerous hahaha. J/k looks amazing!!! I miss miami! The service is always added bc tourist never tip. However I think it should b 15% for a forced tip not 20%. if the service is good then you would add more.

    Reply
  14. Colleen Brynn

    I love Spanglish. That and portuniol are my very favourite mixed languages.
    The food looks AMAZING!!! I would love one of those empanadas.
    Sorry the service was crap – I also hate this surprise of automatic gratuities… especially when it is not deserved!
    x

    Reply

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