Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vice, Part I

It has been a whirlwind week and weekend.  Wow.  I don't really know how I am typing coherently.  Actually, I am not sure if I am.  Forgive me if I ramble or misspell or stop.typing.mid.sentence.

Let me just start by saying that Miami was completely surprising to me.  I loved it so much more than I thought I would.  We have already starting mentally planning a trip back soon.  It is the perfect short getaway from New Orleans.  A very affordable one hour fifteen minute flight from Nola?  I am in.    

I arrived late on Wednesday night.  Perfectly timed, Beau was arriving back from his dinner at Michael's Genuine Food and Drink as I was jumping out of my cab.  We had a drink at the sports bar at the Doral with some of his family friends and proceeded back to our room.  I will  write a separate review on tripadvisor and link to it later, but let's just say that we decided that the Doral would not be happening for us for another night. Working too much and taking this trip on a whim resulted in poor planning on our part. After realizing that the Doral was a $50.00 cab ride to and from South Beach, we figured we needed to reconfigure our plan.  Plus, the Doral is ideal for a boys golf vacay, but not a perfect pick for a  weekend getaway to splashy Me-ah-me.   (You can read all of my other tripadvisor reviews under my username, Nolanative.  I try to record my hotel stays on there, but sometimes, of course, fail to do so!)

So....during my pedi at the Doral Spa the next morning, I committed to finding a new spot for Beau and me to rest our heads.  While Beau was at his last CLE sessions, I became a task master and got us relocated to South Beach.  (It was a bit harder than I would have anticipated because Thursday was the start of the Miami Wine and Food Fest....which seems like it would be an amazing trip in and of itself!) 

Needless to say, we escaped the Doral and made a break for the Mondrian on South Beach.  As neither us have ever been to Miami and really have no context for where to stay, etc., I am so glad that I simply called the Delano and, although booked, they placed us at one of its other properties in the Morgan Hotel Group.  
Again, I will write a more detailed review of the Mondrian on tripadvisor, but I think the beautiful snaps as well as a quick visit to the website will speak volumes and express our utter relief when we walked through the posh white lobby.  Upon pulling up in our cab to the chandeliered valet area, we both finally felt like our Miami vacay had begun!

We were upgraded to this room with a view.  Score!  

We actually loved that the Mondrian was on the bay side as opposed to the was quieter and a bit secluded from the hustle and bustle of Collins and Ocean.  Located in a residential neighborhood, but still a 3 minute cab ride to all of the places we wanted to go, the Mondrian was a very happy accident for us.  

I settled into a lounge chair and the amazing bar service began.  Although it was unseasonably chilly for Miami, it was still wonderful to sit in the sunshine and soak up some Vit D. 

Cheers with a view!

We enjoyed too many pool drinks (or "boat drinks"...a term I have never heard, but love!) and watched the sunset from the pool area bar.   We were fortified by some yummy ceviche as we took in the stunner views.  

It looks fake, right? ...and this is an iPhone snap!   

Here are some other design-nutty pics of the Mondrian...

View of pool patio below our balcony with the gorgeous filligreed stained concrete.

One more view from our balc.
Outside near the pool.
Lobby is a show stopper. 

I understand that I proclaimed that our Miami vacay would consist of serious R and R.  Many of you probably chuckled and rightfully so.  We basically had Mardi Gras/Lombardi Gras II, which kicked off at the hotel bar and continued on at Prime 112.   Aside from the masculine-chic environment and very happening vibe, including a great bar and a perfect people-watching experience, the food was also delicious.  Beau proclaimed that the steak may be one of the best he has ever had.  My crab cakes had the perfect crispy outside and softer inside.  Of course, my one bite of the incredibly rich lobster mac and cheese was possibly the best taste I had in Miami.  

I think, however, Beau was sold when we waited at the bar, ordered our fourth-ish round of cocktails (for the day, not the restaurant), and he snacked on this.  

Still life featuring bacon on the bar paired with Beau's vodka soda.  Ambrosia to Beau.  I think the fact that there was bacon in lieu of carbs or bar nuts for the taking was almost too much for him to wrap his mind around.  

I would highly recommend hitting Prime 112.  Everyone around us loved their meals, the service was impeccable and, honestly, it was just fun to see Lamborghinis and Stretch Hummers pulling up all night (we loved our outside table!).  

One may think that the night ended after a luxurious meal and, at this point, 700 cocktails for the day.  Nope. We hopped in a cab and headed to the Fontainebleau.  I was shocked that we actually went along with our original plan to hit the lobby bar there.  

We were both delighted to settle into a table, people watch, and wikipedia everything on our iPhones about Goldfinger.  Here is a little blurb about Bleau Bar from the Fontainebleau website. 

MiamiNew Times - Best of Miami ® 2009 Best Neighborhood Bar/Miami Beach
The legendary Fontainebleau Miami Beach is “the” resort where James Bond and Goldfinger played a game of gin rummy, where Frank and The Rat Pack played and where Elvis was really “in the building,” This iconic playground to the stars is back and more alluring than ever. 

Through the 1950s and 1960s, Fontainebleau was the place to be and seemed to host the who's who in entertainment, including Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason, Judy Garland, Milton Berle, Jerry Lewis, Marlene Dietrich, Debbie Reynolds and many others. 

 Mad Men meets hip Miami club.

It was a real treat to examine the Lapidus-designed lobby in person.  I have read so much about it for so long.  I now appreciate and understand the one billion (!) dollar renovation.  The restoration very much captured the feel of an updated take on a classic mid-century modern masterpiece. I thought it perfectly married  the aesthetic of a bygone era with the current "cool" Miami look.  
I had to snap a shot of the famous tuxedo floors....
Just ignore Beau's bunny ears.  And my champagne glass.  And the bad angle.  You get the idea, right?

I was unable to get a good shot of the famed "Stairway to Nowhere," but had to include this snap from New York Social Diary.  

After I tried to convince Beau to continue the party at LIV, the nightclub/discotheque/lounge (I think all of those terms are hilarious) located in the Fontainebleau, we headed back to the Mondrian to rest our weary little heads.  Sadly, it was closing time...for us, that is.  

Next installment of our Miami trip tomorrow...I think you will be highly impressed with our "Miami in a nutshell" experience.  We covered some serious ground. 



P.S.  If we are lucky, Beau may grace us with a guest post on Miami, including his review of Michael's Genuine Food and Drink.  

P.P.S.  Here is a link to an article on the very entertaining vending machine in the lobby of the Mondrian.  You will get a kick out of it!

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