Oh staycation, how we needed and loved you. You guys know we love taking staycations from time to time. When time allows, we like to take them at least every few months. I mean, we’ve been lucky enough that Florida is a location that allows for easy year round staycations, you know? We had planned this trip to The Mandarin Oriental, Miami for the past month or two. We knew it would be a little crazy to plan a staycation trip just three weeks before leaving the country (for an indefinite amount of time), but we thought, “we should do it anyway.” You know— a break from the planing madness.
But not too too crazy, just crazy (and good) enough. But then the hurricane came. And the power went out And I saw videos of entire neighborhoods in Miami being flooded — while I watched entire trees topple in front of our house, blocking us into our neighborhood. And you know, even now, it still sort of looks like a war zone out there. The city/state hasn’t even attempted to pick up all the tree debris yet or repair all the traffic lights. And I could go on and on about how crazy life has been for us lately. And that is just for us— because this list obviously this doesn’t even include the massive (and far worse) craziness that’s happening across the globe.
But the hurricane came and the hurricane went and just two days or so after getting power back, we packed up our bags and headed south to the staycation we had planned. Because maybe it wasn’t a great time for a staycation, but there really is no perfect time to staycation. Because maybe when life is crazy and then gets even crazier and more stressful– well, you just shouldn’t think, you should just go.
And we’re so grateful we did.
Miami was a lot like West Palm this past week. Sort of ghostly, trees everywhere, half sunken boats in the bay as far as the eye could see. But even with the damage, Miami still felt right. Warm, exotic in some ways, full of culture, and sunshine too. And maybe, in the end, taking a staycation wasn’t just a good idea, but it also worked to our advantage. There was no traffic (unheard of in Miami), parking was a breeze everywhere we went, everyone was extra kind and welcoming to our dog, and best of all, we didn’t have a drop of rain. Just breezy perfect weather (my favorite).
(See the boat? I wonder if there’s treasure in it.)
And so Sunday morning we woke up, drove down and we checked into our room. Marlowe and I ran out into the balcony to check out the view– our favorite. 18 stories up with sunshine and a breeze flowing through day and night. All of us ( even jerry) made ourselves at home. We don’t travel with Jerry often, but since he just had surgery last week and the hotel was pet friendly we decided, ‘hey lets bring the old man’. Gosh, I’ve never been to a more pet friendly hotel. They seriously treated Jerry like a king. He was such a happy and spoiled old man. The best.
We then headed down to brunch. I was excited for brunch— well, and for all our meals. The restaurant is Peruvian themed and had decent vegetarian options, which they happily made vegan for us. It felt like Colombia with all the potatoes, yuca, and corn 😉 The roasted mushrooms were by far my favorite. And Marlowe’s favorite was the mashed yucca. (though we told her it was potatoes, because lately she’s been very against yucca). And if you can’t tell by the cocktail, the restaurant is called, La Mar. I’d recommend checking it out even if you’re not staying at the hotel. It was muy bueno.
And for dessert? Chicha morada popsicles! How fun! And much-needed, because at this point the sun was full blast, haha. But so good. I’ll happily enjoy a paleta any time of day… and any temperature too.
And afterwards? A bath. While there was a beautiful pool to enjoy and the beach not too far out of reach, Marlowe requested a bath. We don’t have a bath at home– hell, I don’t remember the last time I lived in a home with a bathtub (I think it’s an old Florida home thing). So we had a bath.
Afterwards we decided to head out for a walk. Living in Miami, I can’t say I ever spent much time in Brickell. And I had definitely never been to Brickell Key, so we decided to do the 1.5 mile walk around the island and check out the buildings, water, and hurricane damage. It was nice because at this point the sun decided to check out for a bit and we enjoyed a breezy, overcast walk. This was also a super good idea because we all ate well over the needed amount at brunch. But I mean, if you’re going to serve me fancy potatoes and popsicles, I’m going to eat them.
For dinner we tried the Mo Bar and lounge for sushi. You know, I like sushi, but I can’t say I’m a sushi expert by any means. Not even for veggie sushi. But I will say this was my favorite sushi I’ve ever had. It was the crispy rice puffs on the rolls that really did the trick. Such a freaking amazing texture combo! For Marlowe: avocado sushi and miso soup.
