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April 26, 2016
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about South Beach is the song "Miami" by Will Smith.
The next thing I think of is the time when Jersey Shore moved into a hotel in Miami. Soooo not classy.
However, South Beach (affectionately known as SoBe) is WAY more than just this.
This past weekend, I had the honour of winning a trip to South Beach (yes, you read THAT right) to the Being Boss Miami Vacation courtesy of one of their sponsors, Acuity Scheduling.
I flew in from Toronto (YYZ) to Miami (MIA) on Thursday morning, and returned back via Air Canada to Toronto on Sunday late afternoon.
So, in total 4 days, 3 nights. 1 Carry On. Loads of fun.
As mentioned, I traveled via Air Canada with whom I used to have frequent flyer status with for YEARS. Now, that I'm not on a weekly flight with them, there is even more incentive to travel light (not to mention the fact that I am CEO of a travel clothing line!),
I brought my trusty TUMI International Carry-On plus a large peacock green tote bag (attached my Panama Hat and BKR water bottle to those).
Airport outfit: On the way to Miami, as Toronto is still unseasonably cold, I wore an easy transitional outfit of cropped leggings from Lululemon, sports bra, my Nike Frees, a sleeveless Linen blend tank, athletic jacket + our Chrysalis Cardi in Charcoal as a scarf.
Once I landed in Miami, I quickly slipped on some flip flops, shades + stowed my jacket and scarf.
I typically follow our carry-on only packing list when I travel (you can get a copy for free that you can download and print by registering for our email newsletter).
Even though I'm carrying on, I try to make sure everything I need immediately before, during and after the flight is in my tote bag. I dislike going into the overhead bins while inflight!
My Tote Bag for Miami contained:
No snacks allowed as crossing the Canadian border into the US so I reluctantly purchased a LARA bar and croissant breaky inside the airport.
My Carry-On Roller Bag contained:
What I could've done without: The extra t-shirt wasn't worn. The second maxi dress was barely worn. I used my Chrysalis Cardi as a bathing suit cover-up regularly so that got a bit more wear than expected. I also never used my tiny umbrella. Overestimated the forecasted rain!
What I forgot: Hair spray! It's super humid in Miami. Luckily I was traveling with someone who came prepared :)
I was traveling with my friend, and fellow Entrepreneur Jamie from ShopBeautifully + Toronto Yoga Mamas. We shared an UBER to the South Beach area (yes, they pick up from the Miami airport). The ride was about $16USD and took about 20 minutes.
In previous visits I've taken the airport bus which is direct + costs about $4USD and includes free wifi. Not bad.
We stayed at the Palms Hotel + Spa in what is known as mid-beach. It's a gorgeous beachfront property with pool, gym, Aveda spa all housed in a restored Art Deco building. The service from check-in to check-out was impeccable. They even have solid green initiatives in place in the building including water stations on each floor, and options to opt-out of towel and sheet changes. Our room was small but efficient, and overlooked the city. Modern, new, and clean. So important. SoBe Hotels have the rep for not being any of the above! The toilet and sink/shower were separate (but the toilet had a built in sink in the back of it - which I've never seen before!). Sneaky closet space everywhere! A coffee station (single serve, we forgot to use it). THE most comfortable beds and Aveda toiletries. Shower was a rain shower. Score!
Room was cleaned daily. We never had to ask.
Every request was dealt with in a timely manner (I.e. late checkout, more shampoo (we both have long hair!) and a few extra towels. Turn down service happened every evening and included a couple of chocolates on your pillow.
The back of the property had a lovely restaurant on the veranda which we ate an amazing lunch at during the conference.
The buffet was setup beautifully an included a healthy array of free-range chicken, wild salmon, watermelon gazpacho and more.
The back of the property included a pool, tons of chairs, a faux beach with Cabanas. The daily hotel fee includes beach towels (awesome for traveling lighter) and chairs, as well as access to the Miami Beach chairs, umbrellas and service for drinks + food so you can be ocean front if you want.
Convenient access to the beautiful beach (just across the boardwalk!) from the back of the Palms hotel. There's also a bar by the pool, and parrots that talk. I'm serious.
The location as I mentioned is mid-beach which I don't mind. True South Beach is like Vegas. Loud, full of drunk people and chaos at night.
