Party in the city where the heat is on
All night, on the beach till the break of dawn
Welcome to Miami
Buenvenidos a Miami
Bouncing in the club where the heat is on
All night, on the beach till the break of dawn
I’m going to Miami
Welcome to Miami!!
Remember this Will Smith song from about a decade ago?! Well, this sing song trademark ‘ Welcome to Miami’ is how everyone greets you when you arrive into Miami and I loved it every single time someone greeted me this way!!
WELCOME TO MIAMI
As you fly into Miami, you can’t help but be mesmerised by the landscape as you gaze out of the window. As you deplane, the warm balmy air hits you as you step on to the aero-bridge. If you’ve not flown domestic in the USA, here’s the bummer. The unending wait for your bags nevertheless let’s you admire the most beautiful flooring at Miami international with brass inlays in terrazzo flooring by Michele Oka Doner replicating the ocean floor.
Driving throughout Miami is a sight for sore eyes…blue seas often come onto the horizon wherever you go and plays peekaboo and so do the thunderclouds. Make sure you avoid the hurricane season and always be armed with an umbrella. I even heard the tornado warning as we drove home to my cousin’s place …wow! And my cousin’s home…double wow!!
As my beloved husband was to depart to Mexico for a boys only trip (grrrrr), we decided to do as much of Miami in 24hrs for his benefit! Little does this man anticipate that his chica who apparently looks Brazilian/Spanish (yes, yours truly as complimented by the locals), was bound to have more fun as a single girl in Miami!
THIS IS HOW WE ROLL
Day 1: We drove to South Beach and grabbed some cocktails at Mangoes…as made famous by My doppelgänger Priyanka Chopra in the movie Dostana. Now this is the place to find F.L.O.R.I.D.A, Pitbull and the likes of them perform almost every week. It’s covered in neon and has even more loudly dressed staff who break into a very cheesy dance every half hour. But boy! this is the place to party! They have hens night packages FYI…Google it up gals and Thank me later! And if you happen to be a hip hop person…then Memorial Day Weekend is when you should be here!
South Beach is where you can ‘people watch’ the whole day. The fashion is loud but somehow everyone manages to carry it off with elan. The most trending is The Double Dutch braid as made famous by the Kardashian Clan…. did I mention their store Dash is on the next lane.
We then drove to Wynwood Walls which has the most amazing street artists display their art on the walls of warehouses. It’s now the hub for the most amazing restaurants. We walked around absorbing the most amazing vibe and then stopped at GiGis for the most delish pulled pork sliders, passion fruit prosecos and mini soft serve ice creams.
Day 2: We did the customary cruise from Bayside on a catamaran to see the multi-million dollar homes of the rich and famous on Star Island and Fisher Island. As we admired the beautiful homes we were told that the biggest of these erections on Star Island (at 60 million dollars) belong to Mr Phillip Frost..The rights to The Little Blue Pill also belong to him!!
Bayside is beautiful and amazing for shopping for knick knacks, perfumes at Perfumania and shoes at Clarks and USPA always has good deals going on. This is also the place to hang-out on the weekends where open air acts do happen with good restaurants to catch a bite or drink. We then grabbed a bite at KYU by Zuma and had the most amazing lunch….2 weeks waiting time people…we just got lucky!
After I bid adieu to my Man at MIA, my cousin took me to the most amazing bookstore….Books and Books…I died and went to literary heaven! Everyday they have some author come into the store and have a talk or session. After browsing and picking up some books, we walked along the Miracle Mile and Coral Gables absorbing Miami’s History! We also dropped in at St Jude’s Church in Brickell and sat there mesmerised by the architecture which has been recently restored. After lighting some candles and whispering prayers of someday perhaps owning a mansion on Star Island, we headed to the PAM -Peres Art Museum. The landscaping takes your breath away with trees hanging from the ceiling and amazing art installations. Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable!
Day 3: My friend was in town for the day and we decided to do a girls day out. We grabbed an amazing breakfast at the W and then headed down South Beach and spent the entire day crawling bars, trying food in different restaurants and getting happy high the whole day. A `Must Have’ is the Mai Tai at the Sugar Factory….the sugar rush will leave you buzzed for hours. We walked all along the Art Deco district… checked out Gianni Versace’s residence where he was infamously shot, which is now a nightclub. A pair of shorts and a tank top and a great pair of sunnies is what works best for the need of the day for the girls….smart tees and shorts for the guys…however, don’t forget to slap on your sunscreen!
Many gals also walk around in their swimwear with long transparent cover ups which looked amazing as they hopped from the beach and back and one pool party to the other.
Day 4: Time for a day trip to Key West which was always on my bucket list…a three hour scenic drive over 42 bridges across the sea, one of which is a seven mile bridge which takes you to the southernmost point in the USA. This quaint town, which once housed the Cuban Cigar factories and is home to Ernest Hemingway (the prolific writer), is a beautiful day trip. Cuba is just 80 miles away from here. Dip in the sea, some water sports cocktails and amazing fish sandwiches followed by a trolley tour around the island shopping on Duval Street summed up the day!
Day 5: Miami ink time!! If you are a tattoo enthusiastic and followed this programme then you would understand how this came to be the highlight of my trip. Here’s some pointers on how to get a tattoo here with the most amazing artists. Walk in for a consultation anytime. The little shop, as Ami James calls it, is on 1160 Washington Avenue. I suggest 11.00am as the doors open as that’s the perfect time to grab a photo op with Ami James. He doesn’t work weekends and is the nicest man to chat up with. Book an appointment by paying an advance with the artists of your choice. Be prepared for the hordes of tourists who come to take pictures of this iconic store and artists. The minimum is 200 USD price tag and it’s well worth it…trust me. We then grabbed some amazing Cuban food at Havana on Lincoln Avenue with some shopping. Do try this new store called Bag It which customised my bag in ten minutes.
Ended the day with cocktails and some amazing food at Sugarcane!
MY TIPS FOR MIAMI
Your flight: Go for curb side, check In and tip them 3-5 USD instead of spending 5 USD on that tiny useless trolley. This way they’ll pick up your bag from the car and check in right away.
Your check-in baggage: Don’t lock them unless you have TSA locks. It’s 25 USD for the first and 35 USD for the second.
Your miles: Try register with the airline at least two weeks before you travel. Add the miles before you board at the gate. Four flights and you can get the first bag free there on.
Your security: For God’s sake don’t put any liquids in there. Get there way ahead of time as the domestic security is a nightmare.
Your Ride: Uber…Uberpool and you could save even more. After all, every dollar saved is a Mango Mojito earned!
Your ‘Go To’ place for night out: Wynwood and South Beach
Your Shopping : Bayside, Dolphin Mall, Lincoln Avenue and Simon premium outlet malls.
Your Club: Mangoes and South Beach Bars
Your Bucket List: Key West and Miami Ink
Your Drink: Mango Mojito Mai Tai at Sugar Factory
Your Dress Code: Short, shorter, shortest
Please note: My husband and his boy squad did call in to tell me “you had a better time than we did!!” PUH-LEASE MISTER!? What else did you expect!? Burn!!
Photographs by Supriya Lolayekar