Stories for: Miami

Hair, Hotels, Miami, TravelSummer’s Last Hurrah: James Royal Palm Miami

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As soon as I sauntered into the James Royal Palm on South Beach, I felt like I was transported back to 1963, where I might turn a corner and run into Don Draper on assignment. Everything from the coffee bar in the lobby to the green-on-wood entrance to the Florida Cookery restaurant screams retro chic. The beachfront location affords prime views and service, so instead of running to the action, it comes to you. This 1939 Art Deco classic recently underwent a top to bottom renovation, preserving the original aesthetic with a modern sensibility.

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The original green-glass reception desk has been perfectly preserved and restored, and now serves as the coffee bar while art installations throughout the hotel are a nod to Miami’s famous modern art scene and deserve a double take when passing through the halls. Dapper gentlemen and ladies at the front desk direct guests to its 393 guest rooms and suites  My go-to source for happening hotels, Conde Nast Traveler, has taken notice of its gorgeous makeover and featured the James Royal Palm on its 2013 Hot Hotels List! Speaking of hot, the hotel’s club SL draws the beautiful young Miami crowd in with its earth-shaking sound system, so guests need not worry about traveling to find the action or bump elbows with a few celebs. READ MORE

Miami, Spas & Salons, TravelUhma Spa

No vacation should be complete without some pampering, so when I decided to hit up South Beach, I immediately booked an appointment (thanks to a recommendation by The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau) at  Uhma Spa, just a few blocks from my hotel.   Uhma is located a few streets off of Collins Ave., on a low-key and local-feeling area – much unlike the flashy hotel-laden strip where I was staying.  Marco and Deborah Almeida, the owners of Uhma, chose this particular area when they passed it walking home one day and discovered that the location felt just right.

What differentiates Uhma from your standard upscale spa is it’s strong environmental focus and subsequently, it’s unique menu of green services.  Practically everything in the spa and store are 100% natural and organic.  The walls and furniture are made from sustainable wood, the paint is VOC free (non-environmentally damaging) and even the cleaning products are biodegradable.   Each treatment room is equipped with a special ambient lighting that mimics natural sunlight. The Almeidas’ commitment to sharing their green lifestyle is apparent in every single detail. READ MORE

Hair, Miami, Spas & SalonsA Cut Above

TDO Editor Kathleen enjoyed the new Culter on New York’s 57th St. so much that I decided I had to experience the Miami outpost myself when I was down there last month for vacation.  Luckily for me, Culter Miami is located in the same building as the Gansevoort South where I was staying, and my Girl’s Getaway package included two free blowouts!  Since I was there for the weekend, that meant one blow out per day!

On Saturday, I walked in after a day of shopping and before dinner to get a round brush blowout and was greeted by some of the friendliest staff I’ve ever encountered in a salon.   I was helped right away by Heather and experienced a very enjoyable blowout.  Unlike some stylists in New York, there was no pretentiousness whatsoever, and I spent an enjoyable hour getting my hair done and talking about boys. I felt like I was back in high school (in a good way) and getting my hair done by my best friend – except Heather  actually knew what she was doing.  At the end of the service, she  gave me her email and MySpace account; how often does that happen within an hour of meeting a stranger? READ MORE

Dining & Nightlife, MiamiLime Fresh Mexican Grill

One thing about traveling is that you don’t always have time to sit down for a fancy meal.  This was the case my last day in Miami where I just wanted to eat something fast, fresh and cheap before I headed to the airport.  Lucky for me, Florida is the home of Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, which serves up all the convenience of your neighborhood Chiptole, but with so much more variety, sass and flavor.

Living in New York means that I experience a serious dearth of good Mexican food and was more than happy to try the lively food at Lime Fresh.  The South Beach location was absolutely packed that Sunday at noon, but I did find a table in the outdoor seating area and started with the frozen sangria.  Though I don’t usually start my drinking so early in the day, this sangria slurpy was so tasty and incredibly refreshing, especially when coupled with the food. Unlike a lot of fast and casual eats, Lime Fresh actually serves a full menu complete with appetizers, entrees, sides and dessert, so I ordered off of each section and soon had more food than I could possibly eat.  (To be fair, I was also dining with two other girls.)  One really memorable item was their hot salsa – the really hot one (It’s yellow.  Lime Fresh impressivley has over 70 hot sauces, but of course, I went for the hottest one).  I am a seasoned spicy food eater, preferring to put hot sauce on everything, so when the server warned me that this was ridiculously spicy I sort of just smiled and told her that I could handle it.  Well, my eyes started tearing up when I put just a drop of that in my mouth, but I could not stop eating it because it was so good!  I put it all over my food, making conversation very awkward with my lunchmates as I was crying the entire time – but I’m telling you, it was worth every tear. READ MORE

Dining & Nightlife, MiamiIn BED But Not Sleeping

I’ve always wanted to visit BED after I saw it featured on Sex and the City, but sadly the New York hot spot closed after an accident involving some of its patrons more than a year ago. Though I never made it to the original establishment that aired on the show, I did make a point to check out its sister, the recently renovated BED Miami, which I was pleased to discover is alive and well. READ MORE

Dining & Nightlife, Hotels, Miami, TravelGansevoort South

I am a huge fan of Miami (especially South Beach, where I am currently writing from). It has all the luxury, trend and glamour of New York without any of the high stress, or as it is currently winter, cold weather.  So when my girlfriends and I decided to relax after a week long hiking adventure in Peru, Miami seemed like the most obvious choice.   But when I logged onto the usual suspects to book a hotel, I quickly became overwhelmed with all the choices this city offers.   We wanted something decadant, but the streets here are lined with boutique hotel after boutique hotel and I had no idea where to start.  I did not want to end up at a “Insert 5 star sounding name” hotel that actually turns out to be a 2-star (and trust me, there are a lot of those here).  So I went with a name that all New Yorkers know well, Hotel Gansevoort, which opened its  Miami outpost earlier this year.

The Gansevoort South is a breathtaking oceanfront luxury resort that features 334 huge guest rooms (averaging over 730sq ft each), 3 pools, and some of the hottest names in services and dining. Forget about your average hotel gym, The Gansevoort South hosts the 45,000 sq ft flagship David Barton Gym + Spa, which I was actually inspired to check out while on vacation.  Just being in the club like space alone makes you feel beautiful and energetic, but if you need any extra motivation, the gym’s full range of services including personal training and classes are available to hotel guests. READ MORE

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