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Monday, 1 May 2017

Huge Miami Travel Guide: What To Do In Miami, Where's Best To Eat & Stay In Miami!


Hello hello hello! Today I’m hitting you with a ridiculously late post, something I should have written a month ago but due to lots of technical issues (no thanks to Apple) it’s taken me this long to get round to it. I’ve visited Miami a few times now and each time have fallen more and more in love. I describe Miami as a really vibrant, fun, relaxed city and actually, somewhere I’d definitely think about moving to. After the success of my Barcelona travel guide and New York travel guide, it felt wrong not to do a guide to visiting Miami so let’s do this, here are all the hot spots in Miami, including lots of Instagrammable locations in Miami if that’s your thing and the best places to eat, drink and more in Miami!


Getting to Miami:

Getting to Miami is fairly easy, it’s around a 10 hour flight. I flew from London to Miami with Air France, we stopped via Paris too which is always nice if you fancy picking up some Chanel or macaroons en route! Air France have a route from London Heathrow->Paris->Miami which departs daily, they also do fly from Manchester and many other UK airports, which is great as you can find something a little closer for you. Fares start from £537 return including tax. I’m always ridiculously impressed with Air France as I find the service on the plane is always really good. I actually flew with them to China and couldn't believe how good their long haul service was which is why I looked into them for Miami. I also do enjoy good plane food and the food on Air France flights is always above and beyond (you even get free champagne on all long-haul flights and often, a macaroon), they really cater towards you if you have allergies etc too. I do wish we went premium because it was actually a longer flight than I remember, next time I’ll definitely be looking into that. Don’t forget to read my long haul flight tips and travel essentials post. 



Transport around Miami:


Getting around Miami is very similar to getting around London, you can definitely walk around the main areas but I took Uber taxis (get a free £15 Uber taxi with promo code EMTALKS15 on the Uber app, input it now into the promo code section and then redeem it on your next ride) to most destinations. There’s obviously public transport too but Ubers tend to be very cheap in the USA. From the airport I jumped in a yellow cab outside as they’re verified and they’re fixed fares. I always feel unsafe doing this in new countries and like to pre-book my cars but actually, the yellow cabs in Miami are really good , particularly the ones at the airport as there’s a nice queueing system in place too. If you’re not scared to drive, it’s definitely worth looking at renting a car too, that way you really can get around everywhere. 




Where’s Best To Stay In Miami: 


Every time I’ve stayed in Miami I’ve stayed right on the beach. There’s South Beach which is pretty busy and then North Beach which is a little further up and more residential. The fun apparently happens on South Beach (closer to Ocean Drive) and it’s generally where all the best hotels are. Here are two I’ve stayed at recently and highly recommend:
eden roc miami
Nobu hotel eden roc miami
eden roc hotel miami
eden roc hotel miami beach
eden roc Miami Beach hotel

The Eden Roc Miami Beach: The Eden Roc hotel is owned by Nobu and is opulent, classic and just fabulous in every way. It’s definitely ‘the place to be seen’ as everyone seems to eat at Nobu. The decor is a little dated and the rooms are quite basic but they’re extremely comfortable, really big and you get beautiful views too. If there’s two people staying this place really is perfect due to the space and the amazing comfort. The service in this hotel is amazing too, from the pool staff to the concierge and the check in staff. They couldn’t do enough for us. I used the gym daily too and always look for places with good gyms, usually hotels scrimp on the gym but the Eden Roc Miami had such a good, roomy gym and spa area all looking out onto the pool. I’d definitely stay here again. The pool area was also absolutely stunning too, as you can see on the images above. The main thing you’re looking for in Miami really is that your hotel includes complimentary beach beds with your stay, most hotels do, but make sure, otherwise it’ll cost you around $50 per day for beds. At The Eden Roc, umbrellas aren’t included but beach beds are. We ate on the beach as the food at the Eden Roc was amazing. Acai bowls and fresh coconut water on the beach to start the day? Yes please. Eden Roc is a definite yes from me. It’s also in a really good location, just opposite the millionaires row and a short taxi ride or 45 minute walk onto Ocean Drive. It’s in the quieter more luxury area according to my friends from Miami. It is situated next to Fontaine Bleu Hotel which apparently has an amazing club inside. To summarise: If you’re wanting comfort, luxury, class, service and something a little more quiet, head to the Eden Roc Nobu Miami Beach Hotel. I'd highly recommend this hotel. 

