48 Hours in Miami Beach – Day 1

When the darkness and chill of winter descends on the north east coast, it’s usually time for these Contessas to seek out the warm sun and soft, sandy beaches. So at the first sign of snowfall (ok, it was more like the first time temps hit below 45 degrees) we logged onto Google Flights, packed our suitcases, and jetted off for the sunny isle of Miami Beach, Florida.

With an average year-round temperature of 77 degrees (let’s just forget about hurricane season for uno momento), the city’s tropical vibes and vibrant nightlife attract adventure seekers from near and far.

We were lucky enough to partner with The Gale Hotel, a gorgeous upscale art-deco hotel property originally erected in 1941 as a staple of the Miami South Beach community. In 2012, the Miami-based hospitality management and development company, Menin Hospitality, renovated the sleeping giant into the beautiful and elegant attraction seen below. Deep wooden-hued floors, imported oak, classic chandeliers and white marble window frames warmly welcome guests throughout the hotel’s 87 guests room day after day. In fact, the Hotel was recently given the “Best Renovation” award by Hospitality Design. Through the company’s Menin Hospitality Perks program, we were also provided with complimentary and discounted meals and services at some of the city’s best local hot spots included within their 15 property collection.

Day 1

After we arrived at 8 a.m., (we flew direct on United Airlines for a round trip cost of $322 from Reagan Airport), we ordered an Uber to The Gale ($14 total for a 20 minute drive).

Once we arrived at The Gale, the hotel bellman was waiting patiently curbside with a refreshing glass of fruit-infused water to take our bags inside and up to our room. Since we arrived early, our room wasn’t quite ready, but friendly and professional hotel concierge worked diligently behind the scenes to provide us with an early check in (it’s also worth mentioning that the hotel utilizes a personal text message system if provided with a cell number to directly connect with guests at any time to make sure their needs are met). Talk about hospitality!

 

We were set up in the 500 sq-ft “Signature Terrazzo” room (nightly rates vary) adorned with ocean hues and nautical-inspired furniture that included a king-sized bed, a 55-inch LED flat screen, a fully stocked minibar, WiFi, and a fully furnished balcony situated directly above 17th Street.  A short distance ahead, the faint sound of the Atlantic Ocean meeting the shoreline of South Beach echoed through the streets. **Guests can also choose from a “Signature” or “Signature Double” room that comes with all of the essential amenities listed above, minus the balcony.

Once we settled in, we grabbed our sunnies, beach bags, and Guy and Girl Bath amenities provided by the hotel, and took the elevator up to the rooftop pool. And let us tell you – when it comes to rooftop pools, The Gale gets it right. The space features an overflowing infinity pool surrounded by shaded cabanas and wicker lounges, and an unobstructed view of the oceanscape. We spent a few hours here munching on bar snacks and sipping vodka cranberries before we headed back downstairs to freshen up for our dinner at Dolce Italian.

Dolce, an elegant yet cozy Italian cafe and restaurant that reflects the elegance of 1960’s Rome, is located just off the main lobby, and is one of The Gale’s most sought after highlights. Just named “Best New Restaurant” in the first season of Bravo’s namesake show, Dolce features a famous mozzarella bar featuring made to order mozzarella dishes, while Italian-born executive chef Paolo Dorigato’s serves up Italian classics such as caprese, capriccosa, Spaghetti al Pomodoro, Veal Milanese, and margherita pizza with fior di latte cheese.

After we were served a basket of freshly basked bread and churned butter with olive oil and balsamic reduction for dipping, we were served the “grilled octopus” with chickpeas, farro, and pistachio vinaigrette(one of their most popular dishes and for good reason). It’s crispy, tender, sweet, and savory all in one:

The “caprese” with housemade mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, and aged balsamic reduction was an instant favorite. Not only were the tomatoes firm on the outside and tender on the inside, the cheese was the absolute perfect consistency to spread on warm slices of French bread:

and “lobster mezzulene” with fresh corn, shittake mushrooms, tender asparagus, and armoricane sauce poured over tender chunks of lobster tail.

