MIAMI 2023 Recap!

Five days away kid-free with your significant other? Sign me up! I’d go just about anywhere to have the kind of little “break” that we did… and it was definitely an unexpected, wild ride. Read on to hear how we got to Miami, where we stayed, what we did, and of course to look through our scrapbook of photos (many of which I haven’t yet posted to Instagram!)

Let’s start at the very beginning. We found out in May that Stephen would have a whole MONTH off work between jobs, and we asked my mom (who is a saint!) if she would watch our girls while we jetted off to Mexico. We planned to go to the resort we frequent, so that there was virtually no thinking involved. We know we like it, we know it’s easy, let’s do it. We booked the trip with only a few weeks to spare and I did all the prep work to make sure our girls were set at home while we were away. Cut to Sunday, June 18th – Father’s Day of all days. I’m checking us into our flights for the next morning only to realize that Stephen’s passport had just expired a few months prior. I went through the 7 stages of grief – I was in denial, asking for advice on where we could get a passport in less than 24 hours… then I raged with anger… then I cried… and finally I went into hypervigilant planning mode: and voila – with 17 hours before our flights, I switched our trip to a getaway within the U.S.A. – four nights on the Miami strip!

We were able to fully switch over our flights and we only lost one night’s worth of dollars at our Mexican resort. Things could be worse. When I made the pivot, I thought for sure we’d stay at The Delano, which is a hotel I used to frequent for girls’ weekends with my mom back before I had kids – but I was shocked to learn that it had closed down during the pandemic. It was bought by a different hospitality group, and apparently there are plans to re-open eventually, but I was bummed and thus began searching for anything that was available in less than a day’s notice. Enter: The Goodtime Hotel. I was getting lots of ads for it, and I loved the color scheme and the vibe of the pool and that it was owned by Pharrell…. so I impulsively said “let’s give it a go”. I mean, would any choice not be considered impulsive in less than a day’s notice? Besides – after the emotional Passport rollercoaster, I just wanted to have A GOOD TIME. It felt like destiny.

Now that you know how we got there, let’s talk about the Pro’s and Con’s of this hotel – The Pro’s are that it’s extremely trendy with “instagrammable” spots everywhere you turn, they make fantastic cocktails, the pool is SUCH a vibe, the decor throughout is really cute – especially the bubblegum pink library that garners a lot of attention on social media. The staff is really friendly – they gave excellent customer service, the restaurant on site (called Strawberry Moon) was really good too.

The Con’s, however, outweighed the Pro’s for me. No real breakfast on site (only a grab & go cafe), no direct beach access (walk two blocks over), the rooms were TINY without balconies. This means: we were stepping all over each other, there’s no real place to hang your wet swimsuits and coverups, and the room quickly starts to smell like chlorine from draping it all wherever you can find a decent spot. While I appreciate the aesthetics of minimalist decor, the sinks left no space to do hair and makeup, and overall I just did not find the rooms to be comfortable. They tried to squeeze in more guestrooms for profit, when they definitely should have had less rooms with larger square footage. The hotel we were supposed to stay at in Mexico not only has a huge balcony with loungers & a jaccuzzi, but it also boasts double sinks in the bathrooms, a dedicated place for your luggage, a closet to hang your clothes in, and a sitting area. When we were literally supposed to be there instead, it was hard not to compare.

The worst “Con” for me (and any other content creator or travel geek) – NO CAMERAS ALLOWED. You read that correctly. Phones only. The second I tried to take my first photo I got stopped by staff. I’m a blogger and I literally chose this hotel to Instagram it so I marched down to the front desk and asked for the contact info of someone in PR. I promptly got in touch, gave them my IG handle (probably the first time I’ve ever been grateful for that blue check status) and complained that I would not be posting iPhone photos to my feed because it would stick out like a sore thumb. “We’re just very brand conscious” – she says. So, wouldn’t that mean there’s an appreciation for better quality shots!? It made no sense to me and I could not believe I was having this debate 45 minutes after arriving on my vacation. I was even told that the “fee to have a photoshoot here” ranged from $12,000 to $15,000. I reiterated that I was not trying to have some fancy scheduled photoshoot but that I was simply trying to document my trip. I didn’t have lights, a tripod, or any distracting equipment – just my camera. She spoke to the powers that be, and within 2 hours I was granted permission to use my camera throughout the property. I have no idea what kind of message she sent out to the staff about who I was, but I will say that I never (not once!) was approached again. By a single staff member. The issue was squashed. As I mentioned before, the customer service was fantastic and even despite that whole debacle, I will say the PR person made it happen for me and also took the time to check up on me via text the next day. I appreciated that, but for anyone hoping to document their stay on anything other than an iPhone… think twice before you choose this “brand conscious” property. That was absolutely ridiculous and over the top.

