I’ve been trying to post this for a few days but due to a weak Internet connection I haven’t been able to so I’m not actually in Miami!
So we are in Miami now and staying here for 5 nights, fly out Monday. I’ve still got the hire car and using that to get around.
We are staying in the Townhouse. 150 20th Street, Miami Beach. Great location, 3 minute walk to Miami Beach, 1.5 miles to South Beach, around corner from Lincoln Road (popular expensive shopping district). One of the more expensive hotels at £70 per night, but all hotels are pricey here. The hotel only has a valet car park which said on the website was $25 a day but is actually $34, so ill be having words with the manager about that! There are public car parks around within walking distance but I decided to use the hotel one for convenience with Faye. The hotel is clean but has gone for the minimal look. The wifi is supposed to work in the room but doesn’t, we have to come down to reception to use it. It has a rooftop sunbathing area but no pool which is slightly disappointing and not much fun for Faye. The breakfast is toast, apples and boiled eggs – thats Parisian apparently. The hotel has been nice but I would try another if I was to come again. It can be slightly noisy when people come in at the early hours of the morning from the bars and clubs. There are hotels after hotels along this strip (Collins Ave) and they all back onto Miami Beach or South Beach so it’s a great location. Alternatively you can stay in Miami which may be slightly cheaper but you would have to drive to the beach everyday.
Driving in Miami made me nervous! It may be as I’d just come from the Keys where there’s only one road and everyone drives at 50mph to take in the scenery, but here it’s quite the opposite. In a 45mph zone I was travelling along at 50mph and everyone else, including the Police cars whizzed past at around 70mph. I’ve tried to adhere to speed limits as the last thing I want is a speeding fine, but no one else seems bothered about that.
It was slightly pointless keeping the car for Miami as it didn’t really get used and we could of instead used public transport and taxis. As I was paying to keep the car parked as well the cost of the hire, it ended up being quite a waste of money.
In terms of activities in Miami, I got upset in the first few days as I felt I wasn’t seeing anything or doing anything. I am normally the one who only ever wants to lie around the pool on holiday but on this trip I want to make the most of every place I visit – I don’t quite know what’s happened to me! My Dad would probably say I’m getting older and starting to appreciate the scenery – who knows! Anyway I don’t think there is actually that much to do and see here, all the tour companies take you to the Everglades or the Keys which we had already done. We did the beaches, Miami Beach/South Beach and wandered down Lincoln Road and Collins Ave. The hotel manager recommended a bus and boat tour from the Half Price Bus Tours company. We paid $60 per person and got collected from our hotel, taken to the main bus office and it went from there. It lasted 4 and a half hours long and we made stops along the bus route where the driver got us off and showed us around which was nice. The boat tour was a slight let down as it was just an hours boat ride and no information was really given. What we were shown was ‘Millionaire’s Row’ where all the rich and famous live. We were shown Will Smith’s house, Jennifer Lopez, Robert DeNiro’s and many more, which was nice, but not particularly educational. The trip was a good day out and nice to see other parts of Miami such as Coral Gables and Little Havana. However, our hotel actually charged us MORE than if we got the tickets elsewhere which was a real disappointment as I don’t feel a hotel I’m paying to stay at should be trying to make yet more money out of me.
A good spot for children is the Venetian Pool, which is a public fresh pool open to the public for $12 per person. The water is always ‘cool’ here as it is emptied and refilled every Monday. Makes a good alternative to the beach as its pretty windy in Miami and the waves can be rough.
We had a great time for 4th July, we spent the afternoon and evening on South Beach for a big celebration with fireworks. Although just as the last firework went off a huge rain storm broke and we had a miles walk back to the hotel and were still in our swimsuits so we packed the buggy and sprinted the whole way and arrived back to the hotel soaked through!
Overall in Miami we’ve had a great time and its been nice to have a quiet few days. I would not return again for a family vacation. It’s a great city, but seems more young and hip with big nightlife plus we really didn’t see any other children!