Editor’s Note—If you’ve been following me here for a while, you know I went to South Beach, Miami for Memorial Day a few years ago. You can read that post for even more recommendations HERE!
Late last month, I was lucky enough to spend four days in South Beach, Miami for a work trip. It was so nice to escape the Washington, DC cold for a few days and enjoy walks on the beach, my favorite spring/summer clothes, and endless views of the water. The last time I was in my Miami was over Memorial Day back in 2017, and while it was a great trip, I’ve since learned the kickoff to summer in South Beach is a huge party sene. (As in, cops from neighboring jurisdictions come into town just for the weekend to keep the peace.) This go-around, things were still super fun, but much, much calmer—and much more my pace.
I flew into town late Wednesday night and flew home Sunday morning, so had a nice chunk of time in paradise. The first day I was there it was hot, like almost 90-degrees with 100% humidity, and I worried I didn’t pack enough true summer clothes. After that, it cooled down to the 70s, making it was much more mild—and cooperative with my white jeans/blouse packing strategy. Since I was on a work trip, I didn’t have as much time to explore or try new restaurants as I would have if it was a true vacation. But, when I wasn’t working, I did still have the opportunity to try some new spots and visit some old favorites, so I wanted to share a little bit about where I stayed this time, where I ate, and my experience at South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which is the reason I was in town with work!
WHERE I STAYED /
On this trip, I stayed at the Royal Palm South Beach, which is actually right next door to the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, where I stayed last trip. Located right on the beach, the Royal Palm had a beautiful pool, a really fun outdoor bar, and access to the beach walk, which is a beautiful walking path that runs between the beach and the resorts.
However, I’m 50-50 on whether I’d say at the Royal Palm again. When I checked in, I was given a room in the Lanai Tower, which was an older part of the hotel and the guest rooms opened to the outside, like a motel. I’m big on safety when I travel, and did not feel comfortable sleeping there. So I went back to the front desk and was able to get transferred to a room in the main tower that was off an interior-facing hallway. While the rooms were clean, they were on the older side, and I feel like the photos on the hotel website oversell the place a bit. And, like my stay at the Loews Miami, I found that the walls in the hotel were really thin—I was in a room that could connect to the room next door to me, and I could hear those guests clearly, even though they were talking in a normal voice. Given all the sand, humidity, and volume of visitors, I would imagine upkeep at a property on South Beach is hard, but we were all a little underwhelmed by the hotel.
What did redeem The Royal Palm, however, were the outdoor spaces. While I didn’t have time to enjoy the pool, it was stunning and offered plenty of pool chairs and umbrellas. There was also a nice bar right by the pool that I ate a late dinner at when I got into town. I had a delicious quesadilla and a nice glass of wine, and went back for a margarita later in the trip.
So overall, now knowing what to expect about The Royal Palm, I’d probably stay again and just lower my expectations—since it’s a Marriott hotel, I was able to get my nights + points which I always love—and I would definitely stay at the Loews again. One hotel that’s also been on my radar in South Beach is The Savoy as I’ve heard wonderful things!
SOUTH BEACH WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL
I was in town for South Beach Wine & Food Festival, hosting some guests at several events for my company. The Festival really takes over South Beach and a lot of folks travel in from all over the country to enjoy the food and warm weather. There are hundreds of events at SOBEWFF, everything from sit-down dinners to big walk-around tasting events to culinary demonstrations. The proceeds from the event go to support the FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality.
I was lucky enough to work a dinner at Scarpetta, a pie-making class by Pink Pie, the Grand Tasting Village, and Burger Bash. Of all the events I was able to attend, Burger Bash was my favorite—I mean, y’all, it’s no secret I love a burger! Basically, a ton of different restaurants set up stalls on a tented-off area on the beach and offer full-size burgers they’ve created specifically for the event. My favorite one was the Shake Shack burger—they made a taco burger with pepper jack, a special shack sauce, and put a taco shell in the middle. My main piece of advice for Burger Bash and Grand Tasting, which is also on the beach, just several blocks away, is to get there as early as you can—they are popular events that attract large crowds, and the more popular booths can have really long lines.
WHERE I ATE /
Miami has a great food scene and when I wasn’t enjoying food at SOBEWFF, here’s where I ate:
- Taquiza—last time I was in Miami, we discovered this hole-in-the-wall place and fell in love with the tacos. I wanted to go back this trip and was happy to discover they’ve since moved to a larger location across the street, but the food is just as good. The chips are unlike any I’ve ever had, but so thick and delicious when dipped in their housemade guac. And like last time, the tacos didn’t disappoint!
- The Lido Bayside Grill—located at The Standard Hotel, this beautiful restaurant overlooks the Bay. I could have stayed here all day! Most of the food is Asian-inspired, but I opted for the burger and it was great. The day we were there it was rather windy and a bit cooler, and our waitress brought us blankets, which was a really nice touch.
- Aroma Espresso Bar—I ate breakfast here a few times on this trip and once the last time I was in Miami. They have everything you could ever want for really affordable prices and the service is quick. Aroma is located in the ground floor of the Loews.
- Taco Taco—a really fun and vibrant, colorful Mexican spot, they do late night happy hour from 11pm-2am and I grabbed a nightcap here with coworkers one night.
- American Social—for dinner on my last night in town, I met my cousin and her husband at the American Social in Brickell and loved it. It was located right on the River, which was such a stunning view to enjoy, and the food was great. I had a delicious chopped chicken salad, which was just what I needed after days of indulging!
I couldn’t have asked for a better warm-weather February escape from DC and always enjoy my time spent in Miami! And you know that I found time to make it to Soul Cycle on South Beach while I was in town, and that was so much fun, too—so definitely add it to your itinerary.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about what I did, or any recommendations for future Miami trips: firstname.lastname@example.org.