Top – Diesel Industry; Shorts – Chloe; Shoes – Mollini; Sunglasses – Moschino; Bag – Louis Vuitton (all vintage)
This wasn’t my first time in Miami – I think it was my fourth. Considering that I’ve always wanted to visit, it’s strange to have now been there so many times in such a short space of time.Since moving to the Caribbean, Miami has been the go-to place for connections to pretty much everywhere, including islands that are quite nearby, so it’s a good thing I like it so much!
Even though the “Miami Vice” hey-day of the Eighties was before my time, the TV shows, movies etc from that era still make the city feel strangely familiar even to a first-time visitor, though the olives in Martini glasses and terrible hair have – for the most part – disappeared. A lot of the things that I thought were perhaps just preconceptions of mine are still there: incredible and omnipresent sports cars, neon signs and roller-bladers on the boardwalk (can we also bring back pale suits please?). Walking along Ocean Drive feels like being in a movie – a bad one – that looks very cool.
I’d imagined, too, that the pastel-coloured, art-deco architecture was only sprinkled throughout the city, but in South Beach it’s everywhere and it’s beautiful. In fact all of the architecture in Miami is impressive, including the imposing skyscrapers in Downtown, which were actually the highlight of this most recent trip. I would really recommend taking a trip on the Downtown Metromover (free), even if it is to no particular intended destination. The trip will take you amongst the industrial high-rises silhouetted against a perennially blue sky, and feels like being in a video-game. It’s a good thing that the buildings are so cool-looking too, as it would be a shame if they were to ruin what I think are some of the best beaches I’ve seen – white-sand, turquoise sea beaches with iconic lifeguard huts that are so massive they never seem too over-crowded.
I don’t know if it’s because where I live right now is quite rural, but there’s something about Miami, or at least South Beach and Downtown, that feels incredibly neat, as if everything was designed with the intention of being aesthetically pleasing . Even the massive shipping container loaders you see on the taxi trip from South Beach to Downtown look purposefully placed to look awesome and impressive. I thinks it’s something to do with the harsh sunlight that gives Miami it’s sharp, clean shadows, and always makes me imagine it through the Venetian blinds of some “Miami Vice” police office.
Perhaps the best thing about Miami though is the atmosphere. The trip before-last was for a bachelorette party, and it was so much fun. We were there for three days and didn’t see much of it in the daylight! Ocean Drive seems to be in continual party mode, whether it’s a Monday afternoon or a Saturday evening, and makes for the best people-watching I’ve ever seen. Everyone seems to be cool, confident and having a great time. We had drinks at Ocean Drive and then headed to the clubs on Collins Avenue.
Sleeping: I’ve stayed at Element Miami International Airport Hotel, which is an eco-hotel that’s convenient, affordable and has massive rooms (it’s technically an extended stay hotel). I’ve also stayed at the Mandarin Oriental in Downtown, which is luxurious and beautiful. The Shore Club hotel on Collins Avenue is trendy, has a huge pool and direct access to the beach, including beach amenities. This last trip we wanted something more affordable and central so we stayed at the Shelley Hotel – which has an amazing location just off of Ocean Drive. I f you’re staying here (or even if you’re not!), try out Pinocchio on Ocean Court for coffee – they make an awesome cappuccino. When I travel I get a bit obsessive about complimentary hotel breakfasts – I couldn’t find much in the way of B&B’s in South Beach but of these hotels, Element offers a free breakfast.
Eating: Most places in South Beach tend to be quite expensive, though there are a couple of sushi places off Lincoln Rd, the main shopping street, that are quite cheap and good. We also came across Fratelli La Bufala, it’s a chain but it makes a really authentic Neapolitan pizza that I only wish we could get where I am. Brunch at the Viceroy in Downtown – the restaurant is called 15th and Vine – is really good. p.s. get the shrimp tacos! It’s silly, but when me and my boyfriend travel to a US city, we always try to visit at least one of the places featured on Man Vs. Food. In Miami we did Sarussi Cafeteria, which is famous for its subs. It was a long taxi journey from South beach to get there, but it was so worth it.