The full Miami experience in a weekend. Ambitious? Yes, but this group of 5 girlfriends was determined to make it happen for our best friend’s birthday!
I’m a planner so having an itinerary guideline to help make the most out of our time was a must! We arrived Friday morning at 9:45am and had pre-arranged car service for a speedy arrival to our hotel. Quick wardrobe change, dropped off our luggage and made our way to our lunch reservation.
Lunch at Nikki Beach
Tell only your best friends. Nikki Beach, located in South Beach, is a super cute beach club perfect to relax during the day or party at dusk. This place was recommended by a friend and is literally picture perfect. We had a delicious 3 course lunch which included a heavenly espresso tiramisu dessert topped with a pistachio cream, yum! We took some pictures while jamming to the tunes of their house DJ and then spent some time relaxing on the beach. It was the perfect way to begin our Miami adventures!
Where to Stay
We stayed at the W Miami in the Brickell District. I completely recommend it! Not only is it in the beautiful Brickell district of Miami and a short fifteen to twenty drive to the Miami Beach area, it also has 5-star customer service. I had reached out to their concierge to help me set up a surprise for the birthday girl on behalf of her boyfriend (cue all the aw’s) and she was so easy and pleasant to work with, thank-you Amanda!! It was so perfect. We walked in to bottles of bubbly, the cutest balloon arrangement, the coolest W swag, a beautiful modern suite with a bathroom bigger than my bedroom, a Nespresso machine and so much more! We hooked up the Bluetooth speaker and began the party in our suite. We continued the fun on the 15th floor Pool deck, which had the most amazing views! Their entire W hotel staff was wonderful and we’d definitely stay here again on another visit.
Dinner at Mandrake
We arrived at Mandrake Miami where we were received with welcome shots, I mean if that’s not a warm welcome I don’t know what is?! Lol. What a place. It feels so magical in there! The cherry blossoms hanging from the ceilings, the dimmed pink lighting, the secret restroom (literally, there’s no door you just push into the wall), the giant rhino head on the wall across the most glamorous chandelier. So much fun! We shared some delicious appetizers and I had the Mandrake sushi roll as my entree which was divine. Just as we were relaxing into our food comas, a group of servers who were just missing Darth Vader masks, came out with giant multicolored light sabers, a chocolate dessert with an explosion of sparklers and danced to the rhythm of the DJ around the birthday girl. It was amazing! Perfect start to the night.
The night was young and we were determined to get the full Miami nightlife experience… well maybe not all of it haha.
Our first stop of the night was in the Wynwood district which is a popular nightlife destination for locals and tourists alike. If you’ve ever been to Tulum you will find that the creators of Proyecto Tulum have done a phenomenal job of bringing the true Tulum experience to Miami. They call it a sacred space and it is truly that. The electronic beats, the mezcal mixology and the rugs hosting cozy sitting areas make for a super chill vibe type of night. This is an outdoor venue so be prepared to be comfortably hot depending on the time of the year you visit.
We made our way back to the Brickell area to Blue Martini. This trendy lounge style bar is a bit more upscale but just as fun. As you’ll find out quickly, most night clubs in Miami will charge a cover usually starting at around $20 for women and a bit higher for men so be prepared. This place was so much fun! It really gave us a feel of the Miami cultural diversity. Great music, dancers at the bar, and reasonable bottle service prices.
I’m all about the chic decor and over the top entertainment but we couldn’t end the night without stopping at a Latin nightclub… I mean we were in Miami! Also located in the Brickell area, this place was recommended by a friend who used to live in Miami and it was everything I expected. It was obvious this was a popular spot, as we walked in and could barely walk through the dance floor, but once we found our little area to dance in we didn’t stop. If you’re looking for the local Latino experience then TuCandela is the place to go.
Coffee at Sette Cafe
Saturday morning I woke up with all the intentions to go for a run or the gym, until I got up out of bed and realized how unbelievably sore my legs were from all the dancing! Instead, based on a unanimous decision among the five of us, we went over to the cutest little coffee shop, Sette Cafe . We had brunch reservations a few hours later so we stuck to coffee…and a light breakfast…and some juice, but who’s counting calories when you’re on vacation, am I right?
Talk about nautical chic, Seaspice Miami is the perfect waterfront spot for brunch! We started with literally the best oysters I’ve ever had in my life. I ordered the three course Miami Spice menu consisting of a fresh salad, shrimp avocado toast, and a chocolate mousse dessert that was to die for. We went on a Saturday afternoon because we flew out Sunday but I hear their Sunday brunch parties are like none other!
La Mar Miami
Following some much needed time at South Beach we returned to the hotel to get ready for “Noche en Miami #2”. We had reservations at La Mar by Gaston Acurio, one of the best Peruvian restaurants in Miami. If you’ve never had Peruvian food, you can thank me later. Located inside the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, from the moment we walked in to the live salsa band, to the moment when delicious dessert came out, this was one dining experience to remember. I started with a Piscojito and my firends with the traditional Pisco Sour. For appetizers we had the cebiche sampler which was a delicious explosion of favors; snapper, fluke, octopus, calamari, all in a tangy leche de tigre, a perfect start to our meal. For my entree I had the Branzino Chifa, a European sea bass steamed to perfection served on a bed of veggies and chaufa rice. It was so light and flaky that although I was more than satisfied, I didn’t feel guilty after eating it all (you know what I mean). All five of us had different entrees that looked entirely different but just as delicious so I highly encourage grabbing a bite off your neighbor’s plate ;).
To add to our already amazing experience, we had the Peruvian Chocolate Exploration and the Maiz Morado desserts sent out as a surprise from one of our friend’s sweet boyfriend. I mean, how do you say no to surprise dessert?! Such creativity in every dish, such a great ambiance and service, this is a must if you’re in Miami.
We came, we saw, we took over for a weekend! You don’t have to spend a long time in a place to really get a feel for the culture and lifestyle, you just need to plan carefully and go with the right people :). I LOVE these girls and am so thankful for the memories they helped create during this trip. It is definitely one for the books and I can’t wait to visit Miami again!
P.S. Planning for Playa del Carmen in a few months!