Tag Archives: Florida

A Quickie in South Beach, Miami

25 Aug

With four days to celebrate our 10-year anniversary, we left the autumn leaves of New England behind and hopped a plane to South Beach.

From our first mojito, Scott and I knew we picked the perfect kid-free getaway.

These are some of our favorite spots:

Stay: The Hotel of South Beach

Todd Oldham’s geometrical patterns and sea-foam palate were everywhere in this art deco, boutique hotel. Just a block off of busy Ocean Drive, the location was perfect. If we wanted to escape the Miami Beach crowds we went up the elevator to the secluded roof-top pool and Spire Bar. (Even if you don’t stay at The Hotel, its restaurant, Wish, is worth a visit for the romantic atmosphere and great food.)

From our rooftop pool at The Hotel

 

Get Pampered: The Spa at the Shore Club

In an attempt to live the celebrity lifestyle, we decided to treat ourselves to the spa at the Shore Club, one of Miami Beach’s swankiest hotels. After a full body scrub and hydrating treatment (me) and a 90-minute massage (Scott), we relaxed on the spa balcony overlooking the palm trees and waves below.

Post-spa treatment at the Shore Club.

 

Explore: Posh hotel lobbies

The hottest hotels in South Beach may have untouchable room rates and bouncers guarding the pools, but the lobbies are open, free, and offer views of art and architecture to rival some of the world’s best museums. Don’t miss a walk through lobbies at The DelanoShore Club, The Tides, and the Sagamore.

The lobby of The Delano hotel.

 

Drink: Love Hate Lounge

Operated by the same guys who own Miami Ink, the Love Hate Lounge feels more like a local bar then a place to be seen. You can dance, you can drink, and there was no cover or intimidating velvet rope.

Eat Dinner: Nemo

No one has to walk the sidewalk in front of this restaurant to talk patrons in off the street–a common occurrence in South Beach. We got a table by the hammered copper bar in this crowded eatery located in the stylish South of Fifth Street (SoFi) district. Perfectly cooked sea bass, lobster hash browns, and warm ocean breezes made for a memorable 10th anniversary dinner.

Blizzard Beach vs. Typhoon Lagoon: If You Have to Choose

31 Jul

Last year, my family was lucky enough to enjoy an extended stay at Walt Disney World Resort, allowing enough time to visit Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, the two waterparks on Disney property in Orlando.

Both were great and provided a nice break from the major parks, but each had some distinct advantages:

Best thrill ride: Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach

I tried to beg off this ride, claiming picture-taking duties, but my kids (ages 9 and 12) wouldn’t hear it. So down I went on this very high (120 feet), very fast (60 mph), and super-wedgie inducing free-fall body slide. It was awesome.

Best pool: The Surf Pool at Typhoon Lagoon

This giant pool alternates between bobbing waves and a giant 6-foot kowabunga wave that is announced by a conch-shell whistle (followed by excited shrieks from the swimmers). The kids played for hours in the pool while we enjoyed a few Coronas on the “beach.” What’s better than that?

Best theme: Melting Ski Resort, Blizzard Beach  

Disney is all about theming, and Blizzard Beach is one of its best concoctions. The premise is that a ski resort was built up during a freak Florida blizzard and is now melting away. Mount Gushmore, a Chair Lift , Toboggan Racers, and a “Warming Hut” all play off the theme. It’s a nice chilly mind-play in the hot southern sun.

Best attraction: The Shark Reef at Typhoon Lagoon

The sharks may be small, but the cool factor is big. After quick instructions, visitors snorkel across a frosty, salt-water pool while getting a peek at tropical fish, sting rays, and, yes, leopard sharks. It’s great for major bragging rights when you return home.

Best for little ones: Blizzard Beach

Tike’s Peak (under 48 in) and Ski Patrol Training Camp (under 60 in) allow kids to splash, play, slide, and even zip line under the very watchful eyes of the Disney lifeguards. For the little ones, Blizzard Beach’s low-key wave pool (Melt-Away Bay) is also far better than its roiling counterpart at Typhoon Lagoon.

Shorter lines: Typhoon Lagoon

Blizzard Beach is newer, has a killer theme, and, with Summit Plummet as a huge draw, tends to have longer lines. Disney tries to keep you cool as you wait, but it’s Florida, and it’s hot, and crankiness can rear its ugly head after waiting 30 minutes for a 30 second slide. The lines at Typhoon Lagoon are shorter, in my experience, and the vibe is a little more laid back.

If you have to choose: Typhoon Lagoon

Both parks are amazing, but in my opinion the wave pool, snorkeling with sharks, a new Crush ‘n Gusher water coaster, and an overall more relaxed atmosphere has Typhoon Lagoon winning out.

Whichever you choose, arrive early, hit the big-draw attractions first, and make sure to leave some time to float around on the lazy rivers at each park.

It may be Walt Disney World, but you deserve a little downtime to float and relax at the happiest place on earth.