Happy Monday, friends! A couple weeks ago I ventured down to Florida for a getaway with my friend Haley (if you're new around here, Haley is one of my best friends and who I lived with in London last year). We hadn't seen each other in far too long (since we moved out of our flat in Earl's Court!) so we were long overdue for an adventure together. I had already planned to visit her in Jacksonville for the week, so when she told me an invitation had popped up from Greater Miami and The Beaches to come experience Miami Spice Month, naturally we were in!
We had been to Miami together before for Haley's 30th birthday so we were so excited to return together to explore more of this vibrant city. As I previously mentioned, from now until the end of September it's Miami Spice Month! Miami Spice essentially offers amazing deals on select hotels, spas and restaurants (three of our favorite things) so you that you can stretch your budget a lot farther than usual. You can browse their site (here) to view all the offers, but here's the DL on what Haley and I took advantage of:
We stayed at The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables: a luxury resort overflowing with beauty. Built in the 1920s, this hotel is a National Historic Landmark. But don't let the date of construction fool you-- this property has no shortage of amenities (including multiple restaurants, a full-service spa, 18-hole golf course, tennis center, fitness center and a 21,000-sq-ft outdoor pool). Needless to say, we had plenty to do during our stay. In fact, we spent the large majority of our trip right here at the hotel! And with decor this lovely, can you really blame us?
As previously mentioned, part of the Miami Spice deals include restaurants and a few of them were right in our hotel! For our first proper meal in Miami upon arrival, we dined at Fontana Italian Restaurant for dinner. Haley and I both love Italy but have never been together (at least not YET anyway ;) ) so it was fun indulging in Italian fare while swapping stories from our travels. The chef came out to meet us and we loved getting to chat with him as well (he's an Italian native, so he jumped right into our conversation about his home country!)
Everything we ate was absolutely delicious, but what's great about visiting in August and September is that you can have a three course meal for a discounted price of $23 for lunch or $39 for dinner if you order off the Miami Spice Menu. Whatever you order, I have no doubt it will be yummy.
ROOM SERVICE AT THE BILTMORE
Who isn't a sucker for room service? Any occasion where I get to lay in bed while someone brings me food is a fine activity in my book. So Haley and I made the most of #vacationmode and had omelettes and waffles and all sorts of fuel for our day ordered in while we watched the TODAY Show to start our day.
After our slow + cozy morning in the room, we went to the spa at The Biltmore to partake in some of the Miami Spa Month specials- another set of discounts available if you visit in July or August! Haley and I each got a 90-minute massage, which is included in the Miami Spa Month specials. We both agreed it was wonderful (that extra bit of time really let's you relax so much more!) Afterwards, we spent the afternoon in their beautiful relaxation room reading + sipping that spa water everyone loves. You can view photos of the spa here, but we wanted to be respectful of other spa-goers and keep our cameras put away.
For dinner that evening, we ventured away from The Biltmore to dine at one of the coolest restaurants: Kaori by Walter Martino. Chef Walter Martino is known for having created the most expensive plate in the world . He once created a plate made of solid gold (including 84 diamonds) for an Arab Prince and has since earned himself the title of "Million Dollar Chef." He has gone on to open Kaori in downtown Miami, a revolutionary culinary journey of the senses. This means that not will the food thrill your taste buds (he uses global cooking techniques + top notch ingredients from around the world) but everything around you awakens your awareness of sight + sound. The room is lit by the glow of artistic 360-degree projection screens, which means the wall art is continually changing. I loved that one minute we were in Hong Kong and another minute we were on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris!
The food was truly delicious and incredibly unique (it's a fusion of Japanese and Italian fare!) The presentation was impeccable, the menu thoughtfully designed and the staff was amazing. They're typically closed on Monday but were so kind and opened the restaurant just for us! I'm so glad they did because this was easily one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. Regardless of when you visit Miami, be sure to add this gem to your list (and again- if you come in August or September you can participate in the Miami Spice menus!)
We had seen some rain our first couple days in Miami, so for our final day we were SO happy to see blue skies and sunshine! As I mentioned earlier, The Biltmore has a 21,000-sq-ft outdoor pool so obviously, that's where we decided to spend our final day.
For our final Miami meal, we went to Palme d'Or, a top-rated French restaurant (clearly, the traveler genes in us have a soft spot for global cuisine!) Once again, Palme d'Or is a participant in Miami Spice, meaning you can get a three-course dinner for only $39. I recommend the "Le Filet De Boeuf" which is a Prime Beef Tenderloin with Potato Soufflées- it was incredible!
Miami may be known for it's Cuban influence or South Beach party scene, but it was so fun to experience a different side to this vibrant city. If you're looking for a destination for relaxation, world class spas and a blossoming culinary scene (not to mention stunning beaches!) Miami is a solid option.
I'm so thankful such a great trip and for the time I got to spend with Haley. This girl's friendship means the world to me and it was so fun to share yet another adventure to add to our collection (and to scheme up a few more adventures we have coming later this year!) Thanks for being my go-to travel partner in crime, for spear-heading this trip (not to mention being our noble photographer) but in general, for being such an amazing friend across the board. Love you mean it! x
A very special thanks to Greater Miami and The Beaches for sponsoring this post and providing us with such an amazing trip!
Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned later this week- I'll be recapping my trip to Porto, Portugal!