By Erika, Resident Fashionista
Please note: this is NOT a sponsored post and all opinions expressed are my own.
Around YCS we’re always saying that “chic isn’t just an adjective, it’s a way of life.” That means that to truly live a chic existence (however you want to define it), it must cross all areas of your life, not just your clothing and accessories.
One thing that always makes me feel truly chic – traveling. While I totally appreciate people who do the backpacking thing across Europe and rock out in hostels, that is totally not me! Like James on “Scandal,” I was made for five-star hotels and room service. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all about traveling on a budget. But, there is just something about going to South Beach with some of my best good friends that pretty much makes me blow my budget to smithereens!
Three girlfriends and I got tix to see Queen Bey just outside of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and decided we’d make a week’s vacation out of it. Check out some of the fun stuff that we did, where we stayed, where we ate, and, of course, where we partied.
The Digs: South Beach Marriott (161 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach)
The girls and I spent some time scouring hotel sites trying to decide on the best place to stay. The great thing about Miami is that there are large chain hotels (like the Marriott South Beach, where we stayed), large luxury hotels (like the Palms Hotel) and cute boutique hotels (like the all-suite Sanctuary South Beach). Whatever floats your boat and budget is available to you.
The great thing about the South Beach Marriott is that you get the uber glamorous feel of many of the South Beach luxury hotels (poolside cabanas, food and drink service on the beach), the intimate feel of a boutique hotel (cozy lounges and common areas), and all of the amenities of a chain hotel (think business center, convenience store, spa, fitness center) all rolled into one. The location of this hotel also makes it prime real estate. At 2nd and Ocean it’s right on the beach (like RIGHT on the beach), far enough down South Beach that you’re just below the madness, but close enough that the madness starts only 2 blocks away.
Other YCS recommendations: The Palms Hotel and Spa (3025 Collins Ave, Miami Beach) and Sanctuary South Beach (1745 James Ave, Miami Beach). I’ve stayed at both of these hotels and would highly recommend them.
Obviously we ate at more than two restaurants on vacation (though, we consumed plenty of meals beach- and poolside); however, Yardbird and Big Pink were two standouts. Big Pink was just two blocks from our hotel (bonus!) and offered delicious breakfast/brunch fare. It’s got a great diner feel with Miami sophistication. The food is good. And, I suspect, it tastes even better at 4am after a night at Story, which is right across the street.
Yardbird is southern cuisine with a serious gourmet twist. Think fried chicken with cheddar waffles topped in some sort of relish that is nectar from the gods. Since the food is served family style we decided to order two entrees, the chicken and waffles and ribs, with a couple of sides of mac ‘n’ cheese, biscuits and corn on the cob. We had no idea how much food we were in for and went home with PLENTY of leftovers.
Other YCS Recommendations: CJ’s Crab Shack (perfect for lunch, dinner and drink deals), Puerto Sagua Restaurant (“hole-in-the-wall” Cuban goodness), Prime 112 (the super upscale restaurant owned by the same people as Big Pink), Vida at the Fontainebleau (a birthday dinner so delish I still remember years later).
When you get four girls together you end up doing lots of different activities – from scoring new tattoos (my second from Redemption) to holding baby alligators (and running from the ones who cross your path like “hey, no big deal”) to visiting the Hard Rock Casino (and spending the day doing everything BUT gambling) to lounging beach-side (all day Friday) to lounging poolside in a cabana (all day Sunday). The great thing about South Beach is that there is literally something for everyone. Whether your idea of a good time is spending a full-day at the spa or getting wet and wild jet skiing you can definitely indulge.
The Nightlife: Wet Willies, Mangos and the Clevelander
No matter what your party style is there is something for you in South Beach. If you’re more of a fall back, relax and chill kind of person then you definitely want to check out some of the lounges. If wild child spring break style is more your speed then hang out on Ocean Drive and let your fun (or freak) flag fly! Although I hadn’t been to Wet Willies since spring break my junior year of college, we had to make a stop. There is just something about grabbing a large “call-a-cab” and the brain freeze that follows that ensures you’re going to have a good time.
Another fun treat was Mangos. We accidentally on purpose popped up on Mangos and couldn’t resist entering when we caught sight of the Michael Jackson performance set. We were quickly whisked away upstairs to one of the specialty rooms where we spent our night dancing to the hottest reggae and hip hop while the DJ pumped up the crowd from the middle of the dance floor.
We know all the pretty people can be found at Liv, Mansion, Story and Room Service (formerly club B.E.D) but they can also be found rooftop at the Clevelander. The sexy stylish crowd hangs out on the much more intimate rooftop and gets the party poppin’ with a DJ and live drummer. Insider tip: skip the line and cover downstairs and head straight through the hotel entrance. The elevator and sophisticated set are waiting for you to arrive!
Other YCS Recommendations: Liv (as in Lil Wayne saying “Liv on Sunday, King of Diamonds Monday”), Mansion, Story and Room Service. I’ve been to all four and I can attest that the beautiful (and famous) crowd can most definitely be found here.
Of course, the whole reason we even decided to spend our Fourth of July Holiday in Miami was because we were checking out Queen Bey (as in Beyonce ya’ll) just outside of Fort Lauderdale. I won’t give too much away about her show in case anyone is going to see it. I will say that girlfriend puts on a SHOW! And it was totally worth the hassle of finding four tix together in a city none of us is from to see her. 2 hours of pure awesomeness and amazingness. There is a reason she is loved the world over. Girlfriend puts in WERK during her show. I could gush all day about Queen Bey, but I won’t.
If you want to see her set list click here. If you don’t want the spoiler, don’t click the link!
The Flicks: Check out some of my fave shots from our amazing trip!
Of course, there is TONS more to do in South Beach. I didn’t touch on things like the shopping, the spas, the sports or the water activities. This list is just the tip of the iceberg. What would you guys add to the YCS Guide to: South Beach? You know what to do!