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.
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!