5 Picks: Miami & Islamorada

Miami and the Florida Keys has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to begin. Here are 5 great options to consider for your next trip.

No trip to Miami is complete without visiting an art deco hotel. My favourite is The Raleigh Hotel on Collins Avenue with its iconic swimming pool, which was voted “Most beautiful in America” by Life Magazine in 1947. This place oozes coolnes and authenticity in equal measure. For a special treat, consider stopping by for a Saturday Soirée (every Saturday from 12PM-5:30PM) to combine the beautiful pool view with cocktails, house beats and great people.

The pool at The Raleigh Hotel

For a special dining experience, I suggest you go to Gianni’s at The Villa a.k.a. The Versace Mansion. Gianni Versace lived here from 1992 until his tragic death in 1997. Be sure to reserve a table well in advance and be aware of the dress code, which is Smart Casual. You will be seated in the dining room or poolside and both places are spectacular in their opulence. Be sure to order dessert as each of these creations are a masterpiece in their own right. One of my sons had the chocolate cake, featuring Versace’s logo, the Medusa head, made in chocolate and sprayed in gold. After dinner, go and get a good selfie in front of the pool with its 24 carat gold decorations.

The Versace Mansion

Miami is not all about South Beach though. For the best street art extravaganza you can imagine, head out to the Wynwood Walls, and take a walk around the area to soak up all the great works on display here. On top of the paintings, there are also some great shops and cafés to check out. For lunch, I recommend the Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, where all four walls in one of the rooms are completely decorated by legendary Shepard Fairey. 
(I had to get a 360 video of that.) By the way, the sliders and the local craft beer make for a great lunch combo.

Street art by Shepard Fairey at Wynwood Walls

For another cool adventure outside of Miami Beach, go to Coral Gables and visit the Venetian Pool. This place redefines what a public swimming pool experience should be. While you take a dip here, you will enjoy the view of palm trees, waterfalls and underwater caves. This is an especially great option if you’re bringing kids. Plan to spend at least a few hours here.

The Venetian Pool at Coral Gables

Finally, if in Miami, try to squeeze in a few days extra by going down south to the Florida Keys. My recommendation is the islands of Islamorada, which are midway in between Key Largo and Key West. Here you should go to Robbie’s for several reasons. First of all the atmosphere is great. Very chill and relaxed (as it should be on a tropical island). Secondly, you can get up close to the marine life by hand feeding the great tarpon fish, which is fun. But most importantly, this is where you will depart for your water activities. I did a nice snorkeling trip with my family on one day and the next I headed out on the jet ski adventure with the older kids, which was really unique, as our private guide showed us around the mangrove channels and we even spotted a few dolphins, as the icing on the cake.

Robbie’s at Islamorada