Miami is one of my favourite spots in the U.S. A beautiful melting pot of Cuban, Haitian and American cultures with a mix of old and new architecture. It is a spot that no matter how often I go, I always find something new to fall in love with.
After having a great vacation with my family and Harlowe, I headed to Miami for some work and to celebrate the anniversary of my very good friends, Josh and Alicia. Having owned a condo in Miami, this would be one of the few times that I’ve stayed in a hotel and I was so excited to check out the newly opened 1 Hotel on South Beach. 1, is not only one of American Express’ FINE HOTELS AND RESORTS properties, it is also a completely sustainable property that proves that vacationing doesn’t have to be tragic for the environment.
Before I even left Toronto, I called Amex Platinum Travel (which is essentially like the best travel expert, ever!) and explained all that I wanted to do while in Miami.
Among other things, my top priorities on this super short trip were to:
- Surprise my friends with an incredible dinner in a new ‘hot spot’ that had great food and atmosphere for their anniversary
- Get some great shopping in
- Have a great lunch in a cool spot with gluten free options
- Check out what healthy food trends are happening in Miami
- AND do a killer workout
My Travel Consultant took my list and ensured me she would be able to help. Within hours I had confirmations at three restaurants and an email explaining what workouts I should try and what sights I shouldn’t miss.
On night one, we celebrated Josh and Alicia’s wedding anniversary at the most incredible restaurant, Pao. Created by celebrity chef Paul Qui, Pao is an Asian fusion restaurant that pulls much influence from Filipino cuisine. Growing up with best friends who are Filipino, it was awesome to see our childhood faves cooked up in such interesting and fancy ways. We ate rice with pork adobo, smoked short ribs and the most incredible sweet corn pudding called The Unicorn which is served inside a spiky sea urchin.
Pao also has incredible cocktails, like this one served in a $600 rose gold unicorn head and the decor is out of this world! A million dollar Damien Hurst horse sits prominently in the centre of the room – the perfect conversation starter.
The next day I needed to sweat off that incredible dinner so I started the day off at SoulCycle which luckily was located in the lobby of 1!
Once everyone finally rolled out of bed we went walking in Wynwood to check out the incredible street art.
We then headed out to Bal Harbour for some shopping and lunch. Though I had been before, I never knew until my concierge let me in on it, that the delicious (and celeb hangout) Carpaccio has gluten free pasta. My group was able to enjoy their meals while my girlfriend and I were too! The Penne alla Vodka was everything!
That night we went to famed club owner, David Grutman’s newest spot, Komodo, in midtown. South Beach is great, but Miami seriously has so much to offer other than just the beach. It was another spot with Asian influence with equally delicious food and decor. Some of the bigger tables hang about the patio in what looked like floating nests. Incredible.
On our final day I was thrilled that I had remembered to ask my Platinum Concierge for some healthy restaurant options. Dirt came highly recommend and it was so good I wish we had it in Toronto. This ‘farm-to-counter wellness bar’ serves up incredible clean food with vegan and paleo options. Again, the design of the space is just as incredible as the food and it’s just the place to visit when you’re travelling but still want to feel good and not completely off track.
The end of our trip came so quickly, we milked it to the last moment. Since 1 Hotel is part of Amex’s FINE HOTELS AND RESORTS program, I received late check out, complimentary poolside Wi-Fi and a $100 Food and Beverage credit, so I could take advantage of my vacay until the very last moment. We finally checked out at 4pm and headed to the airport only to be surprised that our Amex perks didn’t end there. The Centurion Lounge (located in Concourse D) that’s open to all Platinum Cardmembers was the perfect end to an incredible trip. With complimentary hot and cold food options, cocktails, Wi-Fi and comfy seating, it made it even harder to get on the plane.
Amex Cardmember perks aren’t just limited to travel. ALL Cardmembers have access to various music, sporting and dining events just by owning a Card. I seriously don’t know what I’d do without mine; it’s my entry into some of the hottest events in the city!
This trip was more proof of why having a Card with useful benefits actually helps to not only take the pressure off your busy life, but also make you feel like more than a number. My Amex Platinum Card always makes me feel like a VIP, through and through. And that feels pretty darn good.
This post was sponsored by Amex Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.