We arrived in Miami after a comfortable plane ride and headed to the EPIC hotel, a luxurious Kimpton property in downtown Miami, overlooking Biscayne Bay. We had a relaxing lunch in one of the restaurants, Area 31, at the hotel and lounged the afternoon away.
That evening we walked along Biscayne Blvd to the Bayside Market Place and took a sunset boat tour with Island Queen Tours. The tour covered the Downtown Miami Skyline, Port of Miami, Fisher Island, and millionaires’ homes in Star Island. It was a quick way to look at the sights of Miami but this tour was overpriced just like every thing else in Miami. Dinner that night was at a Chili’s. Always dependable.
It was raining heavily the next morning, so we decided to enjoy the bay views from our 25th floor room for most of the morning.
Brunch was at Balans in the nice neighborhood of Brickell with shops and restaurants. After that we headed to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The weather began to clear up and we had an enjoyable afternoon getting a taste of the lives of the rich and famous, specifically James Deering in the early 20th century.
This mansion had a heavy European influence and was set against a tropical back drop.
After an architecturally pleasing experience we decided to hit the beaches of South Miami. No matter how many times one goes to the beach, its a unique experience every time and you can never get tired of it. The waters were calm and balmy and the beach was quite clean. After sunset, Ocean Drive turned into one big party place. South beach is definitely one of the most vibrant party places.
After getting a glimpse of this crazy party atmosphere, paying $16 for a cocktail, we decided to head back to our hotel and have dinner at Zuma, a Japanese lounge located at the EPIC. This was probably the most disappointing and frustrating experience we had in Miami. After putting our names down and getting an estimated wait time of 1 hour, we couldn’t get in because we chose not to bribe the front desk. I was shocked by the high handed attitude of the staff. After this bitter, humiliating, experience we had a quick but again over-priced dinner at the other restaurant at the hotel.
The next day was Everglades day and we set out around noon after a quick brunch in downtown Miami. We had 3 options, a self guided walking tour, a bike tour or a tram tour. We started off with the walking tour and saw plenty of alligators and birds. In his earnestness to get a good shot of a gator, Kart almost became its next meal :-).
We finished our walking tour in time for the last tram tour and decided to do that. Besides being a comfortable way to see the 15 mile path, it was also very educative. The heat, humidity and excitement left us exhausted so we headed back to town after our tram tour. We had dinner at a Caribbean restaurant, Ortanique on the Mile, in the Coral Gables neighborhood. The food was really good and the neighborhood is also pretty upscale, a good way to end an eventful day 3.
We had grand plans of catching the sunrise the next morning from South beach, but ended up catching it from our room. However we headed down to the beach right after for an early breakfast at Front Porch Cafe. The food was really good. After that we spent our last couple of hours in Miami at the beach and then headed back to our hotel and lounged by the pool on the 16th floor. This ended our R&R getaway to Miami.
Miami is a great getaway despite the fact that everything is overpriced and the attitude of a lot of restaurants, especially Zuma, is not tourist friendly. The weather is great, the beaches are awesome and the waters are blue, and that makes it all worthwhile.
Blog Author: Shwetha Shrivatsa