the confidante hotel


hotel room confidante miami beach

confidante miami
the confidante miami beach hotel

the confidante miami beach
striped Miami Beach beds
Nina's confidante miami
confidante hotel Miami Beach bar

The Confidante Miami Beach: A little closer to Ocean Drive, but only around a 10 minute walk from The Eden Roc Miami Beach, The Confidante is absolutely stunning. It’s very ‘Miami’ as it’s very Art Deco, the building outside is beautiful and the decor is instagram goals. The bedrooms were quite small with not as good views as other hotels but the decor is so cool and kitsch it makes it worth while. If you’re after something a little more fun and quirky then The Confidante is great, just make sure you ask for a big room as ours was extremely small. They’re famous for their striped beach beds which are really cute. The pool area was absolutely gorgeous, with beautiful patterns and cushions everywhere. We ate breakfast here most mornings and it’s probably one of the best breakfasts I’ve had at a hotel, sweet potato pancakes? Yes please. It attracts quite a young crowd because of their fun pool and DJ’s that flock to this hotel. I loved the boutique and exclusive feel of this hotel, you just cannot beat the fun, arty pool and bar area, definitely one of the most stunning hotels I've seen. To summarise: Great for a young, fun crowd, particularly if you love and appreciate beautiful interior, art and delicious breakfast! Even if you're not a guest here, you should definitely stop by for breakfast! 

beach cabana Loews hotel

Loews miami

beach cabana miami Loews hotel
loews hotel miami

food at loews miami

jungle shower
Loew’s Miami: Whilst I didn’t stay at the Loew’s, it’s a good shout if you’re wanting to be closer to the hustle and bustle. It’s pretty much bang in the middle of Miami but the pool backs onto the beach. It’s an absolutely huge hotel with so many guests but the location is really fantastic. We couldn't get a room (stupidly we went over Spring break so prices were much higher and everything was sold out) but instead, we hired one of their beach cabanas for the day. This was such a good idea and I’d recommend this to anyone, particularly if you have a full day to kill before going to the airport. We packed our suitcases, jumped in an Uber to the Loewe’s Hotel and then we were greeted with our own amazing Cabana. The Cabana is like a tiny room with a shower, bathroom and even kitchen area. It has everything you need to freshen up before your flight, you can sunbathe with your own loungers too and not be interrupted by anyone. Our waitress here was amazing and went above and beyond, you get service to your cabana so we ordered some of the most delicious food we had in Miami. I’d definitely recommend going here for the nachos alone! Our cabana backed right onto the beach which was perfect. We spent a full day here and then headed straight to the airport. You're also in a prime location to just pop into the beach! 

Other hotels: I’ve also stayed at the Riu Miami in the past which was a little closer to Ocean Drive, it’s a more affordable option but was very clean and fresh. If I could have got in, (they were fully booked) I know the W would have been a total dream to stay at, maybe next time?! I always look for hotels on Collins Avenue as they tend to be the ones that back up to the beach. 

miami beach
Areas Of Miami/The Best Things To See and Do In Miami:

There are so many different parts of Miami to explore so I’m going to talk to you about a few must visits.



Miami Beach: A must visit, it’s where everyone goes all day. You’ll see pool parties taking place at the hotels that back onto the beach and then you have the most perfect, crisp white beach to walk across. No matter how busy it is, you can go for miles so can always find a quiet spot somewhere. You do have to pay for beach beds and umbrellas and at prestigious hotels they can be extremely expensive so make sure you check in advance. 

Miami Beach boardwalk


Miami Beach Boardwalk: Across the whole of Miami Beach you’ll see the Miami Beach boardwalk, it’s a beautiful walk from one end to the other and it’s great if you love looking at gorgeous hotels as you can peek into them all as you walk. You’ll see a lot of people working out on the boardwalk, it’s a prime spot to walk along or to work out along. 