As far as what we did and where we went, we spent each day lounging by the pool after a morning stroll to Starbucks – sometimes ordering lunch to nosh on right there poolside, and other times heading out mid day for a change of scene. We had a very rainy first day, followed by really nice weather a majority of the time thereafter. We did one formal sit-down breakfast at Limonada, just a short walk from the hotel, and while the food was medicre, the vibes were absolutely vibing. I loved all the decor both inside and out on their back patio, which has a plunge pool that is probably more for aesthetics than anything! And yes, I did have a drink at 9am this day. When we didn’t have lunch at the pool, we went to a few different spots – Serena, a rooftop with some coverage which was great when it rained, and Puerto Sagua – an old school super authentic Cuban diner where I had the legit best arroz con pollo I’ve ever had in my life. It’s made from scratch and comes in a hot carafe so it requires 45 minutes for preparation and let me tell you… WORTH IT. We walked over to the beach a few times and stuck our feet in the ocean, but we never actually spent time laying over there. Honestly we probably wouldn’t have anyway because Stephen is more of a pool guy (and in my middle-age I think I’m starting to become more of a pool gal, too…) but I will say, if our hotel had the direct beach access we might have indulged a bit more.

For dinners, I was VERY pleased with our selections. We joked that it was the “Miami Asian Food Tour” because 3 out of 4 of the restaurants we chose were Asian… but there are certain “scenester” spots that are really hard to get into in NYC and their Miami locations during the low season were a piece of cake to get a reservation at, so we pulled the trigger. Night 1 was COTE Korean Steakhouse and was probably some of the best steak I’ve had in a very long time. We’ve tried numerous times to get a reservation in NYC to no avail so this was very exciting for us. Night 2 was Strawberry Moon, the hotel’s restaurant. Another knock on the hotel is that it was closed for renovations literally the entire time we stayed, but at least they opened the patio for dinner service only, so we were able to actually try it. The food was fantastic. Loved it. It’s Mediterranean and my favorite was the spicy feta dip. Their signature “Purple Reign” cocktail is pictured below and is as tasty as it was pretty! After dinner we walked the strip and found a touristy Hookah bar to indulge at, reliving a version of our Honeymoon in Istanbul and/or many nights living in Brooklyn. Smoking Hookah is definitely not an activity that we frequent when we’re home with little kids, so this was fun! Night 3 we went to Komodo – once again, this Pan-Asian restaurant is a scenestser spot that’s supposed to have a lounge open on Wednesdays, but it was closed in the low season so our Wednesday late night reservation was unfortunately not necessary. If I had more time to plan this trip, I would have for sure found all of these minor inconveniences before arriving, but c’est la vie. In lieu of the Komodo lounge, we walked off our Wagyu dumplings in Brickell and wound up at Sugar – a rooftop lounge at the East hotel. I actually LOVED the East hotel, and would strongly consider staying there next time I travel to Florida. It’s not on the Strip, but it’s a whole vibe and like I said… I’m turning into more of a Pool Gal these days anyway! Sugar was packed to the brim, and really gave off that Tulum feel, with lots of tropical greenery and rattan furniture amidst unparalleled views of the Miami skyline. Bonus points for a delicious margarita. Our last dinner was a staple – Mr. Chow! We’ve been several times both in Miami and in NYC. It’s one of my all time favorite Chinese restaurants, and I am always happy to eat there. We walked 20 blocks back to The Goodtime, talking and stopping in cheesy gift shops along the way trying to find some souvenirs for the girls before packing up and heading home!

All in all, it was a great getaway where we spent quality time together and enjoyed delicious food and the sweet, sweet silence of being without our darling children. I would not recommend staying at The Goodtime, however, I will say that it did deliver a good time. Stay elsewhere and head over to their pool with a day pass to take some (iPhone!) pics for the gram. I am hoping Stephen and I can get to Mexico sometime within the year, and when we finally do, it will feel like the best reward. All things considered, I am grateful for the opportunity to have had a kid free vacation and I truly feel that it’s necessary every once in a while to recharge our batteries and remember what it feels like to have a little less responsibility. Below you’ll find my “Scrapbook” – a collection of photos that documents the accommodations, my outfits, and the events of our trip! Don’t forget to keep up with our family on Instagram – and DM me your favorite spots in Miami for next time!

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