About two or three weeks after our short stay in Berlin, we began another weekend trip. To Miami. Yep, a 9 1/2 hour flight away, we were excited to party in the city where the heat is on! Except not really, because the weather couldn't make its damn mind up that weekend, but oh well. We saw a lot, ate plenty and got to know the city a little bit. Read on to see how we did Miami in two days.
BA First was wonderful. I know opinions are often split down the middle when it comes to British Airways in general - many Brits are loyal to BA, some almost bullheaded in this loyalty, and think they can do no wrong. Others are unimpressed, even disdainful of their sometimes spotty service and quality. I myself have experienced some odd service on past flights...such as the time I asked for an espresso macchiato and was brought out a hot chocolate, only then to be told by the attendant that he actually had no idea what a macchiato was. When I happily explained exactly how one was made, what did he bring out next? A latte. I had to laugh! I've also had broken TV screens that have to be held up by tray tables, earphones that don't work, etc.
This flight had no such minor mishaps and was smooth sailing all the way. Lunch was excellent and so beautifully presented, and the chocolates that are handed out afterwards were readily devoured by Jarv and I after the box had made the rounds. Entertainment was good and the seat was extremely spacious and comfortable. No faults whatsoever.
Upon landing, we hopped in a cab straight to our hotel, the JW Marriott Marquis Miami. I don't usually view Marriotts as luxury hotels, per se, but here's the thing to know about Miami - it is not the place to go for luxury hotels at reasonable prices. They're often immensely overpriced compared to other cities, even more so than New York, and the level of luxury and service is incomparable to places such as Bali, Thailand, Japan, etc.
Having said that, our stay was pleasant, the room was great and the restaurant downstairs, DB Bistro, served us an amazing dinner that night; foie, short rib and truffle burger (their signature dish) and a truffle-loaded lobster ravioli dish with chestnuts that hit all the right spots.
With full, satisfied bellies, off we went to bed, ready to explore the next morning.
Breakfast in the executive lounge is decent, although there aren't many healthy, varied options. But never mind that. Let's get to the meat of our trip.
Coconut Grove. A lovely neighbourhood with lots of independent boutiques and gorgeous brunch spots. The perfect place to while away two hours or so in the afternoon just wandering around.
Villa Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Magnificent Italian Renaissance decor and beautifully manicured gardens, this used to be the winter residence of businessman James Deering and is now open to the public.
Wynwood Walls. Home to one of the world's largest open-air street art installations, there are many cafes, tattoo studios, boutiques and galleries in the area, surrounded by some truly impressive art.
DB Bistro. A casual but stylish setting, great food and friendly service. See above.
Panther Coffee. Excellent cold brew, possibly the best I've ever had. Weirdest thing - whilst queuing for a coffee in the Coconut Grove branch, a man asked us if we'd been in the BA lounge in London 2 days earlier. He'd seen us there and now we were in the same coffee shop in the same neighbourhood in Miami! What a small world.
Jugofresh. Lots of organic, healthy fresh juices, coffees and blends. I had a great iced maca-chino with almond milk, coffee ground, reishi powder (whatever the hell that is), maca, cacao and coconut palm sugar.
Puerto Sagua. Lighter than air Cuban sandwiches and tamales can be found in this unpretentious, no-frills Cuban joint.
TIP: If you're looking for some culture, I would avoid the main strip of South Beach like the plague. Unless drinking head-sized sugar drinks at midday and watching groups of people driving up and down the strip blasting obnoxiously loud music, hanging out the car and generally being super cool is your thing, in which case, why the hell not, you're on holiday!
Have you visited Miami? What would you recommend?