Fun, Exciting, Beautiful, Wild – these are all of the adjectives that popped into my head when I first considered a getaway with my husband, Ryan, to Miami. I said, “We’re still young. Going to Miami now is a good idea.” That was my way of justifying the trip to him. To be quite frank, I hope I’m up for trips to Miami even when I’m not young anymore. But, whatever. I made my point. He agreed to go. We live close to our kids’ grandparents who are more than willing to watch them if we go somewhere. It was happening. I was ready to ‘party in the city where the heat is on’ as Will Smith had preached to me for the past 20 years.
We arrived at The Betsy Hotel, perched on the northern end of Ocean Drive in Miami’s famed South Beach, on a busy and bustling Saturday night. The Betsy looked charming in white with tall columns and a lovely patio out front. It seemed a bit more sophisticated than its Art Deco neighbors, which was absolutely perfect for us. You see, we like to have fun, but we also like a good night’s sleep. If the price looks too good to be true, there’s no in-room dining or if wristbands must be worn in order to get your free continental breakfast, it’s not for us. Spring Break vibes were our jam many moons ago. But these days we avoid them like the plague. You see? I used the saying “avoid them like the plague”. I’m clearly too old for Spring Break.
The lobby was loud and crowded with a fun weekend energy in the air. There was a woman singing and a piano being played. People filled every seat, and the bartenders were busy. Palm plants were everywhere, the furniture had nautical stripes and wood trim – Florida decor stereotypes were being fulfilled right before my eyes. It was lovely.
With a bottle of sparkling wine and a plate of fresh fruit to greet us, our King Suite was spacious and nice, but still casual. Very Miami – lots of white, clean lines, cool art. Talk about a big difference from our last hotel stay, which was at The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans. At The Betsy you’ll get luxury hotel feels combined with beach casual. It’s the perfect choice for the traveler that has more room in their budget than a Spring Breaker, but hasn’t quite reached Four Seasons status yet. Unlike some other cities, 5-star hotels in Miami don’t come cheap. So if you don’t have $500 + per night to spend, but you’re also avoiding party-all-nighters like us, I highly recommend The Betsy.
Known for their love and support of the arts, particularly writers, The Betsy not only has a library and writer’s room, but also a poetry rail featuring the work of 12 different poets. I’ve been to a lot of hotels and have never seen anything like this. Plus, you can enjoy one of their two pools, the delicious food at LT Steak & Seafood (more on that later) and the amazing views from the rooftop. And as if all of that isn’t enough, there’s also the beautiful beach, which is just a short stroll across the street. With designated chairs and umbrellas for hotel guests, and the option to order food right there from the sand, you’re going to be in absolute heaven.
Let’s be honest. I build our traveling schedules around dining experiences. For Ryan and me, ‘going out on the town’ typically means that we’re going to a great restaurant for dinner and drinks. Rarely do we enter a nightclub or even a bar. Therefore food is a major part of our trips. Plus, we like to eat good food, period. Ryan and I didn’t go to any budget restaurants in Miami. As busy parents to young children, treating ourselves to high quality food at restaurants with excellent service is a priority for us when we travel. I didn’t go all the way to Florida to eat at TGI Friday’s. Know what I mean?
We started our Miami culinary adventure with a bang at The Betsy Hotel’s LT Steak & Seafood. Loud and lively, the restaurant was very dimly lit and full to the brim. A cool perk was that you could hear the singer in The Betsy lobby from the tables who even came over and sang Happy Birthday to a restaurant patron. The complimentary popovers are an interesting departure from the typical steakhouse bread basket. Plus, they’re delish. Also delicious were the filet mignons topped with a dollop of herb butter and the potato gratin. But the real standout was certainly our dessert – Warm Chocolate Cake with fresh whipped cream. You guys, you literally spoon out some of the decadent cake then dip the entire spoon into the fresh cream, then devour. 100% heaven.
Onto our next Miami meal, brunch at Prime Fish. Successful Miami Restauranteur, Myles Chefetz, is known for his chef-driven restaurants that seem to be celebrity magnets, attracting the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Dwayne Johnson, Jonathan “Food God” Cheban (whom happened to be dining at Prime Fish at the same time as us along with Myles Chefetz, himself – both very nice guys), and The Kardashians, among many others. Prime Fish was bright and energetic, full of a wide variety of patrons – a ladies brunch, a birthday brunch, a family, a date, a business brunch, a boys brunch – I saw it all. Everybody wants to go to this place and for good reason. For $59 per person at Prime Fish, you will get an absolutely amazing and impressive gourmet brunch with an enormous assortment of high quality foods AND bottomless drinks – mimosas, bloody marys, Bellinis, coffee, juice AND a fish or omelette entrée. Truffle deviled eggs? Got ’em. Breakfast enchiladas? Got ’em. Chicken and waffles? Got ’em. I could seriously devote an entire blog post to this meal. Just go there. Do it. Trust me.
You can’t go to Miami for 3 nights and visit just one of Chefetz’s restaurants. Therefore we hit up his ultra popular steakhouse, Prime 112, for dinner. If you’re a longtime and loyal viewer of Keeping Up With The Kardashians like I am, you’ve seen Prime 112 on the show. Like LT, Prime 112 was loud and lively and filled to the brim with people. Ryan and I have dined at lots of fine steakhouses across the country, and this one most certainly delivers the goods and lives up to the hype. We started with shrimp cocktail, in which the shrimp were enormous and the cocktail sauce was quite spicy. So good. Ryan ordered the double wedge salad and shared with me. I’m never super stoked about bleu cheese because I don’t want its flavor to overpower everything. But, boy was I pleasantly surprised with this salad. The flavor was absolutely perfect with chunks of thick bacon and grape tomatoes mixed in. We both ordered filet mignons, that were cooked perfectly and so tasty. And we also ordered the scalloped parmesan potatoes, which were also so great. I even added a side of garlic butter to top my steak with, which I never do, but am so glad I did this time. Steak + butter + potatoes = happiness. Shout out to our outstanding server, Pedro, who took great care of us and made perfect recommendations.
Our final dining highlight was at Asian fusion hotspot, Komodo, also a celebrity magnet, and owned by restauranteur and hospitality entrepreneur, Dave Grutman, whom we coincidentally met the night before when he was dining at Prime 112 right next to us. Komodo is beautiful with high ceilings and lovely light fixtures. The atmosphere was quite calm, but it was a Monday, and according to our server, apparently much more chill than their weekend crowds. We ordered a lot of food at Komodo. It was our last hoorah of the trip, so we went for it. We had the Lobster Dynamite, the Vegetable Dumplings, the Seared A5 Roll, the Dragon Roll, and the Garlic King Crab Lo Mein… and the Five Spice S’More for dessert. Told ya – lots of food. Everything was so good, but I must say that my absolute fave was the lo mein. I mean, who doesn’t want garlic buttery noodles and crab? Good lord, it was good.
If you’re a parent looking for a fun getaway without the kids, I highly recommend The Betsy Hotel (which would also be wonderful for kids, FYI) and all of these incredible restaurants. You’re going to feel so refreshed and pampered by the time you get back home, which will help your 3-year-old’s temper tantrums roll right off of your relaxed back.
I have so much more to share about our trip to Miami. Stay tuned.