Miami, it lives day and night!

Miami Beach, I love it! Take a walk along Ocean Drive for the best view of sidewalk cafes, colourful hotels, and even more colourful people. Taste the incredible atmosphere, go to the beach, relax, and come to live at night in one of the many trendy cafes and bars.


Sonesta Beach Resort Key Biscayne

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on April 4, 2005

This was our third visit to the Sonesta Resort in Key Biscayne. We had a nicely renovated, very comfortable, and clean room. Each guest room offers an ocean or island/bay view and has a private balcony. It’s too bad that the bathroom isn’t renovated, but I have to say that the bathroom is clean and very large.

THE POOL AREA:
The Sonesta has an outdoor, heated Olympic-style pool. Two whirlpools overlooking the beach are located on the pool deck. Towels are provided by the resort.

THE BEACH:
This resort has a great, quiet, beautiful, and clean beach with palm trees and hammocks. It is like a Chickee village on the beach. There is a nice restaurant called the Snackerie where you can order hamburgers; hot dogs; fish; and an array of salads, snacks, and ice creams. You can eat your meal under a thatched-roof hut. That's how we like it.

THE BAR:
For a nice drink, you can spend some time at the Sea Grape Bar, situated right on the beach. The Sea Grape also offers light fare, refreshing beverages, and live music on the beach on Saturdays.

There is also a bar by the pool called Seabreeze Bar. The bartenders make perfect tropical coolers or your favorite cocktail.

TIP:
If you want to go to the beach/pool, then you can take the elevator to the second floor so you don’t have to go through the lobby in your bathing attire feeling a bit underdressed.

THE RESTAURANTS:
The Sonesta has three restaurants inside. The Purple Dolphin offers Florida seafood. You can sit indoor or outdoors with a fantastic view overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Visit the Jasmine Cafe for a quick snack or full meal. In the morning, they have an array of tropical fruits and juices and freshly baked croissants. For lunch and dinner, you can order pizza or sandwiches. Two Dragons has Chinese and Mandarin cuisine, along with delicious Thai specialties. They have also a sushi bar.

When you have had enough of the beach, you can shop in one of the resort shops. There is Oasis, one of the best hotel boutiques in Miami, or go to Essentials.

This resort has a spa and salon where you can get European treatments for the face and body. I didn’t do this during my stay, so I can't say if it was good.

TIP: The Sonesta Beach Resort offers complimentary transportation to Miami's premier shopping districts.

Don't visit this resort if you're looking for a place to party. If you like luxury, service, great location, and all the amenities of a resort hotel, this is the place for you.

The one negative thing about this resort is the “valet parking only - that should change!
Sonesta Beach Resort Key Biscayne
350 Ocean Drive.
Key Biscayne, 33149
305-361-2021

Beach Plaza Hotel South Beach

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on March 21, 2006

You can walk easily to Washington Avenue, Lincoln Road and Ocean Drive.

A few years ago we’ve stayed in the Beach Plaza. The rooms were not renovated at that time. I’ve read that the hotel is renovated. Maybe it’s better now. I prefer other hotels now, but then we were on a budget so we didn’t care how the room was. It is in the heart of South Beach. The hotels has is no pool, but hey, you are a block from the beach and all that South Beach has to offer! Who needs a pool?

This hotel has a good location, but not much else going for it.
If you are on a budget than this is perfect for you, otherwise don’t stay here.


Beach Plaza Hotel
1401 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, Florida, 33139
(305) 531-6421

Dezerland Beach Hotel & Spa

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on March 21, 2006

It’s been a while when we’ve visited the Dezerland Hotel. I can’t remember much of it, so I don’t now if that is a good sign or not.  Anyway, it’s renovated, re-designed and upgraded not so long ago and the hotel has now a spa facility. The hotel is located one mile south of Bal Harbour. If you like to step back into the rock 'n' roll era and enjoy the 1950s and 1960s theme, than this is the place for you. For me one visit was enough.

Howard Johnson Plaza Dezerland Beach & Spa
8701 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, 33154
(305) 865-6661

News Cafe

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on April 4, 2005

"Here in Miami, I've finally found what I was looking for: the center of my circle. I want to stay here and live out my time... forever." - Gianni Versace

Conveniently located in the heart of the Miami Beach on Ocean Drive, News Cafe is popular with tourists from all over world. This café/newsstand/bookstore was also a favourite of Gianni Versace. The News Cafe was the last place Versace went before he was murdered on July 15, 1997. I have no idea how popular the café was before the death of Versace, but I think the News Café is now famous for being the place where Gianni Versace had his last breakfast.

The way the News Cafe is set up, you can sit back and relax, feel the ocean breeze, watch the locals and tourists walk by, or simply enjoy the shining sun. You can also watch the Miami low-riders thump out deep bass rhythms as they cruise by. Open 24 hours a day, News Cafe offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and after-hours meals. The News Cafe Store offers a wide variety of local, national, and international newspapers and magazines, a selection of books, CD's, tobacco products, and other sundry.