Miami Pier/South Point Park: Right at the end of the beach is a pier, there’s not much on it but you get views of the whole of Miami Beach. You can go to a gorgeous little park underneath the bridge too, I picked up a great ice cream there. 
ocean drive miami

Ocean Drive: Ocean Drive is very hit and miss, I personally love it as I think it’s very Miami, with the Art Deco buildings but, it’s also a massive tourist trap and a few locals told me it’s very ‘tacky’. I personally think it’s great to walk along there and take a look at the old school cars and the amazing houses. I definitely wouldn’t choose to eat on there as it is very touristy and cheap (they all sell $5 cocktails and try to drag you in) but, the Starbucks on Ocean Drive is perfect if you’re after some free wifi… 
Lincoln Road: You’ll find Lincoln Road not too far from Ocean Drive, it’s one of the longest shopping roads I’ve ever come across! There’s restaurants all down the middle of it and then shops down either side. It’s shoppers paradise but I’d say to come here in the evening otherwise it’s too hot. 

Wyndwood: Wyndwood is a really cool little artsy district. My friends told me it’s still quite difficult in some parts so they drove me around it. There’s lots of street art, cool little bars and restaurants and it’s getting better each time I go back. It can still be quite sketchy though so be careful. 

Mary Brickell Village: This is a downtown area full of shopping. It’s become really popular over the years. I personally am not a fan of downtown but know a lot of people flock here.

miami skyline

Cruise: I’d highly recommend booking a boat tour of Miami, it kicks off downtown and then you get to see the whole downtown skyline (imagine CSI Miami/Miami Vice), you get to see the port of Miami, Miami Beach, Fisher Island (a must see!) and all the Millionaires and celebrities houses in Miami.

Time: If you have a lot of time, there are easy tours you can do over to Walt Disney, Kissimee (one of my favourite areas of Florida - Jeeve's Orlando villas are epic!!!), Fort Lauderdale and Keys, worth checking out if you do have the time.  The Bahamas is only a quick flight away too, when I visited Miami a few years ago I flew straight into the Bahamas after because, why not! Read about my time in the Bahamas. 

Best Food In Miami: 


There’s so much good food in Miami, I’d highly recommend using TripAdvisor to find the best restaurants close to you, I literally swear by it. There's nothing worse than wasting time abroad on a bad restaurant. Here are a few of the places I’ve loved but also there are so many I’m yet to try. 
freehand miami

Free Hand Miami - When my friends told me they were taking me to a hostel for dinner I was like? What? One of them is a TV presenter and his wife owns Baiser Beauty (make sure you check it out, it’s an entirely Vegan and natural beauty brand and it’s awesome) but I trust them entirely when it comes to knowing the hot spots in Miami. I had the best fries and the best tacos of my life in this place. It’s like a gorgeous little fairy garden with jam jar lights and, jam jar cocktails. Unlike everywhere else in Miami, it’s incredibly affordable too. I’d highly recommend heading here for drinks in the garden or a super casual dinner. We were told it’s recently been taken over by someone from New York which is why it’s probably so instagram worthy now! 
bird and bone miami
food at the confidante

bird and bone miami

pancakes in miami
Bird and Bone Miami - Located within the Confidante hotel this place doesn’t just do an epic breakfast, but dinner too. We started most of our days eating here and one of the waiters in particular was absolutely amazing. Rather than going for the buffet, we went off the menu and I’ve never seen such a vast and healthy breakfast menu. I indulged in guilt free sweet potato pancakes every morning and a green juice. I’d go back here in a heartbeat. It doesn’t stop there, dinner was divine too, I went for fresh chicken and all the veggies. The cocktails are strong but delicious and it’s a really beautiful venue. 
beach food Nobu hotel

