Cost: £££ – you’ve got to have cash to splash (especially if you’re a guy)
Rating: 7/10 – beautiful beaches, beautiful people & a fun party place
*DISCLAIMER* Miami is too far from London to be a mini break and going there may well break the bank! I’m incredibly fortunate as I travel to Miami each year with work to run one of our events out there. I would not be able to afford the majority of the below if I was travelling on my own.
Flights vary depending on the time of year you go. When we travel in April, they tend to be £600-£700 per person with BA / Virgin.
The hotel we stay in is in Brickell which is Miami’s financial centre. Whilst the hotel is stunning and there is great nightlife nearby, if you’re on holiday you’d probably want to stay closer to South Beach (which is about a 20 min drive away!)
The Four Seasons on Brickell is amazing. If you have a lot of cash and want a holiday relaxing by gorgeous pool then look no further. Rates online are a bit outrageous – USD 599 / £460 per night! I think because we host an event at the hotel we pay a fair amount less.
It is very luxurious and the staff really take care of you. It’s a tall building so you can get a great view if your room is high up enough.
That being said, it is very expensive – try AirBnb / booking.com for cheaper options nearer to the beach.
If you’re travelling from the UK you will need an ESTA to enter the US. Approval doesn’t take long but I’d suggest you apply well in advance of your trip just incase. It costs $14 (£12) and lasts for 2 years.
Currency is the dollar. As I write this $1 = £0.77 / £10 = $13.03. Check conversion rates before you go as they may well change.
Where to go / what to do…
Miami is best known for its beaches and not surprisingly. Beautiful people in skimpy swimwear flock to the beach to top up their tans. The beach is wide and deep which means it never feels too crowded!!
These pics were taken on 4 different trips (LOL) – be sure to get your beach photoshoot out of the way before you get too comfortable and sandy sunbathing!
It is super clean, the sand is fine and white and the sea is beautifully blue. If sunbathing is your thing and you don’t mind getting sandy, South Beach is perfect.
Another very famous Miami spot running parallel to the beach. The strip is loud, colourful, vibrant and full of life. There are tons of restaurants with outdoor seating which are great for sitting in and watching the world go by.
The News Cafe (below) is a well-known cafe / bar on Ocean Drive. It sells newspapers from around the world and is open 24 hours a day – always busy with a buzzy atmosphere. The cocktails are great (and you get to keep the cocktail cup they come in!!) It has a large menu and is reasonably priced in comparison to other restaurants on Ocean Drive. I love the chocolate fondue 😀 Well worth a visit.
Gianni Versace Mansion – It was only when I watched the TV series ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace’ that I realised what this was (I went 3 years walking past the now restaurant and hotel having no idea!!) It was owned by Versace until 1992 when he was shot and killed on the steps of it. It’s also called ‘Casa Casuarina’ if you’re struggling to find it on google maps.
The restaurant menu looked delicious but you have to have a bit of cash to eat there.
Ocean Drive is packed with incredibly fun dynamic bars, often with live music and dancing. The food is all much of a muchness but is typically decent. You go to Ocean Drive restaurants more for the atmosphere than the food. If you’re a foody then I’m certain there are an abundance of fantastic restaurants you’ll find with a bit of research.
You can’t go for drinks on Ocean Drive without getting a gigantic fish bowl! You’ll see everyone drinking them and you have to join in. Fruity, boozy fun.
SLS Pool Party!
If you want to go to a daytime pool party I’m sure there’s plenty to choose from. We opted for SLS which is a luxurious hotel, bar & nightclub not too far from Ocean Drive. Typically girls get in for free but if you’re a guy you’re likely going to have to pay a lot. They usually make guys commit to tables (or sun beds) with high minimum spends in order to even get in. It was pretty fun but as you can imagine, no one actually went in the pool – too cool for school!
SLS club is also good fun, although on the most recent trip we had a bad experience – the guys struggled to get in without agreeing to a large spend (even though the club was pretty empty) and the bouncers were on a power trip.
The Delano is another luxury hotel / club near to South Beach, similar to SLS although I’d argue the club is better. If you’re a guy, make sure you grab some girls to go in with.
2 other fun going out out places in South Beach are:
Mynt which is opposite to SLS
Liv a massive club in the Fontainebleau hotel
For all of the ‘out out’ venues, make sure you’re dressed smartly and not in trainers – if the bouncers can be dicks and find a reason not to let you in / charge you top dollar, they will!
If you’re staying on Brickell (where we were) then Sugar on the top floor of the EAST hotel is AMAZING. They have a really cool prohibition bar too if you prefer being indoors!
Miami Beach Pride
One year we were on Ocean Drive for Miami Beach Pride!
We were actually sitting in the News Cafe watching everyone celebrating in fantastic outfits.
If you want to shop, head to Lincoln Road which is just north of Collins Avenue, very near Ocean Drive.
Wynwood is like the Shoreditch of Miami – very trending and ‘happening’. It’s known for it’s many murals (most of which are displayed in Wynwood Walls) which are the work of some of the world’s best known street artists.
We went early on a Sunday and it was pretty quiet (and in all honesty we felt a little unsafe) until 10.30am when the Wynwood Walls opened and tourists flocked in.
We had a yummy breakfast at Wynwood Diner – fried chicken and bacon waffles with maple syrup and an Oreo shake – YUM!!!
If you do stay in Brickell then I definitely suggest you talk a walk (or a run) around Brickell Key. It is beautiful (especially at sunset) and dolphins are regularly seen in the water!! I’ve seen them on 2 different trips!
Fort Lauderdale is 30 mins (without traffic) in an Uber. If you’re staying in Miami for a week or so, you might want to head there for a change of scenery. We didn’t manage to explore too much, but we did have an scrumptious dinner at Grille66 on the harbour!
If you’re sold by the Four Seasons in Brickell then you’ll probably spend a lot of time there lounging by the pool.
When we have any downtime you can be sure to find us sitting in the hot tub with an iced cocktail in hand (delicious).
The food at the Four Seasons is quite pricey but it is very good.
I particularly enjoy the breakfast menu at The Edge restaurant.
I love Miami but I wonder if I’d love it as much if I wasn’t staying in the luxury of the Four Seasons. South Beach is a fantastic beach and Ocean Drive is a lot of fun, but some of the luxury clubs can be expensive and pretentious.
If you’ve got some £$£$ to blow, you’ll have an amazing time :):)