It’s a nice place to see and be seen. It’s too bad it’s always crowded, but besides that, I can imagine why Gianni Versace used to hang out here all the time.
News Cafe South Beach
800 Ocean Dr
Miami, Florida, 33139
(305) 538-6397

Rusty Pelican

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on April 4, 2005

It has a nice atmosphere and the food is good. It has American and continental cuisine. I’ve been there a few times, and the view is always fantastic. Many locals and a few tourists come to this place. Many people stay in the area of Ocean Drive, and they also eat in that area. If you have a car, drive to the Rusty Pelican and experience a fine dinner and a view of Key Biscayne and downtown Miami from your table. After your meal, walk outside on their dock and enjoy their incredible view. You couldn’t ask for more.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

View, Family Style, Outdoor Dining, Romantic Dining, Waterfront Dining, Special Occasion Dining, and Brunch

HOURS:

Sun-Thu 11:30am-11pm

Fri-Sat 11:30am-12am

SMOKING:

On the patio
Rusty Pelican
3201 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, Florida, 33149
(305) 361-3818

Café Med at CocoWalk

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on March 20, 2006

This casual bistro is located in the center of all of Grove activity in Cocowalk. Cafe Med is an outdoor cafe, restaurant, and bar that provides the focal point of the CocoWalk courtyard. If you can stand the wait and the noise, you'll be rewarded with good food. The restaurant serves sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and pasta. They have a Mediterranean-influenced menu.

Favorite Dish:
Bruschetta, Paella, and not to forget the Sangria. It was delicious!

One negative thing was the slow service.

If you can't find Café Med, look for the movie theaters, it's situated right underneath it.


Hours:
Daily 11:00am-12:00m

Serving:
Lunch, Dinner and Late Night

Smoking Permitted:
Yes

Entertainment:
Live music


Cafe Med
3015 Grand Ave.
Miami, Florida, 33133
(305) 443-1770

Bal Harbour Shops

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on April 4, 2005

Bal Harbour Shops has beautiful outdoor gardens; fountains; art; and very high-end shopping, cafés, and restaurants. It is nice to walk around in this mall because everything looks very beautiful. There are world-class designer boutiques, including Hermes, Cartier, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Armani, Gucci, Versace, Tiffany, and Van Cleef & Arpels. Don’t look for anything as common as a kid’s playground or a food court. This place is way too chic for that.

I, personally, like this place very much because of the beauty of this place and the brands they sell. If you want to spend money, well, you are at the right place. Have fun!

OPENING HOURS:
Monday to Saturday 10am to 9pm Sunday: Mall stores noon to 6pm, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue noon to 7pm

DIRECTIONS:
The Bal Harbour Shops are located at 9700 Collins Ave. in Bal Harbour. It is at the northwest corner of Collins Avenue and 96th Street, just north of Miami Beach.

PHONE:
305/866-0311

WEBSITE:
www.balharbourshops.com
Bal Harbour Shops
9700 Collins Ave
Bal Harbour, Florida, 33154
+1 305 866 0311

Bayside Market Place

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on April 4, 2005

SHOPS:
This semi-outdoor mall has many chain stores like Banana Republic, Gap, Victoria's Secret, and the Disney store, many tourist T-shirt and souvenir shops, and lots of local boutiques. Bayside is in a very nice setting on the waterfront.

RESTAURANTS:
There are many restaurants where you can eat and enjoy a beautiful waterfront view of Biscayne Bay. From Italian to Cuban, seafood to steaks, it’s hard to choose.

You can have a fruity tropical drink from a stand in the centre of the water-facing side of the market. Relax and enjoy, then do some shopping. It’s a great way to spend your afternoon. A whole day is something too much for me. I had seen it all in about 2 hours.

For shopping or just a lunchtime stop, I highly recommend you try the Bayside Marketplace. Many local sightseeing cruises leave from ports nearby.

Just look for the 60-foot guitar above the Hard Rock Cafe, and you know you have arrived.

DIRECTIONS:
By car:

Take I-95 North or South to Biscayne Blvd (Exit #3). Head north on Biscayne Blvd. to Port Blvd., where you will find convenient parking in the Bayside parking garage or on the street.

PHONE:
305-577-3344

WEBSITE:
www.baysidemarketplace.com

Bayside Marketplace
Fourth and Biscayne Blvd
Miami, Florida, 33133
(305) 577-3344

The Clevelander

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on April 11, 2006

The Clevelander means good food, drinks and a lot of beautiful people. The Clevelander is an outdoor cafe, and located in the heart of Ocean Drive. The Clevelander has five poolside bars. I love this place. It's a great location to watch people, to enjoy the (live) music, and to drink some cocktails.Clevelander is a great spot for a night out and to have a good time.

Clevelander
1020 Ocean Drive
Miami, Florida, 33139
(786) 276-1414

The Colors of the City

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on April 11, 2006

I love the colors of Miami. They are so varied and bright in all kinds of way, wherever you look. Look at the picture and you know what I mean. All those colors; it makes me happy. The cars, the beach guard house and the buildings are all colorful.I understand why so many photo shoots are taking place in Miami. What more do you need. Perfect light (the sun), the sea, and the beach, all on a colorful background.

http://www.igougo.com/journal-j41595-Miami-Miami_it_lives_day_and_night.html

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