Eden Roc Beach Food - We accidentally ordered food whilst on the beach, we didn’t know where to go so ended up eating on the beach chairs and what an amazing idea that was. The menu was amazing, from cauliflower pizza to nachos, guacamole and acai bowls. My favourite? The fresh coconut cocktails they mix up for you. Again, the service here was fab and the food was fresh and delicious.
the big pink miami

The Big Pink - I’ve been here a few times now and love it. I find it’s always a little dirty if you sit outside but think that’s just because so many people visit and they rarely have time to serve let alone clean. Plonk yourself on a table and choose from the largest menu known to man, from breakfast to burgers to salads to chicken… they have everything. I went for a delicious sticky chicken dish with veggies and rice and certainly wasn’t dissapointed. The milkshakes are pretty epic too. Make sure you order quac and chips to start of course.

Soho Beach House - Soho House is a members only club in most places but in Miami, you can head in and grab a seat. The outdoor area is really pretty but it was full so we grabbed a seat inside. I had a delicious pizza and a cocktail, it was outrageously expensive but everyone recommends this place for food and I can see why, the menu was amazing and I wanted everything on it. A must visit for dinner. 
oh Mexico miami


Oh Mexico Washington Av - In search of a good Mexican, we asked a local taxi driver where he recommended. We were told Oh Mexico is a must so we headed there. We sat outside and enjoyed delicious fajitas and the best guacamole. The guacamole was made infront of us and there was enough to keep us going all week. This place is awesome. 

Rosa Mexicano Lincoln Road - Another Mexican right at the end of Lincoln Road, do your shopping and then head here for dinner. They’ve taken fajitas off the menu but they still exist so make sure you ask for them! Again, we got a whole bowl of guac. 

STK Miami - I absolutely adore STK and had my first ever STK experience on my first trip to Miami. Read my full review of STK Miami. It’s an amazing, luxurious steak restaurant and if Mac and cheese is your thing, you have to get that as a side too. I’ve since visited STK in London and have to say, it was also amazing. They have photos of the celebrities who have visited here and the Kardashians have been! 

Havana 1957 - Miami has a lot of Cuban food and Havana 1957 is apparently the best for Cuban food. I loved it when I visited and started with plantain chips and then had beans, rice and succulent chicken. There’s always a queue outside this place, it’s on Lincoln road. 

Night Clubs - I was recommended to visit STORY Nightclub, apparently Justin Bieber is a regular?! This is opposite the Big Pink and then LIV Miami, which is inside the Fountainbleu hotel, this apparently frequents Drake… not bad hey? If you want to drink on the beach in Miami, bottles of wine sold at hotels can cost around $200, you're better to stick to cocktails! 



Other things to note in Miami:


A few last things to note if you are visiting Miami. 

Expensive - Miami can be really expensive. We were spending so much money on breakfasts and dinners as everything just massively adds up here. It really is a rich persons paradise, you’ll see epic cars, epic houses and probably a few celebrities along the boardwalk or in the clubs. Tables at some clubs can start from $800 and some beach umbrellas can cost around $200, it just depends where you want to spend your time. 

Tax & tips - When you see a price tag in America, don’t forget they’ll add tax on at the till. It varies from state to state and in Miami the tax is expensive so by the time they’ve added on service charge and tip, the bill is usually pretty pricey. For some hospitality staff, their wage is their tip and they can be pretty angry if you don’t pay it. It’s around 18-20% on top of your bill in America. 

Dangerous - There really are some parts of Miami which are quite sketchy, so be vigilant. I felt totally safe when I was around the beach area but my friend did drive us around Wyndwood as he said some streets still aren’t very safe. 

Cuban/Spanish/American - Miami isn’t really like America at all, it’s a mixture of Cuban,Spanish, Mexican and American, giving it a unique and vibrant kind of feel to it! Embrace it. 

Air Con - Pack a light jacket, even just for dinner. It was boiling outside in Miami but every time I went into a restaurant I felt like I was in a freezer, they massively air-con the life out of everywhere so just a heads up if you’re a chilly person like I am.




Watch my Miami travel vlog:

You might also like:

Have you visited Miami before? Do you like Miami? Would you like to visit? 

Lots of love, Em x

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