I’m so excited to be on my next adventure to Miami to board the Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady. I’ve never been to Miami before (I know, shocking), so I was really looking forward to exploring this city.
Day 1/2 – Travel Day to Miami
My flight out of Vancouver with Air Canada was the red eye, therefore I landed the next morning into to Toronto during a bit of a snowstorm. Because of this, I always recommend my clients to book a longer connection, especially in the winter as you never know what the weather can bring. On landing we did slide a bit as the runway was pretty well snow covered. Once through USA customs pre-clearance, I headed to the Plaza Premium Lounge in the US departures area for breakfast. I was actually surprised by how busy the lounge was, but there aren’t many lounges open right now, I guess still due to the pandemic. About an hour later it was time to head to my gate to board my flight to Miami.
After some delays with de-icing the plane, I finally landed at Miami International Airport around 2:00pm. Most of us had to check our carry on baggage as the plane we flew on was quite small and no one’s bags would fit up in the overhead compartment. Once I collected my bag, I exited the airport and used Lyft to get to my hotel, The Berkeley Park Hotel by M Gallery, which is part of Accor. My Lyft ride took about 25 minutes from the Miami Airport to the hotel as the traffic was pretty good and we had no delays.
Once checked in, I headed to my room which was a “Classic Queen Room”. It was very well appointed with a very comfortable queen bed, a Keurig coffee maker, mini fridge, bathroom amenities and a lovely welcome note and a bottle of Champagne from the hotel’s general manager.
The Berkeley Park Hotel is located only a couple blocks from Miami Beach on 20th Street and they do provide you with beach chairs, towel and umbrellas if you do want to have a beach day. They also have an amazing rooftop pool area that I used a couple times during my stay. It was a great little oasis in the city.
I was so exhausted from my travel day to get to Miami, that I decided to have a relaxing evening and wake up early in the morning to explore.
The following morning I woke up quite early around 5:00am, as I had such an early night to try to catch up on some much needed sleep. I headed out just after sunrise for a walk just before 7:00am. I absolutely loved walking around Miami’s South Beach area. I walked down Collins Ave to the heart of South Beach. Ocean Drive was a short fifteen minute walk from my hotel. I love architecture, so seeing all the perfectly kept Art Deco buildings was a highlight for me. As I walked along Ocean Drive, I saw landmarks such as Gianni Versace’s former mansion which is now a restaurant.
I’m actually a bit sad I only had one full day here. I’d love to come back, check out some of the other areas of Miami and see Miami’s South Beach at night when all the neon lights are lit up.
I stopped in at “Bacon Bitch” for breakfast. It’s a pretty interesting place and it’s a vibe for sure. They greet you with “Hey Bitch!” as you walk in haha. I ordered one of their “Main Bitches” which was a “Queens” croissant sandwich. Unfortunately I forgot to film it, however the breakfast sandwiches they offer are really good, definitely check this place out.
I then started to walk back towards my hotel stopping in at a Starbucks to buy a “Florida” Starbucks Mug. I then walked along Miami Beach to see all the different and uniquely coloured lifeguard stations.
It’s a great walk and I highly suggest walking Miami Beach in the morning when it’s not too hot and there are less people on the beach.
It was a bit early for the bustle of Esplanade Way, so I continued back towards my hotel, stopping in at Rosetta Bakery on Collins Ave as I had already walked off my earlier breakfast. The food here was really good. I had a sandwich and a cake for dinner from here last night and returned for a Nutella filled croissant today.
1 Hotel South Beach
I had an appointment with the sales manager at 1 Hotel South Beach, to check it out for future client stays, for this blog and YouTube. I really admire what 1 Hotels stand for as a brand in the ways of sustainability.
They don’t have cut florals in the lobby or the hotel rooms, but living terrariums and living walls.
1 Hotel South Beach has many sustainability initiatives including: reclaimed wood from a pair that was damaged in a hurricane, compressed paper hangers in the room made from “love notes”, “homework” and “maps”, the room keys are made of wood, the bathroom amenities are by Bamford Wellness, and the “Do Not Disturb” signs on the doors are made from cardboard from deliveries to the 1 Hotel.
This art installation of a whale was made solely of garbage that was washed up on the ocean shores:
The hotel also offers a great fitness and wellness program onsite. Anatomy is their 12,000 square foot gym. There are seven restaurants, including Plnthouse which is plant based and Watr at 1 Rooftop which is obviously on the rooftop, has amazing views of Miami Beach and is a Peruvian-Japanese inspired menu. The rooftop pool is amazing and is reserved for adults only.
Also, the 1 Hotel South Beach offers a free Audi electric drop-off car service for guests to use within a three mile (about five kilometres) area. I was able to view a few categories of rooms here.
They also offer suites with full kitchens which you’ll find in their “Home Collection”.
I show you room tours of 1 Hotel South Beach’s Ocean Front One Bedroom Suite with Balcony, followed by a Junior Suite King with Balcony, a One Bedroom Home Ocean View with Balcony and a Two Bedroom Ocean View Penthouse with Balcony. Check out the YouTube video at the end of this travel guide to Miami or click here to watch.
After my site inspection, I headed back to my hotel and got changed into my swimsuit. I relaxed at my hotel’s rooftop pool for an hour or so, then headed out for another walk around South Beach. This time I headed towards Lincoln Ave, which is a pedestrianized shopping street.
It was then time to grab an early dinner, so I walked over to a highly recommended taco place called Bodega Taqueria y Tequila. The tacos here were probably the best I’ve ever had, no joke. I ordered the “Clasico” tacos, a “Al Pastor” taco and a “Carne Asada” taco. It’s a very unassuming place, and I really like the laid back vibe. The mostly inappropriate sign apparently changes every month or so. Your order you food from an Airstream trailer inside this low key eatery. There is a speakeasy or night club of sorts in the back, however it wasn’t open when I was there.
Right around the corner from Bodega is Yardbird, another restaurant I really wanted to check out but unfortunately didn’t have time this trip. Yardbird was started here in Miami Beach and is a James Beard Award-nominated restaurant concept. It is the brainchild of 50 Eggs Hospitality Group founder, John Kunkel. There have been Yardbird chefs who have made appearances on Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen and other Food Network shows. I’ll be making a reservation here more in advance next time I visit Miami.
I then headed back to my hotel, The Berkeley Park Hotel by MGallery, making a pit stop at Trader Joes for some wine for my cruise tomorrow. With Virgin Voyages, we can take two bottles of wine or Champagne onboard per cabin. to take in the sunset from the rooftop pool. The pool hours are quite decent, it’s open from 8:00am to 11:00pm at the time of my stay. With the “resort fee” you pay, you do have a beach chair, towel and umbrella “kit” that they can lend you to take out to Miami Beach for the day.
I did call it an earlier night again, I’m so excited to be boarding my cruise and you can read my cruise review of the Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady by clicking here.
I loved Miami’s South Beach area and had no where enough time to really dive into everything I wanted to check out this trip. I can’t wait to plan my next adventure here and will be planning to spend more time exploring the other areas of Miami and diving deeper into more of the South Beach are of Miami.
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Here’s my YouTube video featuring my 36 Hours Exploring Miami’s South Beach: