If you follow me on Instagram, by now you realize that the Boutons spent the last week on vacation in South Beach - Miami, Florida. More specifically at the Loews hotel, the family and pet friendly luxury hotel right on the corner of Collins Ave and Ocean Drive.
You’ve had a few questions - Why Miami, Why Loews, Where to eat, What to do?
Ok, I’ll break it down for you…
The truth is, I never would have picked Miami, FL to vacation. I’m a Disney girl at heart even though my first real trip wasn’t until I was 25 years old. Point is, I’m all about experiences so I would never think about Miami where I thought there was nothing more to do than people watch (which I do love doing but not the point).
But we ended up traveling to Miami 8 years ago for a quick get away weekend and because the Miami boat show was something my husband had always wanted to attend. Before kids, Chris was all about fast boats and I was all about fast cars and this was right after we had our first baby and we both had retired from racing so, I was looking to feed his need for speed at the show. Anyway… we were paying way too much money to stay in a hotel nearby the boat show that didn’t look a thing like the pictures online. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t take my shoes off in this room, let alone even think about sleeping in between the sheets. Oh. My. Gosh. It was THAT bad!
So we hopped in a cab (Uber wasn’t around then - which is just crazy to think because that feels like yesterday) and headed down to South Beach per the locals suggestion for a bite and to walk the boardwalk of the iconic Ocean Drive - You know… the one that had a starring role in the 1996 film ‘Birdcage’ with Robin Williams and the infamous 1983 film, ’Scarface’ starring Al Pacino.
As we perused the beach on one side and the luxury hotels on the other of the boardwalk, we fell in love. Not that kind of love - I’m not that cheesy although this weekend was a great way to rekindle the romance after a new baby BUT, I’m talking about the magnetic attraction we had to this one hotel. Which brings me to how we decided WHERE TO STAY…
We must have walked for an hour before eyeing the Loews hotel and it’s marvelous pool area cascaded with its picture perfectly placed palm trees. We decided to go in and ask if they had any availability. They only had a standard room but everything about this place was so beautiful, we took it even though we were passing up our jacuzzi suite at the last hotel. I will be honest and tell you, the price was about the same per night. However, the Loews standard room was 1000X nicer than the “other” suite and the entire rest of the hotel from the stunning decor, service, and many amenities was swoon worthy. I felt a bit out of my league which is exactly why I wanted to stay there - for the experience!
And that was the beginning of our (almost) yearly family vacations to Loews South Beach ever since. We have cheated on Loews one time and tried another rival hotel (Fontaine Bleau) and honestly, we liked it there a lot too, except… Loews just feels more family friendly and less stuffy.
Less stuffy like, although Loews is a luxury hotel, it’s totally acceptable to head on down to the lobby in the morning for a Starby’s (if you’re new around here, that is what I call Starbucks) run in my jammies without getting dirty looks from staff or others in line. The truth is, I’m over worrying about what others think of me after 36 years of putting everyone else’s opinions ahead of mine but I still wonder if it’s frowned upon and luckily, it’s not at the Loews! SCORE!
I mean, seriously, this is vacation and this multi-business owning mom of 4, almost 5 truly appreciates that less stuffy luxury!
Ok, so let’s talk about what to do and where to eat…..
WHAT TO DO?
Not much. Not because there isn’t much to do nearby. I will actually give you our top suggestions but my point is, enjoy the hotel and the surrounding area. You’re spending a good chunk of change to be there. Let your money be spent making memories by the pool, on the beach, playing games on the patio lawn or in the rec room, eating ice cream, renting bikes for a ride along the boardwalk, or walking the amazing shops and eateries along Ocean Drive or just two blocks one way at Lincoln Road Mall or two blocks the other way at Espanola Way. Seriously, this time around, we intentionally planned nothing so we could soak up each other instead of just experiences that I always loved so much. It’s funny how the older we get, the more wise we usually become to what truly matters.
And I haven't even mentioned yet that Loews has a kids club for ages 4-12 where you can leave your child for a half or full day of adventure as well as an evening session if you want a date night! (This is for an added price of course but very affordable compared to daycare service plus you can get food included)
Or that they have private cabanas that you can rent for extra sun protection but also a small indoor sitting/tv room, bathroom, shower and two outdoor seating areas for your party only complete with a personal concierge, wi-fi and other VIP amenities. (Also an additional cost but in our case with 4 young children it was wonderful to have as an option. They even brought us a crib for Lola to nap in so I didn't have to miss out on the fun with the rest of the family)
But if you’re itching to get out, Flamingo Park, the Miami Seaquarium, Jungle Island, Childrens Museum, Frost Science Center are local must-do’s with kids.
And now my second favorite part about why we love to travel…. the food!
WHERE TO EAT?
We are all about authentic local cuisine and if you are too, then you’ll want to hit a few of our favorite places for fresh seafood, homemade pasta and the finest cuts of beef.
Here are our top 3 places for each category mentioned:
Ok, just one more because we also love the local cuban when in Miami and it’s definitely to die for, Havana 1957 boasts two nearby locations because it’s that good and highly sought after.
Those are all very kid friendly but the must-do with kids (for the experience) is the Sugar Factory. It’s exactly what you think - a rainbow of colors with food that kids dream of like in the ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ movie. And there’s plenty of great options for adults too.
Bonus is, if you ask, many of these restaurants will deliver to your hotel room. Which is so perfect when traveling with kids.
I also want to add that we eat most of the time right there at the Loews restaurants and love it as they boast great menus for both kids and adults.
Oh and one last thing to add since I’ve raved about THIS hotel so much…. I am NOT being payed to share this review nor did I receive any complimentary parts of the trip for free. I don’t want you to think I wrote this blog because they asked me to. A few of you asked for all the details so here it is. The best marketing I always say in business is word of mouth! So if you’re in business, you best always make a good impression and put your customer/client first. There’s your tip of the day! (Hint, I didn’t become a Millionaire Mompreneur both on and offline through paid advertising, it was all organic.)
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