All North America

Sand & Sunshine: 2 days in Miami

IMG_9265Okay, probably the best perk to being a flight attendant is the travel benefits – my airline allows its employees to fly for free anywhere domestically, and if we’re headed somewhere internationally, we only pay a small tax which varies based on country (e.g., it would cost $31 to fly roundtrip to China.)

The other fun part to our travel benefits is the fact that, if there’s room in first or business class, we’ll get assigned a seat there instead of coach – at no extra cost. So, that $31 roundtrip fare to China I mentioned earlier? Yup, that’s for first class. It’s pretty incredible!

A few weeks ago, my roommates and I were all scheduled for two days off in the middle of the week. While we could’ve stayed in Philadelphia and worked on settling into our new apartment, we decided it’d be a lot more fun to take advantage of our travel perks and head somewhere fun for the night (after all, it was basically our Saturday.)

So the night before, we set to work researching our trip options. Where could we go that:

  • Had good weather
  • Was in close proximity to beaches
  • Would have bumpin’ nightlife despite it being a Tuesday
  • Was somewhere none of us had ever been before?

The answer seemed obvious: MIAMI. (Pitbull, where you at?!)

We booked the flights and the next morning, off we went for some Florida TLC!

IMG_9230Remember how I mentioned that our travel benefits could get us upgraded to a premium cabin for free?

Well, luckily for us, our flight had enough room that all three of us got bumped to business – and let me tell you about this business class experience.

The plane we were on was a Boeing 767, a widebody aircraft generally used for long-haul flights and therefore featuring upgraded amenities. This meant that business class was particularly bougie, complete with fully lie-flat seats.

I’d never traveled on fully lie-flat seats before, so let me tell you – this was a GAMECHANGER of a flight. The amount of space we had and the ability to kick back and relax on essentially an airplane bed on top of the premium cabin service and free meals/drinks was unbelievable.

IMG_9280We arrived in Miami around 2pm to a day oozing with sunshine and humidity, where we caught an airport shuttle into town.

Simply driving through Miami Beach gave me mega heart eyes – the pastel colors on the buildings mixed with the Art Deco architecture felt like we’d fallen straight into Catch Me If You Can, and the boutique hotels lining the block beside upscale shopping doused the place in beachy chic vibes.

Our shuttle took us down towards South Beach, where we hopped off and checked into our hotel – the fittingly-named Hotel Shelley!

IMG_9257Aside from the fact that the hotel bore my name and was purple (my favorite color), here are a few reasons we chose to stay at this particular accommodation:

  • Complimentary shuttles to/from MIA
  • Free drinks nightly from 7-8pm
  • Located right in the heart of South Beach, steps from the ocean
  • Quaint, boutique space
  • Affordable rates (always a plus!)

After dropping off our bags, it was straight to the beach!

IMG_9538What I love about Florida beaches is how much like vacation they feel. They’re all turquoise waters and white sands and striped umbrellas. Add a tropical drink into the mix with a splash of sun and you may as well have transported straight to paradise. (Plus, having lived in California the last six years, it’s nice simply being at a beach where you can venture into the water without needing a wetsuit.)

Miami Beach is just beautiful, and there was something so lovely about getting to go out and play in the waves for a little during our trip.

You would never have guessed it was the middle of the day on a Wednesday in May; pretty much every beach chair was filled, and the waves were full of people swimming, windsurfing, and jetskiing.

IMG_9490Hanging around the beach worked up an appetite, so we headed to Nikki Beach Miami for a quick bite. The place was stunning; think white chaises and fluffy daybeds and couples tucked away in corners while staff dressed in white doted on them with bottle service.

As it was the middle of the week, Nikki Beach was pretty low-key, though I can only imagine how wild it must get on the weekends. The dayclub features a restaurant, bar, shop, and private stretch of beach complete with chaises and umbrellas (as well as backdrops fit for a photoshoot…as in, an actual male model with cheekbones that could cut a diamond was there shooting the entire day we visited.)

The food, while pricey, was delicious – the service, subpar. The drinks were cheaper than I was expecting, but yummy (try the frose, or their famous mimosas!)IMG_9487

ACS_0081That night, it was time to check out Miami’s famous nightlife.

While some of the city’s more renowned clubs (i.e. LIV, Story) were closed, we checked out this place called Mr Jones, which was pretty fun. Here were our takeaways:

  • The space – Fairly small, with graffitied walls, masked dancers, and a grungy feel
  • The music – Just okay; Yo Gotti was supposed to perform but if he ended up there, we left before he came on
  • The crowd – Young and hip; seemed like an industry night
  • The cons – There wasn’t really a dance floor, so aside from the cramped space at your table, there was barely any room to do much of anything

Needless to say, I will have to come back into town soon so I can experience LIV or Story, and also so I can check out Miami’s iconic yacht parties!

IMG_9416The next day, a revival was in order, so we hit up the most adorable find called Under the Mango Tree for a caffeine fix. The place was a bright, sunny little coffee shop and juice bar, offering everything from acai bowls, to locally-brewed kombucha, to heavenly cinnamon vanilla iced lattes. Everything felt fresh and healthy, plus the shop itself was really cute (and the service was excellent!)

After that, we had just enough time to hit up the beach for a few hours before it was off to MIA to catch our flight back to Philly.

Overall, I loved Miami. I’d only ever been through the airport before this trip, so it was amazing to be able to get out and finally explore.

Miami Beach in particular is a stunning place; the ocean surrounding you on all sides and simply the color of the water makes you feel as if you’ve been transported to a tropical island – in other words, total vacation mode! Add to that the sheer energy of the town and it may as well be one constant party.

Fingers crossed I get a work trip there soon because I can’t wait to go back!

* * * * *

What’s your favorite spot in Miami? Send any and all recommendations for my next visit!

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