To finish on a sweet note, we were served the immensely light but rich “panna cotta” with strawberry consommé and orange segments alongside to two tall flutes of prosecco.

For those not in close proximity to Miami (we hope this post changes your mind!) Dolce also has locations in Chicago and Atlanta. It is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and dinner.

For a full list of hours and menu items, click here.

In a slight food coma (and with a bit of a buzz!) we returned to our room to find to more wine glasses and a complimentary bottle of Cabernet on the bed stand. We popped the cork, filled our glasses, and left the door to the balcony open so we could hear the ocean and the sounds of the city below. We had another busy day ahead of us full of white sand beaches, and more southern-inspired cuisine than we every could have imagined.

Stay tuned for our next post to read about our Miami foodie tour courtesy of Menin Hospitality.

As always, “Eat Well and Travel Often”!

16 replies to “48 Hours in Miami Beach – Day 1”

  1. OMG I’m really jealous! I wish I could travel like that at the last minute. How much fun! That food looks really good. I’m drooling over the “panna cotta” with strawberry consommé and orange. Yum

  2. Such a peaceful and beautiful place. Arghh! I love going to the beach; now this is tempting. The food looks sooooo yummy I want some now. You really had fun, I’m def going with you on your next trip to the beach 😉 :*

  3. What a beautiful place to go for holiday…and the food..I feel like I can almost taste it from here. I am asking my husband now if we can visit this place for our holiday.

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𝟏𝟎 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐨𝐬 + 𝟏𝟎 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐯𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 @dominicanrepublic 𝐚𝐬𝐚𝐩!

There are way more than 10 reasons why you should book a flight to the stunning island of the Dominican Republic, but here’s what convinced me:

1. The beaches. The Dominican is known for having some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world! 
2. The hospitality. This goes without explanation, but the locals are so welcoming and truly want you to enjoy their country!
3. The cuisine. Think flavorful dishes like soups, thick stews, desserts, fried chicken, and plenty of fresh fruit 🥭🍍🍌
4. Saona Island Reserve. Waist-deep turquoise waters, gorgeous oceans and beaches, and stunning scenery provide peace and tranquility. 
5. Breathtaking landscapes and national parks.
6. Luxury hotels + resorts. The DR is known for having some of the most luxurious all-inclusive resorts in the world, especially in and around Punta Cana. I recommend staying at @sunscapecoco which is a @sunscaperesorts property by @hyatt! 
7. Amazing Nightlife + entertainment. The DR is the birthplace of the merengue and bachata after all!
8. The rums. Dominican rums are known for their high quality. They are aged in American oak barrels and then distilled in column stills. The tropical climate also is a huge factor in the maturing process and taste! 
9. The wildlife. Flamingos, cushion starfish, whales, dolphins, lizards, crocodiles, and more than 300 species of birds!
10. Tropical surroundings. The DR is home to the most northern rainforest in the world! 

What would you want to experience first? 🇩🇴

***View my Dominican highlight to see everything I did during my time there with @sunscapecoco and @amstardmc! #UnlimitedFun #SunscapeResorts #WorldofHyatt #AmstarWelcomesYou #DominicanRepublic #puntacana #caribbeantravel
𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐲𝐩𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐀𝐢𝐫𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐞 𝐌𝐨𝐝𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐩𝐮𝐫𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞 👌🏻😮‍💨

The 5-star luxury @sunscapecoco resort in Punta Cana @dominicanrepublic is nothing short of a dream stay. The @hyatt property offers 24 different on-site restaurants and bars My favorites were DaMario’s for Italian cuisine and Blue Water Grill steakhouse!

It also provides 24-hour room service (late night pizza + fries yes please!), a full service spa, daily activities and family-friendly entertainment on-property, six pools, access to a stunning white sand beach, beach lounge chairs and cabanas (for rent), gift shops, a casino (if that’s your thing), and an on-site medical clinic. 

For those visiting with kids, a section of the property contains the Explorer's Club for kids ages 3-12 which offers a large playground, pool, arts and crafts, and movie nights. A kid approved snack + food truck is also nearby.

