Travel Lust: South Florida
Recently, we did a roundup of our favorite girlfriend getaway spots, and it was so much fun that we decided to take the research a bit deeper! This is the first in a series where we visit our favorite spots and discover all the best things that exist within -- first up, South Florida.
Where to stay
Obviously, one of the most memorable parts of your trip will be the setting of the pillows you rest your head on at the end of the night.
- Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Resort & Spa: Craving the sunny beaches of West Palm without the hustle and bustle? With its luxe private beach and roomy condo-style suites (they even have kitchens and washer and dryer units built in!), this may be the spot for you. You'll also find surprisingly accessible meal fare at their onsite 3800 Ocean restaurant.
- The Peabody Orlando: Slightly more inland (and a few hours north of these other spots), the Peabody deserves a mention for showing how a property can be adorable and fabulous all at the same time. From their fun twice-daily "duck march" (yes, involving real ducks!) to their 24-hour homestyle diner to their nearly Olympic size pool that comes complete with a water slide, you'll have such a blast you may just forget you are there for a convention. (As most guests are, it's attached to the Orange County Convention Center.)
Places to get (and feel!) beautiful
Obviously, with all that beach and cocktail time, you're going to need some serious spaahhhh concentration. When we visited, these were on our must-visit list!
- Ted Gibson Salon at the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale: Whether or not you are in the Fort Lauderdale area for a special occasion, you must visit celebrity mega hair stylist Ted Gibson's Fort Lauderdale outpost. Whether it's a quick blowout or one of his famous designer cuts, you'll come back from your trip looking -- and feeling -- like a new woman.
- Si Spa at Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort and Spa: We had the luxury of being guests at the gorgeous property Si Spa is attached to, the Palm Beach Marriott Resort Singer Island, but even if you aren't staying at the property, try to make time to visit this spa and get a treatment. (P.S.: We thought it was rather adorable that the name, Si, means both YES -- to treating yourself! -- and is a play on words regarding the Singer Island location!) We tried the aromatherapy facial and it was completely indulgent, but also try to check out their early morning yoga, meditation and Pilates classes. They are even available beachside!
- Ulta Beauty in Miami Beach: Wait... why are we talking about a cosmetics store? Because it's SO much more than that. Right in the heart of South Beach's Lincoln Road scene, stop at this Ulta Beauty location for everything from salon to eyelash services! It's a great idea if you are staying in the area and need a one-stop shop for your beauty (and being beautiful!) needs.
Vacations -- whether with your other half or your girlfriends or even a troupe of kids -- are often all about finding great dinner spots to have memorable meals. In the name of research, we did a lot of eating on our Florida trip (it's a hard job, but someone has to do it!) and these were some of the best spots we found.
- The Office (Delray Beach): Even before visiting this spot, I was salivating over the menu, a sure sign it would be an instant obsession. The Office's menu is much like an office, divided into fun departments -- Go Green (salads), Office Supplies (lighter fare and appetizers), Staple Items (cheaper entrees) and Main Events. Much touted for their burgers, ours were a thing of beauty -- and the accompanying Parmesan fennel fries? Not too shabby either. Definitely would return, probably in an elastic waist band.
- Meat Market (South Beach): Over the years, we've been to the Miami area many times for work and play -- and Meat Market has popped up in the plans a few times. Always exciting, it's a tad on the posh side and a great place to people watch -- but also a fabulous pick for a romantic dinner over martinis. The surf and turf is an ideal pick, but watch out for those sides -- they are huge, and those delicious truffle mashed potatoes will undo any diet!
- Wynwood Kitchen and Bar (Miami): What started with a tropical salad and ended with a round of cortaditos made this an instant fabulous choice for lunch -- but the ambience, art and incredible energy made this one of the most memorable hours of our trip. Absolutely treat yourself to some free time to check out the walls, adorned with the work of local artists. It's something not to be missed!
- SushiSamba Dromo (South Beach): Perhaps you've been to one of the other SushiSamba locations around the globe, although the Dromo spot is an animal upon itself -- one adorned with equal parts black beans and sashimi. The South Beach restaurant scene can be a bit pretentious at times, but you'd never tell at this spot. It boasts a festive environment with fabulous fusion food and incredibly friendly (sexy!) staff. Don't miss the lychee bubbletails!
Shopping (aka where to give the rent money the final heave-ho)
If you are traveling with your ladies, whether or not it's in the plan, at some point shopping will occur. Being out of town is a great opportunity to visit stores you may not find at home and score (wearable?) souvenirs! One South Florida spot that will always remain at the top of the heap is one that I've been frequenting since I visited my grandma nearby as a little girl -- Sawgrass Mills! This spot is not for the faint of heart; it's the largest outlet mall in the country. If you are looking for something special, check out their new luxe section, the Colonnade Outlets, which feature exclusive luxury outlets.