Oh, and if you didn’t know, I’m funny. Or embarrassing. You decide.
The daytime view was amazing. But the view was even better at nighttime. After dinner Alex and I just sat out on the balcony forever. Jerry too. It was nice. Really nice. I mentioned this on Instagram, but every time we go to Miami one of us says it, “I could live here again.” Miami is really the only city I would ever consider living in. It’s so different from any other city in the country… and maybe the world. But it’s definitely one of those cities, you have to do a bit of research and know a bit about before you just head there for a visit. (At least I think so anyway.) There are just SO many parts to it. It’s not just tans and bathing suits on south beach (though I love that too), there is so much more than that.
For breakfast we tried out the buffet. My only regret was not getting down sooner because I had to run out for my spa appointment. I could have for sure enjoyed at least three more plates of fruit. I was so happy to see such a large selection of fruits. I hate when I show up at a hotel and their option is melon or apples. I don’t want melon or apples, haha. I want the good stuff! They had some good stuff for sure! Pineapple, papaya, dragon fruit, lychees, all the best fruit!
This is my post massage sleepy face. And my pre-bath magic. I had the digital detox massage. Oh dear, I totally recommend this. If I could be anything in the world (you know the “what would you be when you grow up” question) I would be a spa and acai bowl critic– separately of course, haha. This spa (and massage) was one of the best ones I’ve had for sure. Man, I wish I was there again right now.
A bath with a view. Aka spoiled. I go from a home with no bathtubs to a hotel with all different bathtub options, haha.
And Marlowe and Alex? Well, they obviously did not mind me disappearing for a few hours. They ate a few more plates of food at breakfast, then went right back upstairs to watch a few episodes of saved by the bell (yes, seriously) and finally headed to the pool!
And then I joined them at the pool…. except, I really just ordered a coconut and laid in a chair with Jerry. I mean, I would have swam, but it really looked like my dog just wanted someone to lay by the pool with him, you know? But seriously, can I say again how pet friendly this hotel was? They told us that they had A LOT of guests with pups in the hotel that week because of the hurricane. So many people trying to escape the heat/lack of power, so they packed up their dogs and headed to the hotel– so smart! But yeah, jerry was welcomed EVERYWHERE and was offered water at every stop we made!
Oh and Celia stopped by to take photos with us. I mean, she lives down the street, and she’s my favorite person in the world, so it only makes sense. She’s one of the few people who will get me to pose like this in a shot.
Alex’s vacation face: pure magic.
So many coconuts. So good.
How pretty is this bar?! I want it to be the color inspiration for my life.
For dinner we went back for another giant Peruvian meal. Marlowe got the fried rice dish they offer (veganized) and I got the vegetable plancha (without the butter). Both were SO good.
And Alex? Well, I don’t know anyone who loves a tiki cocktail more than him. I mean, I’m sure those people are out there, but there was this one week especially where he was up late every night stuck in a click hole of tiki cocktail culture videos. And at the end of the week came out came a tiki cocktail expert… or at least someone resembling one. haha.
The next morning? Well that may have been Marlowe’s favorite. One of her favorite things in the world is room service. To be honest, I’m not sure why, but it’s just her thing. She always asks if we can get it when we travel. And so we did. Two giant fruit plates, house made granola with almond milk, and a giant pot of coffee for Alex and I. Also, I was super excited when I found out the woman delivering our food was vegan (and had been for 20 years). I think she was excited to have us vegans there too, haha. We bonded over better health stories together 🙂 Not pictured: more Saved By the Bell we watched during our breakfast in bed experience. Aka the best morning ever and the perfect way to end our staycation getaway from this months otherwise crazy reality.
Truly, “grateful” does not adequately express how I feel about being able to escape in times like these. I really start to eat at myself when it seems like the world is crumbling– and I think and over think the things I cannot change. My body, mind, (and family too) needed these moments– especially in a place with so many good memories– the place where Alex I began 🙂
*This post was sponsored by Mandarin Oriental, Miami— all opinions and thoughts are my own 🙂
**Oh and many of the amazing family photos in this post were taken by my lover, Celia. Love you lady. Let’s book our next trip soon!