The final stop on our tour was Will Smith’s second home…MIAMI. We chose Miami as we wanted a fairly relaxed end to our trip where we could still see and do plenty of things but also have a few lazy days by the pool/at the beach. It is also a fairly short flight from New York.
TRANSPORT: Uber is pretty huge here (and cheap); we used it a lot.
ACCOMMODATION: We stayed at the Nautilus on South Beach. It was a really lovely hotel – clean, modern and comfortable. Plus the location was perfect! Shout out to the staff – they had birthday macaroons waiting for me in the room!
Something to bear in mind – the room rates were reasonable for this hotel however extras (drinks, room service etc.) were pricey.
The BEST birthday celebrations started with champagne on arrival (arranged by my boyfriend…he’s a good egg).
Ok so it rains quite a lot in Miami during early summer (I failed to realise this). However, the thunderstorms didn’t dampen our spirits – we decided to travel to Dolphin Mall (in an Uber) when there was a particularly torrential downpour. This place is a bargain hunter’s paradise! They have outlets for all the big brands and the prices are insanely cheap, even factoring in the horrific exchange rate! We saved hundreds of pounds. As I was the birthday girl that week (yes, my birthdays last a week) my boyfriend treated me to some gorgeous new items! He also picked up a fair bit for himself – all in all a very successful trip and a great way to spend a rainy Miami day. Note: Dolphin Mall was about a 40 min journey from South Beach and the traffic can get pretty bad – my top tip would be to go as early as possible.
I know I’ve mentioned the downpours but we did have some pretty fabulous weather scattered throughout the week! Thankfully the day we went on a tour of Little Havana was an absolute scorcher! I had booked the tour online through Art Deco. We got a taxi to the meeting point and awkwardly moseyed around waiting for the rest of the group and the guide. Well, our lovely guide turned up and informed us we were the only people booked on the tour! What a result! We learnt so much about the Cuban neighbourhood and Cuban culture during the trip and were able to ask endless questions! She took us to some amazing places (highlight was when she said my boyfriend looked like Little Havana’s most famous former resident, PITBULL! Ha). We picked up some cigars to bring home for a gift and had a wonderful time exploring the local haunts. I would highly recommend this tour – the same company also does a food tour of the area which I imagine would also be brilliant.
WELL! My birthday arrived and I knew there was something planned but I had no idea what (I had been guessing and speculating for weeks beforehand!) Joey completely pulled it out of the bag and arranged a HELICOPTER TOUR over Miami (booked through Miami Plane Tours)! I was so completely shocked and excited!! The trip was absolutely incredible, a once in a lifetime experience and the perfect thing to do somewhere as beautiful as Miami. We got a birds-eye view of some of Miami’s finest hot spots and the pilot was very knowledgeable and informative. The co-pilot even took pictures for us! I can’t recommend this trip enough. If you’re able to do it you will not regret it. We were fortunate to have a couple of hours respite from the rain to be able to it – it was meant to be!
In the evening on my birthday I was taken for a surprise meal to Zuma! I had dropped several hints about going here but I didn’t think we would (I just assume my boyfriend zones me out 99.9% of the time). The food, drinks and ambiance here were phenomenal. The staff were excellent – friendly and attentive. For a high end restaurant the food was reasonably priced as the quality was fantastic (see ribs in the pic above, if you go here – order these!) I also had my dream cocktail (a mix of aperol, watermelon and prosecco!) It was a perfect evening. They even presented me with a ‘happy birthday’ dessert platter which was a lovely touch. It’s also in a really swanky part of town, I wish we could have spent more time here. Being 27 isn’t so bad after all…
Again, for some pre holiday prep I looked up some potential Miami eateries. One that stood out was Ceviche 105 (South Beach branch). I’m a huge fan of Peruvian food and this place did not disappoint. We had some excellent dishes recommended by our waitress and sipped some lovely wine. Check this place out if you enjoy this type of cuisine – all the food was super fresh and tasty!
MANGO’S!! This restaurant/bar/club on Ocean Drive was recommended to us by the co-pilot on our helicopter tour. We really wanted to go somewhere fun with a salsa vibe so we headed here! It is full on cheese and, honestly, overpriced for what it is (you have to pay circa $200 for a table and this is essentially ‘credit’ for your meals and drinks – not very cost effective) but it was SO.MUCH.FUN. The dancers were amazing (see me with some salsa dancers in the photo above) and there was such a range of styles and music. We had a brilliant time here and even brought back cocktail glasses as a memento! If you’re after a fun filled, entertaining evening this should be on your Miami to-do list!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my trip to Miami (and mini USA tour in general – see other posts for NYC and Boston recommendations!) If you have any questions about anything I’ve mentioned in this post leave me a comment below. Thanks for visiting!