Want to explore beyond the resort? You can easily book private transport or a tour at the @amstardmc desk in the front lobby or before your arrival.

It really has everything you could want or need! 

What’s a place you keep your phone on airplane mode to truly enjoy the experience? Let me know below!
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#UnlmitedFun #SunscapeResorts #SunscapeCoco #DominicanRepublic #Caribbeantraveler #Caribbeantravels
𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝟒 𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐳𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐢𝐧 @charleston.travel ::

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𝐃𝐚𝐲 𝟏:
- Check into the @hvicharleston. Here you can enjoy a complimentary wine and cheese reception, milk + cookies at night, and a made to order breakfast in the mornings!
- Grab a sweet pick me up at @tintoycrema next door 
- Stop for pics at Rainbow Row
- Walk to White Point Garden + The Battery
- Visit Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
- Have a late seafood lunch at @fleetlanding 

𝐃𝐚𝐲 𝟐:
- enjoy complimentary breakfast at @hvicharleston (order the ham + cheese quiche or croissant!)
- take the free DASH bus from the hotel to Liberty Square to visit the @southcarolinaaquarium. They have an amazing Sea Turtle Rescue Center! 
- eat lunch at @browndogdeli (I recommend ordering The Folly Beach Turkey Crunch Wrap or the Fried Green Tomato BLT) 
- tour the Nathaniel Russell House and/or the Edmondston-Alston House (it survived hurricanes, the earthquake of 1888, and the Civil W*r!)
- eat dinner at @magnoliaschs. Order the fried green tomatoes and southern egg roll!

𝐃𝐚𝐲 𝟑:
- enjoy another breakfast at @hvicharleston! You can order it as early as 6am.
- Board a boat to @ftsumternps. This historic Fort is marked as the spot where the first battle of the Civil W*r was fought. Reservations required. 
- take an Uber to @fireflydistillery to try their Sweet Tea Vodka, Banana Pudding Moonshine, and their Chocolate Pecan Whiskey. Dont pass up a boozy moonshine milkshake (for 21+) and a Rocket Burger from @rocket_burger_chs food truck!

𝐃𝐚𝐲 𝟒:
- enjoy an iced coffee and a breakfast sandwich at @carmellasdessertbar (just a few blocks from @hvicharleston)
- stroll through the @charlestoncitymarket. It’s been around since the mid 1800’s!
- eat late lunch at @hymans_seafood. Don’t pass up their hush puppies and crab cakes. They were voted Best in Charleston for a reason! 

Click on the link in my bio to read my full “4 Days in Charleston” guide (yes, there’s more!) on my blog to help you plan the ultimate Charleston vacation.
𝐌𝐢𝐧𝐢 𝐆𝐮𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐭𝐨 @puntacana 𝐃𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐑𝐞𝐩𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜 ✨

I had 4 full days to spend in the eastern region of the @dominicanrepublic (which was definitely not enough time to see everything!) but made for a great intro to the DR. 

Here are just a few must-do activities to check out when you visit!

✨ Stay at the newly updated @sunscapecoco by @hyatt. This 5-star all inclusive @sunscaperesorts property offers *24*on-site restaurants, bars, and cafes for unlimited food + drinks. It also has a spa, multiple pools, and beach access.
✨ Visit the Basilica Nuestra Señora De La Altagracia in Higuey. It’s one of the most important religious sites in the country!
✨ Spend a few hours at Playa Macao. It’s a beautiful white sand beach with bright turquoise waters!
✨ Try traditional food such as Dominican fried chicken, Bandera Dominicana (rice, beans, and stewed chicken), and Sancocho (a hearty stew).
✨ Spend a day exploring the islands of Cotubanamá National Park with @amstardmc 🌴 

Do you have plans to visit the @dominicanrepublic soon? You can see more from my time there in my IG stories and my “Dominican” highlight! 
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#DominicanRepublic #puntacana #puntacanaexcursions #dominicana #UnlimitedFun #sunscaperesorts #SunscapeCoCo #caribbeantravel #caribbeanvibes #amstarwelcomesyou #dominicanrepublic🇩🇴
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