Travel Diaries: Solo in South Beach
I don’t travel for work often but when I do, the destinations aren’t exactly glamorous. Examples of past trips include touring “dying” shopping malls in Dallas and visiting vacant office buildings in downtown St. Louis. But once a year, the industry I work in has its annual conference in South Beach, and I get to escape the NYC winter for the sunny state of Florida. This post is focused on my recent trip (and stay at The Miami Beach EDITION) but having been to Miami about a dozen times for both work and play, I also included some of my South Beach favorites at the end (hotels, restaurants, activities, etc.).
When I arrived at The Miami Beach EDITION for my stay, my first impressions were great. The vibe was Art Deco meets modern luxury. The lobby had white marble floors, clusters of candle-lit lanterns and an over-abundance of leafy palm plants. I was offered a tropical cocktail during check-in (um yes, please), the staff was friendly and my room was ready early. Check, check, check. But I was a little disappointed when I got to my room. It was on a low floor, had two double beds instead of just one and the room faced the street and looked onto a parking garage… not ideal. I had booked the cheapest room though, so go figure. On the bright side, my room was pretty spacious as far as South Beach goes. And I loved room décor: white, light and airy… very beachy-chic.
After settling into my room, I wandered back down to the lobby to try the casual indoor restaurant: Market at the EDITION. The service here was a little slow although it was kind of an odd hour (late afternoon). I ordered the cheese & charcuterie plate, which was amazing but way too much food for one person (I brought some back to the room!). I heard from a friend that Market also has an incredible brunch spread.
The rest of my night included a few work receptions and dinner at Juvia, one of my favorite restaurants in South Beach. I headed back to the hotel early and was surprised to find that I could log into my Netflix account in my room. Are other hotels doing this? It’s such a simple but great idea.
I woke up bright and early the next morning to check out the hotel amenities. The grounds included two separate pool areas, a 24-hour gym, a spa and beach access and chairs. I didn’t get a chance to visit the spa but the gym was a decent size (plenty of machines) and I liked the layout of the pool areas. It was a little chilly so I had the pool area pretty much to myself. The staff was helpful in setting up a chair for me and someone came around with fresh fruit and juices (yay for free food and drinks!). The hotel also had a casual outdoor bar & restaurant (Tropicale) which you could visit barefoot or have delivered right to your pool chair.
In addition to Market and Tropicale, the EDITION also features an upscale Jean-Georges restaurant: Matador Room. Since I wasn’t having dinner there during my stay, I decided to eat lunch there. I sat in the outdoor portion and ordered the fish tacos (the fried version) and a spicy margarita – both were delicious. The service was spot on.
Side note: The EDITION also has 24-7 room-service which I obviously tried (twice). The breakfast was good but then again you can’t really mess up bacon and eggs. The burger and fries were just okay… a little disappointing compared to Market and Matador Room.
I spent the afternoon with a few women from my industry at Exhale Spa, which is located at the Loews Hotel. I got a deep tissue massage which was nice although I don’t love the scented oils Exhale uses in their spas. Dinner that night was at Casa Tua, which is hands-down my favorite restaurant in South Beach. If you go here for dinner, you need to request a table outside in their candlelit courtyard and order ALL the pastas. But seriously, the pastas are to die for.
The least enjoyable part of my stay at the EDITION was definitely check-out day and not because I was leaving. I requested a late check-out and the hotel agreed to noon instead of 11am. But then the staff began knocking on my door at 8am (don’t they just clean the room when I leave?). I went to the gym and came back to pack and have room-service breakfast. Between 10am and noon there were four separate employees who knocked on my door that “didn’t know” I had late checkout. The staff seemed disorganized and the whole thing was frustrating.
But miscommunications aside, I really liked the EDITION hotel and amenities and would consider staying again. Compared to other hotels in South Beach, I definitely still prefer the W Hotel, which seems to have the largest “standard” rooms in South Beach (all with private balconies). I also love their pool area and their service is always top-notch in my experience. I liked the EDITION a little better than the Delano and the SLS Hotel. The SLS is centrally located, has a great pool area (Hyde Beach) and restaurants but very small rooms. Other places I have stayed: the Loews Hotel (which is nice, definitely more family-friendly), the Raleigh Hotel (dated but quiet) and the Shore Club, which I would not recommend. There is a reason why the price is always “right” at the Shore Club. I have also stayed at the Freehand Miami, which is a trendy “hostel” with both shared and private rooms. It has its own pool and a great on-site restaurant and cocktail bar. My wishlist for future stays: definitely the 1 Hotel, the Setai and the Feana. Does anyone have any other hotel recommendations in South Beach?
And lastly, here is a quick round-up of some of my South Beach favorites:
Favorite activities: Pool & beach lounging, spa visits & shopping along Lincoln Road
Go-to workout class: Barre or Power Yoga at Exhale Miami Beach
Favorite restaurants: Casa Tua and Juvia for a nice dinner, 27 (at the Freehand) and Joe’s Stone Crab for a more casual dinner
Favorite cocktail bar: The Broken Shaker
Favorite pool party: Hyde Beach at the SLS Hotel (a must for Bachelor/Bachelorette parties)
Favorite spa: Lapis at the Fountainbleu (huge with so many great pools and showers and a quiet/nap room)
Favorite fancy brunch: Le Sirenuse; Located at The Surf Club, a Four Seasons hotel in Surfside, FL, this restaurant is modeled after Le Sirenuse in Positano, Italy (an iconic hotel & champagne bar). It is a 15-minute drive from South Beach but it is worth the trip!