Miami in a Nutshell – Spring 2016

I’m not a fan of Miami – what is my problem?

In theory – it would seem that I’d really like Miami – at least the Miami Beach part of Miami. And I’ve had some good times there.

We just spent one of the best days ever – just hanging at the beach under an umbrella, reading a good book and ignoring the world. There were even Beach Boys if I’d wanted to order something silly in a plastic cup – say with Rum in it. And certainly the water was beautiful, and the beach was deep rich sand – and the sun was warm, the breezes soft, the feelings mellow.

What possibly could be my problem?

I can’t fault the hotel – we stayed in the Grand Beach Hotel in Surfside. It’s an up and coming area of Miami – north of the ‘strip’, but sharing most of the amenities – white sand, warm water, and very fancy hotels. The Grand Beach was very cool, very modern, very contempory. Nothing says money like people pulling up to valet parking driving Lamberginis, Porches, and Audis. The lobby was stunning in it’s starkness – although the faux library really turned me off. An entire section of the lobby area – over 3 floors high – was fashioned like a library – except the books were all spray-painted beige to go with the mellow color pallet – and were clearly not meant to be books – they were ‘art’.

The hotel offered two pool areas – the main pool area that ‘overlooked’ the beach, although you couldn’t actually see the beach because inbetween the double pools and double hot tubs was an area of landscaped palms and sand paths, leading to the ‘Surfside’ walking/biking/jogging path. This was at the lowest point – it was ‘uphill’ from there to get to the beach itself. The other pool was on the roof – and was surrounded by tall glass panels to keep out the breezes – which I’m guessing might be cool most of high season. Since we were here in May – they were warm and pleasant, but still it was nice to have some protection since we were up over 12 stories high.

My favorite part – aside from our room – was the restaurant. Simply called “The Restaurant” it offered – for Miami Beach – reasonably priced meal options. The reason for my clear enjoyment of this location – the split nature of the restaurant. About 2/3 of the seating was inside – and 1/3 was outside – either on a covered patio, or nestled among the palm trees on sand. Winner – a clear winner. And the staff was wonderfully pleasant as well.

Our room was a corner room – and featured windows (that didn’t open) on 2 sides. Our view was the next building from most of the windows, but our view from the wrap around balcony was actually really nice. To the West (Sunset), we overlooked the town of Surfside – an older communitity that is yet to be fully gentrified. So the buildings were low, the streets narrow, and the roof tops intriguing. We spent some time just sitting on the balcony – watching Surfside slowly – very slowly – settle down for the night.

The room was set-up quite differently from any other hotel room I’ve ever been in. Like most hotel rooms – it was long and thin, but instead of two beds – it had a king bed near the sliding glass doors to the balcony, then a huge full sized bathroom with a giant walk-in shower, then a sofa facing a huge TV (there were 2 TVs in the room – one to watch while in bed, one to watch sitting on the sofa. And here’s the oddest part – a 2nd bathroom. The 2nd bathroom featured a nice sized shower (glass walled of course), a toilet, and one of the smallest sinks I’ve ever seen. Before you start thinking we had a suite – we didn’t! This was a standard sized room. We didn’t get to peak into a suite – but I did look into other rooms – and they were similar – although some of the balconies I could see had not only 2 or 3 chairs and a table – but also a hot tub and a palm tree.

The number of staff was simply inspiring. There was staff – lots of staff – everywhere. And they were very friendly. Not fake friendly either – there was a delightful honesty to everyone I talked to – from the grand-mother making the waffles, to the young man from the Ukranie who served us breakfast. These were nice people.

So why don’t I like Miami?

For starters – I’m not a fan of the weather. Generally it’s either unseasonably cold, unbareably hot, or incredibly muggy. And the AC is always, always too cold. Setting a room temp to 65 when outside it is 90 is just insane.

2nd – it’s insanely expensive in the nice places, and kinda ratty in the not so nice places. I tend to have trouble finding the inbetween stuff – if it’s been gentrified, it’s astronomically expensive, and if its not gentrified, it’s scary.

There seems less and less middle ground every time I come to this area of the world.

Using our GPS – we drove around several different sections of the city – either on our way to the airport, to a restaurant, or to the hotel. We saw massive brand new hotels being built with 4 floor high water walls, and we passed trailer parks with trailer crowded so tightly together that there was barely space to walk between them. There were signs of the times – “We buy your home – no matter the condition”, “Been hit – call us first”, “Try your hand a shooting a machine gun at Lock and Load gun range”, or “Lottery – 135 Million”. At the beach, there were toned and shaped bodies in string bikinis – and religious women swimming in the ocean while dressed from head to toe. Miami is certainly a mixed bag – and that never makes me feel comfortable. I’m much happier in places where everyone seems to share the good times – not hog them.

But it’s hard to deny that it’s fun to just mellow out on a beach.

So – that’s Miami from me in a nutshell. Signing off – The Soup Lady

2 thoughts on “Miami in a Nutshell – Spring 2016

  1. Recently, I met two people from Florida – one from Miami, one from Palm Beach. Both were glad to have gotten out. :/ I fondly/not-so-fondly remember Florida for the barbecue and the horrifying fungal ear infection I obtained while there.

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