Ohio in the winter months…we love them but we also love to get away from them (LOL) and that is exactly what we did in late December 2021 when AUT took on Miami, Florida. It had been awhile since we traveled together and we figured…WHY NOT? We weren’t sure what to expect from South Beach at the time between Christmas and New Year’s but this was a destination that will become an annual Ask Us Travels and Lifestyle getaway. We were blown away by the hospitality, things to do, and the culture that was incredibly unique to the area.
Where to stay:
We stayed at the Cadillac Hotel and Beach Club and we will write an entire blog post/review that we can’t wait to share…it really was wonderful! We chose to stay there because of the high reviews and proximity to the activities we wanted to do while we were there. I don’t think any of us could have possibly anticipated just how relaxing the Beach Club experience would be and we dined al fresco at the hotel (either on the beach or their outside restaurant) every day. It was exactly what we needed to unwind and gear up for 2022 (more on that later)!
We really wanted this trip to be relaxing so we did not want to bombard ourselves with schedules and itineraries.
We wanted our 3 days to be balanced with lots of lounge time, great food and a few choice activities. We decided on:
1.) Little Havana Walking Food Tour
What an experience this was! And one we would HIGHLY recommend to our AUT friends. We were able to learn about the rich history of miami all while dining on some delicious Cuban food. The empanadas were delightful and that authentic Cubano (Cuban sandwich layered with two kinds of pork, swiss cheese, pickles and mustard) was one of the memories we will take with us forever. Our tour guide was fun, knowledgeable, and had so much passion for Cuban culture and she radiated that energy to us. The walking tour was done in a small group setting, taking about 2.5 hours to complete. We had dinner reservations that evening which we ended up cancelling because the portions were so large, we weren’t hungry after! The cost was $69 per adult and $59 per child (prices subject to change). Here is the link if you are interested! We did pre-book this excursion to be sure we had our spot saved and this was definitely something we would do again. https://www.miamiculinarytours.com/tour/little-havana-food-tour/
2.) Superblue Miami Immersive Art Experience
This was another activity we would give a 10/10 experience because this was just plain FUN. We honestly felt like we were reliving our college days together playing with the exhibits and having a blast while doing it. This experience included a mirrored labyrinth by Es Devlin that we laughed our way through, and an exhibit by James Turrell that is extremely difficult to put into words…but you know that scene from Willy Wonka when the room kept getting smaller? It felt like that on many different levels…it was true experiential art. I would say the most fun we had was paying the extra $12 to play in the “massless clouds.” I knew we were in for something WILD when we had to put on ponchos, footies, goggles, etc. but I could have never prepared myself the shear amount of foam and fun we would have in that space. It is a must do for sure! 10/10 would recommend! For more information: https://www.superblue.com/miami/
Our first night in Miami we wanted to go somewhere within walking distance from our hotel (again…the weather was so perfect and it felt so good to be outside) so we settled on The Ocean Grill (part of the Setai Hotel). The ambiance of the place was exactly what we needed. Imagine a covered elevated dining deck with Edison bulbs, flavors of southern Europe (pasta and seafood was what we ordered) with an ocean view…can you get any better than that?! We split an outstanding bottle of red wine (a recommendation from our waiter) which paired perfectly with our meal.
For our last night (again we cancelled our dinner reservation that second night) we went to Carbone. This definitely required a reservation and it was easy to see why this restaurant was one that came highly recommended. The atmosphere felt very Goodfellas/Godfather-esque and was exactly what we wanted!
The food here is meant to be shared with family and friends and the portions are substantial! Between us we split oysters, salad, veal parmesan, and spicy rigatoni vodka. All were fantastic! The thing that sets Carbone apart from other dining experiences is the attention to detail and the wait staff. We were blown away by the quality of service we received and honestly, the restaurant just feels special.
The things we loved and I mean LOVED about South Beach were the weather and the beach (no surprises here)! But really…the weather was perfect and it was a perfect destination for the time of year. We got up each morning and went for long walks on the massive Miami Beach Boardwalk. It “officially” runs from 5th Street in South Beach to 46th Street at Indian Beach Park. It felt incredible to wake up each day, look out and see the ocean and then walk beside it with perfect weather.
Personally, my favorite part of this was seeing all the feral cat communities (dating back to the early 1900’s) as they walked on the boardwalk late at night and early morning. I am an animal lover and was emotional about how many people feed the cats and take care of them. If you are not a cat person…no worries! The cats are domesticated and stay hidden but if you look closely, you will see them!
Getting around South Beach was a cinch! We walked to a lot of places but getting an Uber or Lyft was not a problem at all…even for my 5am MIA flight home to CLE!
This is definitely a destination we plan to return to year after year and we can’t wait to share more about our experience with the Cadillac Hotel and Beach Club!