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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Party in the city where the heat is on

Welcome to Miami

Miami Beach and English roses shouldn't mix, perhaps. But since they invented factor 30 to, well, 80, I felt encouraged to brave the heat for the pool, the beach, the beats and the cabanas.

 Pool Party

 The beach along the east side of Miami Beach is breathtaking. Turquoise waves crash to shore (it's windy here, so better for water sports than west Florida). It's not hard to imagine why New Jersey father and son Henry and Charles Lum were so captivated that they decided to buy much of the island, back in 1870. Yes, I confess, if I had a few quid to spare; if I had won the Power Ball last night...(unlikely since I didn't buy a ticket) I would definitely be thinking of a small pied à plage here.

Hideaways at the W South Beach

 If Gatsby circa 2013 took a trip to Miami Beach, I think he might have taken a suite (or four) at the W South Beach hotel, my Saturday night residence. He could probably still have shown them a thing or two, but this hotel is all about decadence - an adult playground par excellence. Lounge by the pool while the resident DJ plays a series of chilled out (but on the verge of partying) tracks. Dip in the pool or dip your tortilla chips into freshly made guacamole. Sun yourself on one of the loungers or sip more cocktails. (Incidentally, there was a disappointing lack of umbrellas in drinks here, but no doubt the Carlyle can supply those for the camper contingent.)

Miami by Night

Never one to shy away from the local attractions, it was great to try out the resident Bliss Spa for a 75 minute massage. Definitely worth the five days of running that I got in last week! The spa was an interesting experience from the inside of the hotel - a separate elevator takes you to check in (you take the hotel elevator to the fourth floor, then walk to the Bliss elevator...down again to two...then back up (in a different elevator again) to the massage room. Labyrinthine relaxation? So it would seem.

Miami Beach Waking Up

Post massage, I took to the private area of the beach to lounge by the waves. Of course, there's no accounting for your neighbours. A stag party (bachelor party, whatever) on my left, already in the annoying "Dude"--"No, Dude!" phase of the day with their Coors light and tasteless Bermudas. And on my right high powered ladies drinking prosecco and bitching about the CFO. (Lose the prosecco and that could have been just another work chat...)

Sand Bar...Beach Bar

Fortunately or not, these conversations were cut short by the arrival of darkening clouds and thunder, so I headed back to my suite to enjoy views of the lightning and listen to the rain from a dry haven. They certainly know how to organise their rooms at the Ws I've stayed at (Chicago and South Beach so far). Admittedly I had an upgrade this time (I used my hotel points...a lot of them...for this stay) and therefore was greeted by a suite of rooms twice the size of my apartment in New York, and I think, also, bigger than my place in England.

Kitchen to Balcony. Just one of the rooms with a view

The suite has its own amusements. Two toilets, TV & DVD room, that's in addition to the TV in the main lounge and the one in the bedroom; complicated lighting structures; lots of (super expensive) hotel booze and snacks lying around. And two balconies. Thank you, I'll take that.

Sunday morning check out is regimented here at 11am - which didn't quite allow for the lie in merited by the comfy bed listening to the waves. They've thought of that, though, so a hospitality suite is available for the beach-hungry, even after check out. And I took advantage of the complimentary car service to explore other parts of Miami beach with the lovely Pedro. Including the beautiful house outside which Gianni Versace was shot. Colourful, Miami? Indeed. 

Versace's Last Stand - beautiful house

This blog has turned out to be a review of the W South Beach mainly, and that's because there are so many different aspects to talk about. As someone who definitely does not relax well, a place with pretty much everything here is wonderful. I can find seating under the trees for quiet, lounges / day beds by the pool for chilled out music listening and people watching, loungers by the sea for tanning (other people's) and sea sports, and several bars and restaurants. And of course, my own sweet suite. Let's come back here, friends!

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