Flights to Florida have been CHEAP lately, so when I found a roundtrip deal for less than $100 per person, I knew it was time to introduce my husband to Miami. He’d never been before and was honestly a bit skeptical, but by the time we left he was already trying to iron out dates for our next visit.
We flew out late Friday night, and landed at Fort Lauderdale airport. Tip: Always search “and surrounding airports” when looking for Miami flights – the Lyft ride from FLL is about the same as from MIA.
Since we were landing after midnight, we just got a Hotwire room in the south Fort Lauderdale area so we wouldn’t have a long ride between us and a bed. We ended up at the Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach, which had a huge pool overlooking the Intracoastal waterway, and our room had a balcony overlooking all of that. We woke up to an intense downpour, however, so we just looked at the view while from under the awning.
My best friend Alma drove all the way from Florida’s west coast to come visit, and she immediately took us to the burgeoning Wynwood Arts District, where massive murals adorn nearly every wall. We waited for a brief break in the rain, and then hustled to the Wynwood Diner (or we tried to – there was so much great art I had to keep stopping to snap). There was even art on the sidewalks, like these giant koi nibbling at my feet:
And then there was an illuminati cat on the wall – how could I not stop?
Fortunately, the rain held through all our photo pauses, and we were dry upon arrival to Wynwood Diner. It was absolutely packed, with an hour wait, but Alma’s friends all recommended it highly so we found a spot in the lounge and started with brunch cocktails.
They were every bit as delicious as they looked, and my first time in Wynwood was off to a fantastic start.
We were seated well before the projected hour, and chose to order a variety to share and get a good taste for the menu (and also because we were having a hard time deciding between all the amazing-sounding options). First up: Their crab cake Benedict.
I ordered the churro waffle for my main course, and it was fantastic, as were the chicken and waffles. The atmosphere was great too – friendly servers, great people watching, and there was even a DJ spinning 90’s R&B. Basically, it was perfect. I highly recommend Wynwood Diner, even if the wait is long. Just put your name in and take in the giant open air museum that is now Wynwood.
Of course I had to get a picture in front of the ubiquitous “blogger wall” while I was there (#noshame).
The scale and variety of the murals makes just wandering around a great way to spend an afternoon. Unfortunately, the weather cut our time short, and we found ourselves running into a Warby Parker store to escape the sudden deluge.
Of course we took advantage of their ceiling photobooth.
We wandered a few neighborhood shops and indoor galleries next, and finally ended up playing ping pong at Marine Layer for almost half an hour. I’d never been in Miami on such a consistently rainy day before, but now I know that Wynwood is a great way to while away the hours if the beach is not calling.
We got caught in another sudden downpour on our way back to the car, so it was definitely time to head to our real hotel, the Confidante in Miami Beach. The moment I saw our view, I was in love. If I couldn’t be in the ocean, I wanted to see and hear it. Once we were in dry clothes, we sat down on the giant California king bed, and were all napping to the sounds of Miami rain before we knew it – the bed was just that inviting.
For dinner, we headed to another local recommendation: Bodega Taco. It has a casual, eat-in storefront, but there is a secret in the back. Walk through the blue port-a-potty door (yes, really) and you are suddenly in a dark, wood paneled, very Brooklyn bar.
The best time to go is during happy hour, which is every day from 6-8 pm. All the tacos are $2 each, and there are $4 beers and $6 specialty cocktails. The grilled mahi mahi and al pastor (pork with pineapple) tacos were my favorites. After we ate, we walked down the length of Lincoln Road back towards the beach. Lincoln is basically an open air mall, so we popped into stores that caught our eye, and that is where I fell in love with the Anya Hindmarch smiley bag.
I love that I have a husband that is not afraid to be a little silly sometimes, and even literally sweeps me off my feet 😉
We had a few drinks on South Beach, and then took a free ride back to the hotel in a Freebee, a completely free service that is something between a golf cart and a party bus. Riding down Collins with the music bumping and random people on the street dancing along was so much fun. We ended the night at the Saturday Late Night Noodles party at Talde. The music was great, and I would come back even if I wasn’t staying at the hotel – but it was great just to take the elevator back to our room once we were done. Score another point for the Confidante.
Another plus of the Confidante is its proximity to the Latin Cafe, just across the Intracoastal. We walked over for a traditional Cuban breakfast, and cafe con leche, of course.
Our room was made up in the hour we were gone and perfect for us again when we got back. This prompt service had me falling more and more in love with the Confidante. The gorgeous high ceilings, abundance of sun, and creative decor certainly didn’t hurt.
Everything felt considered, without an ounce of stuffiness.
We ended up spending more time in our room than expected, because it was so damn pleasant. The little touches made it even better, like the mod round clock that easily converted into a phone speaker, and let us fill the room with our music. That week’s Spotify Discover Weekly matched the vibe perfectly, and still takes us back to this happy, sun-filled room every time we hear the playlist.
The charms of the Confidante did not end at our room – indeed, I booked it for the separate adults-only pool (above) and direct access to a beautiful stretch of Miami Beach. We made it down to the pool for a bit on our second day, but the uncharacteristic wind kept us from lingering too long.
I need to go back to take advantage of this gorgeous beach.
For brunch, we headed to the oft-recommended Twenty Seven at Freehand Miami, which feels like a grown-up hostel.
While lovely to look at, the portions were very small for the price, and the flavors were basic at best. I’d recommend sticking to the fantastic cocktails and people watching the very international crowd at The Broken Shaker.
The siren song of our perfect hotel room drew us back to the Confidante, and we woke up from our post-drunch nap to a stormy sunset. Oh, did I mention we had views of Miami’s city skyline as well?
Our last night in Miami was something of a roller coaster – I got sick after eating something at Doraku on Lincoln Road (do NOT recommend!), and ended up having to come back early. When my stomach finally settled, we went back out for a low key night that included more tacos (this time at the casual Huahua Taqueria – very good) and drinks and darts at Abbey Brewing Co.
The next morning the sun finally decided to come out and stay, so we ate breakfast al fresco at Bird & Bone in our hotel. I highly recommend ordering a la carte from the menu instead of getting the continental breakfast buffet – it is definitely a better value.
Next we took advantage of the Confidante’s complimentary beach cruiser bicycles and rode along the boardwalk to South Beach.
The Art Deco architecture was in its full glory in the sun, and riding with crashing waves to our left and classic Miami on our right was a perfect way to spend our last morning.
By the time we made it to the southern end of the boardwalk, we were ready for some fresh juice (a vice we picked up in Europe), so I found the bright, airy Lilikoi on Yelp, and we biked over.
This smoothie hit the spot perfectly, and we cooled down for a bit before heading back.
I was honestly loathe to check out of the Confidante (I mean, this view!), but the knowledge that we *will* come back helped.
If it was this good with no beach time and about 20 windy minutes in a pool, how incredible will it be when the weather is its typical Miami heat? Honestly, I’d even happily come back on a rainy weekend. The Confidante has become our place, and I can’t wait til our next visit.