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Bienvenidos a Miami

brunch Cecconi's dinner Essensia Exhale Spa Florida Fontainbleu getaway Liv Loews Miami Miami Beach nightlife Soho Beach House South Beach The Broken Shaker The Matador Room The Miami Beach Edition Travel

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Two weeks ago I headed for a mini getaway to palm trees, pool side cocktails, ocean breezes and lots of lounging with some meals in between. My husband had some business meetings in South Beach and I was more than happy to accompany him. Four days in Miami means plenty of mare, plage e sole.

We stayed at the Loews, a first for me. I  had heard nothing but good things and the hotel lived up to those compliments. The onsite Exhale Spa, with yoga and barre classes offered, as well as Soak, a private cabana club, upped the appeal. The main restaurant, Lure Fishbar, has been awarded the title of best seafood in Miami (if it sounds familiar that’s because there’s a Manhattan location as well on Mercer). We ate there one night and were very pleased with our meals. The staff overall at the Loews, be it at the spa, pool, lobby, beach or restaurants, were all very professional and accommodating. I would definitely consider staying at the Loews again based on the price point and certainly would recommend it. (photo source)

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Beachy long weekends mean relaxing and to keep that relaxed vibe going all day and night it’s a good plan to make your restaurant reservations in advance. Nothing is more of a buzz kill after a day of R&R than walking from restaurant to restaurant trying to find a table and being told there’s at least a two hour wait everywhere you try. Do your research before you go. Figure out your meal budget if there is one, what type of ambiance are you going for, do you want a view, indoor or outdoor table, laid back or to the nines? Then, either opentable it if available or make the quick call to save yourself some stress. It definitely makes a difference.

One of my favorite Miami restaurants for dinner is Essensia. They are not only a farm to table restaurant, their chef has her own garden right on the property. Everything is as fresh as can be imagined and it is utterly delicious. The catch of the day from local fishermen, fresh mint from the garden in your mojito and vegetable sides pulled right from the earth steps from your table. (photo source)

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Our final morning before our flight we headed to  Cecconi’s at the Soho Beach House for brunch. It is supposed to be one of the, if not the, best brunches in Miami and it did not disappoint. Reservations in advance are key if you truly plan on brunch and don’t want to be wait-listed until a late afternoon lunch. We actually had more breakfast than brunch since the only availability was for 9:30 am, but the food and mimosas were excellent none the less. We weren’t rushed out and sat for some time sipping on a couple extra mimosas and reading over the Sunday New York Times. When we left through the lobby there were about 20 or so people waiting to check in with the host and cars lined up at the entrance and down Collins Ave. waiting for valet- a sure sign that the restaurant seems to live up to its reputation. (photo source)

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Nightlife in South Beach is notorious for swanky clubs, VIP service and miniskirts with higher hemlines than the sky-high stilettos that they’re paired with. Personally, that scene was never for me but I know that if you want a taste of it you have to go no further than Liv at Fontainbleu.

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I, on the other hand, am more likely to be found sipping on a gimlet at James Beard Award nominee The Broken Shaker in my sandals and sundress.

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One of the most attractive qualities of Miami is that there is always a new restaurant to try, a new bar to check out, a new shop that just opened. Each time we go we always find something new that we either end up going back to or suggesting to friends they have to try when in town. Colleagues of my husband raved about the Matador Room at the new Miami Beach Edition Hotel and said it was the best meal they’ve had in Miami. I’m adding it to my list for the next time, and I know there will be one. Miami Beach is ever-developing and evolving and that’s what makes it a fun spot for a long weekend. It always has something new to offer. (photo source)

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