By Dwight Brown, NNPA News Wire Travel Writer
Don’t let the youngsters have all the fun. Miami is brimming over with restaurants, hotels, tours, historic neighborhoods, spas and hotels that beckon grownups. Grab your sunglasses, swimsuits and sense of adventure and take an adult getaway vacation to America’s favorite beach town.
South Beach Beckons
The Washington Avenue Area is two blocks off the water and south of 13th Street. It has new hotels, burgeoning restaurants and plenty of people watching. It’s easy walking distance to the beach, nightclubs, the Lincoln Road Mall, the Wolfsonian–FIU Museum… Especially if you anchor yourself at the friendly, newly renovated 132-room Kimpton Angler’s Hotel. Take your pick: studios, lofts, suites, villas and spa villas. Or try a three-story poolside, rooftop bungalow with its own sundeck. Swim and splash in a pool atop the main building or the ground-level adults-only Mermaid pool. Dine at Seawell Fish N’ Oyster, order in-room spa treatments like the Girls Trip Body Therapy, Facial & Massage or The Grounded Gentleman’s Body Massage, Hands & Feet Journey. Sometimes the hotel’s atmosphere is festive, like it was during the Afro Disco retreat for Ron Carroll’s 50th Birthday Celebration. Other times it’s quietly sublime. Just go with the vibe and enjoy.
Española Way is a café-lined, pedestrian-only street between 15th and 14th Streets that runs from Washington Ave. to Drexel Ave. It’s a Mediterranean style promenade with a Euro/Latino feel. The cobblestone walkway with its multitude of cafés and boutique hotels is filled with tourists and locals, particularly as the sun goes down. A party atmosphere prevails, outdoor musicians serenade and Italian, Cuban and other cuisines are offered in a section reminiscent of Greenwich Village’s bustling MacDougal Street back in the day. For tasty Roman cuisine, pull up a chair at the Hosteria Romana restaurant. Start with the delectable Prosciutto Taliato a Mano (hand carved 24-month aged Prosciutto with Parmesan Cheese) then go for the Homemade Fettuccini with Porcini Mushroom Sauce entrée.
The place to stay is the quaint, intimate El Paseo Hotel, an oasis within an oasis. Request a suite right above all the restaurants and the din of noise from happy eaters will lull you to sleep at night. The hotel offers 15% discount cards for local eateries, three bottles of water, beach towels, a fridge, yoga classes and you’ll get two free lounge chairs at the beach near 14th Street. The very attentive staff makes you feel at home every time you walk in the door.
Sunset Harbour is a largely residential neighborhood that faces Biscayne Bay. It offers travelers a very sophisticated experience compared to the tourist areas. This is where you can put on your classy leisure wear and have dinner among adults. Tequiztlán Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar serves the freshest tasting corn tacos (try the Chorizos) and excellent Enchiladas Suizas. Next door, Thai street fare cuisine is the main attraction at NaiYaRa Thai & Sushi Miami. Just around the corner through a walkway, the iconic Icebox Cafe is famed for its creative brunch menu (try the Eggbox combination). Then down the street, The Fresh Market, Miami’s equivalent to the upscale Wegmans grocery store, is known for its prepared foods and wine. Get a roasted chicken to go or dine at an outside table for a tasty, economical dinner. Yachts dock in tony Sunset Harbour for a reason.
Historic Overtown—Miami’s Harlem—Brims with Culture
The Copper Door B&B is the place to book for cozy days and nights. This award-winning, 22-room bed & breakfast was once a 1940s hotel. Run by Jamila Ross and Akino West, their warm presence and hospitality is felt in every corner. West is a magnificent gourmet chef who makes a sumptuous breakfast and lunch from 9am-3pm at their new pop-up eatery turned permanent neighborhood fixture Rosie’s. This will be the finest brunch you’ll eat on your entire trip. Especially if you order their new signature dish: Wild Mushroom Polenta (seared mushroom above creamy Southern polenta, topped with a poached egg & herb gremolata). Wash it down with a Chilled Jamaica (ice cold hibiscus tea). Wow!!
Red Rooster Overtown is the proud new southeast counterpart to Chef Marcus Samuelson’s iconic Harlem restaurant. Savory food with a certain panache is served by staff who live in the community. The restaurant buys its supplies from local purveyors, exhibits the works of neighborhood artists and showcases musicians. Expect an elegant meal of equal parts soul, Caribbean and Ethiopian. Start with Samuelson’s Deviled Eggs with chicharron, caviar and mustard. Then go big with the Yassa Ribeye Steak or the dramatic-looking Fire Roasted Wagyu Oxtail, served whole. Sides should include the Jerk Sweet Potato, Succotash and Mac & Cheese. For dessert, Viking of the Keys Key Lime Curd is the answer. The indoor and outdoor bar areas and tables are places to eat, drink and be seen. Lil Greenhouse Grill started out as a food truck and blossomed into a family-style, healthy-choice neo-soul food restaurant run by Nicole Gates. She’s a former broadcasting legend and her business partner Karim Bryant is a former butcher. Expect Gates, a community activist, to welcome you at the door like family with her warmth and effervescent personality. Expect Bryant, who personally cuts the meats that are on the menu, to put prime-quality, mouth-watering Smoked BBQ Ribs on your plate that are slow smoked with his secret herbs and spices. The food is flavorsome, there’s a painting of Jimi Hendrix on a wall and the atmosphere so homey you’ll expect to see your cousins at the next table.
Tour Around Overtown and its Surrounds.
Historic Black Police Precinct Courthouse and Museum: Miami’s first black police precinct circa 1950. The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater: 400-seat black-owned theater circ 1913 (Overton’s Apollo). D.A. Dorsey House: 1915 home of Miami’s first Black millionaire/philanthropist Dana Albert Dorsey. Historic Hampton House: 1964 meeting place of Ali and Malcolm X renowned in One Night in Miami.
10 Vacations Tips that Make Miami Come Alive
1. Get pampered with a Glow Body Scrub and Deep Tissue Massage at Exhale Spa at the Loews Mami Beach Hotel. Then hang out poolside in a private, swank SOAK cabana.
2. Buy a Cuban Wedding shirt or fancy brim at Futurama 1637 Art Building in Little Havana.
3. Dine on Chicken Tortilla Salad at Malibu Farm Miami Beach Restaurant @ Eden Roc Hotel.
4. Pose with fantasy backgrounds and deceptively fun paintings at Museum of Illusions Miami.
5. Spend an evening at Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen in the trendy Wynwood artist district. Start with Jerk Ribs. End with Brown Butter Cake. Groove to old school and hip-hop DJ’d music.
6. Discover the visual beauty of Miami when you go on a Biscayne Bay Sunset & Full Moon Boat Cruise onboard a 45-catamaran with Miami EcoAdventures. As enlightening as it is romantic.
7. Feast on Creamy Polenta at Scarpetta by Scott Conant @ Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel.
8. Hone your tennis game at Cliff Drysdale Tennis – The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, which is
expertly run by Director Max Mangones and features 10, easy-on-the-knees Har-Tru courts.
9. Order delectable Linguine ai Frutti di Mare at Il Mulino New York – Miami @ Acqualina Resort.
10. Take a quieter vacation. Stay in mid-Miami Beach. Escape the bustling crowds, get apartment-sized accommodations and free on-street parking at economical prices at the Waterside Hotel at 6700 Harding Avenue. Perfect for anyone who wants a bit of serenity on their grownup vacation.
Visit NNPA News Wire Travel Writer Dwight Brown at DwightBrownInk.com and BlackPressUSA.com.