When my parents told me they planned to spend two months during this past winter in Miami, I was very excited to visit them and decided to bring one of my best girlfriends along. (A winter jaunt to Miami is ALWAYS a good idea – and an even better idea given the winter we were amid.)
Their condo in the heart of Coral Gables, just off Miracle Mile, was a perfect home base from which to explore the city. Here’s how we spent one fabulous day in Miami:
Morning: A visit to the iconic, historic and uber luxurious Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables is a must. Opened in 1926, the Biltmore Hotel has a storied history that includes alligator wrestling and synchronized swimming performances in the 20s and 30s, transformation into a large hospital, dubbed the Army Air Forces Regional Hospital, during World War II and of course acting as the “home away from home” for guests such as Bing Crosby, Judy Garland and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
Stroll the grounds, admire the New Zealand finches that frolic amidst mahogany birdcages in the grand lobby and take a glimpse at the “largest hotel pool in the continental U.S.” – at 22,000 square feet and holding 600,000 gallons of water it really is spectacular.
Non-guests are welcome in the hotel’s dining establishments – including the formal and luxurious Palme d’Or, a recipient of the acclaimed AAA Five Diamond Award and the less formal but incredibly elegant Fontana.
Afternoon: Spend a few hours exploring Key Biscayne’s Crandon Beach, a Miami beach that is a far cry from the stereotypical “Miami Beach.” The pristine surroundings include dunes, mangroves and seagrass beds.
Take a walk on the beach and spot beautiful birds, just watch your feet – you may find yourself dodging beached man-of-war jellyfish!
Evening: Visit the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, located in a gorgeous part of Coral Gables. (Read: keep your eyes while en route to the garden – you’ll pass some stunning, perfectly groomed estates!)
We were lucky enough to visit at a time when artist Dale Chihuly’s “Chihuly at Fairchild” exhibit was on display. His largest and most comprehensive exhibit to date, breathtaking glass sculptures adorned Fairchild’s 83 acres. As beautiful as the botanical garden is during the day, it’s even more spectacular at night. (Tip: arrive just before sundown to view the grounds in both day and night.)
Have you traveled to Miami recently? I’d love to hear how you’d recommend spending the day!