I prefer being close enough to the action but somewhere that sleeping is possible!
I was the Being Boss conference for a couple of days of the conference but did have ample free time.
Instead of summarizing my daily itineraries, I'm going to highlight my fav lunch, dinner and touristy to-dos for South Beach.
Lunch - Hotel Croyden, the Tavern
The Tavern at Hotel Croydon in mid-beach is an excellent lunch spot. Located right on Collins, it's hidden behind a wall of greenery and has beautiful art deco touches (and is totally Instagram friendly!).
I had the fish tacos and broccoli rab with a local draft beer called Wynwood. The tacos alone would've been enough, and I would describe the portions there as ample and price reasonable comparatively to other SoBe restaurants.
What to Wear To Lunch in South Beach: White jean shorts, grey sleeveless top, Tkees flip fops and lightweight Kimono overtop.
Dinner - Market at Edition
Market at Edition is the famous chef Jean-Georges reinvention of the classic Miami coffee shop except for dinner! The Hotel lobby is gorgeous (see plants above). The restaurant itself has a raw bar. My boyfriend introduced me to Oysters this year, and guess what - I'm in love. We had four different kinds of Oysters, and a delicious Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. The restaurant is a little pricier but seems on par with SoBe for dinner. We ate at a few other places and this was by far my favourite.
What to Wear to Dinner in South Beach: Our Adiona Maxi Dress with the drape pulled up on one side. Rebecca Minkoff wedges. Anthropologie gold earrings. Gold Banana Republic clutch.
Nightlife - YACHTING
I'm not a big clubber so if you're looking for reccos on that you might be a little disappointed.
We did check out the W Hotel (great burgers) but I forgot that in Miami they allow smoking in bars (something that has been outlawed in Toronto for decades). Another one to see is the 1 Hotel Rooftop bar. It's a gorgeous oasis above the fray. A little expensive and pretentious (in my opinion).
Part of the Being Boss Miami Vacation was a night on a Yacht. Open Bar. Cruising around the bay. What an experience!
It was my first time on a Yacht (and we almost missed the boat by trying to cram in a dinner before!).
As we boarded, my friend's phone dinged with a weather warning for an impending storm. I had a feeling we wouldn't get out of the bay (and we didn't) but the cruise around the Miami area was fantastic.
The houses on the water were gorgeous. I even saw Shakira's house!
What to Wear on a Yacht: Wedges. Heels are no good on a boat, even if it isn't stormy! I re-wore my Rebecca Minkoff wedges which are neutral enough to go with different outfits. My base outfit was a sleek dressy T-Shirt dress from Aritizia, and our Chrysalis Cardi as a wrap which worked perfectly as a coverup for the chill on the deck.
The One Thing to See in Miami
After all the lounging, yachting and eating (life is hard!), there wasn't much time left. I really wanted to go to Wynwood as a friend recommended I check it out last time I was in South Beach and never had the chance. Wynwood is an artsy area of Miami - it's just across the bay from South Beach and about a $10 UBER ride.
First stop, lunch at Della Bowls at the Wynwood Yards. This vegan food truck had 5* reviews on Yelp, so I knew I was in for a treat. Della Bowls is located on a fenced in property with picnic tables (in the shade), free Wifi, free water, an organic local garden, bar and other food trucks, as well as yoga area.
I had the Green Bowl, but subbed Quinoa for Brown rice. So good!
A short walk from Wynwood yards is the heart of Wynwood where there are more than 70 art galleries, restaurants, pubs and shops. Their walls are covered with beautiful street art (read: graffiti). We checked out the area, popped into a few shops and had one of the best popsicles I've ever had (all natural coconut!). We couldn't check out the Wynwood "Walls" because it was closed for a celebrity wedding (yes, the Kardasians were there!).
One of my favourite shops was Plant the Future. It's terrarium and air plant heaven. My favs were the storm trooper and alligator planters. An oasis in the city.
What to wear to Wynwood: Bright colours! I wore this beautiful 'moo moo' from Revolve Clothing, TKEES flip flops.
Miami was a great adventure.
Thanks to the lovely people of South Beach, the staff at the Palms Hotel + Spa, and the team at Being Boss for making this boss escape to South Beach a blast.
If you want to travel lighter on your next beach vacation, grab our free packing list.
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