While planning our trip to Miami, I was excited yet confused about South Beach. It looked wonderful…top restaurants and beautiful hotels. However, a couple friends warned us that they did not like the area and I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I should heed these warnings. But, I went ahead and booked a room at the Ritz Carlton South Beach…you know I love these hotels for the serious service. This time I booked an ocean view club room, willing to pay a bit more to hear and see the ocean.
We arrived early, checked in and headed to the room. I had visions of a fruity drink from the club level enjoyed in our room overlooking the ocean…paradise. It was not to be…The room was nice enough and did have a view of the ocean. However, there was no balcony and the windows barely opened. As you know from a previous post, this is a complete deal breaker. I am not one of those “who cares about the hotel room, you just sleep there” people. In fact I think if you have an amazing hotel room… it completely enhances your trip. We talked about it and headed back to the desk to inquire about a balcony room. I was told that I could have one for a large additional charge. By this time, we had explored the area and were less than impressed. I’m not sure what it was…the ocean seemed so far away and not in sight, the pool was less than exciting with no tiki bar in view. So our solution was to cancel (which they generously let us do with no charge) and head to the Ritz in Ft Lauderdale.
If I was completely honest, I think I wanted to stay here from the very beginning, but felt like I needed to give Miami a try. So, we took a cab that resembled “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” (seriously I think we topped 110 mph) and arrived a bit shaken, but very happy with our balcony room. We spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the balcony and the outstanding pool, bar area and beach. D had to drag me away from the hotel, but we did enjoy a couple great meals.
The first was a recommendation from the concierge when we ask for a great hamburger. He recommended the Big City Tavern and it was the perfect spot to have a juicy, perfectly cooked and branded (see photo) burger and enjoy the college football games.
Our second meal was at a ‘gasp’ chain restaurant… Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. While we usually like to try local eateries, this place has a peel and eat appetizer that, when paired with their garlic bread, cannot be beat!