Miami. Florida. Never been a huge fan of either but: the Chicago weather (snow on April 14? Seriously?) made it necessary – urgent! – to get to a beach STAT! So – in need of a (cheap) direct flight, sunshine and warm sand, Miami it was! Bottom line: it exceeded my expectations! I am a somewhat jaded person when it comes to sea, sand and surf, having been spoiled in Grand Cayman, Jamaica, St. Thomas and multiple Mexican resorts. But I indulged in four nights/five days at the Trump International Beach Resort with my fearless friend KP for some fun in late April. Herewith a few highlights and tips:
1) The greater Miami is split into a number of “provinces,” if you will – South Beach, Coconut Grove, and Sunny Isles Beach, being three. If heading for Sunny Isles, FLY TO FORT LAUDERDALE! Much less expensive ($179 from Chicago, versus $325 to Miami) and only about 25 minutes away.
2) If heading to a resort with the name TRUMP in it: expect a lot of Europeans and Russians. Yes, this can add to the international cachet of a trip and provide endless opportunities for amazing people-watching on the beach and at the pool. Enough said!
3) Sunny Isles lacks dining options, but I will say the restaurant at the Trump Resort – Neomi’s – was phenomenal.
Merguez sausage with a fried egg and sweet potato hash was a fave, as was…
4) Head south to South Beach but beware: while there are a lot of restaurants, bars and clubs in South Beach, but I came up short on fabulous spots other than the famous Joe’s Stone Crab. For nearly 95 years, this place has been serving the famous stone crab claws with a mustard-mayonnaise sauce and if you like crab, they are fabulous!
5) Hit the pool bar at the Trump International after dinner! Bartender Geno knows how to have a good time!
The guy is a showman of gargantuan propotions – instigating group sing-alongs and conversation like a pro. He got everyone talking, laughing and singing to the greatest hits of the ’70s and ’80s!
6) Check out Timo’s, just across the street and a couple blocks south of the Trump (you can walk there). Yeah, it’s in a strip mall, but so what – go. It offers amazing food and fantastic, friendly, professional service. Black-and-white pizza (with ricotta, mozzarella and black truffles. Shut up: just order it.) Fabulous fish dishes, roasted duck, pastas – we ate there two nights in a row and loved it both times!
7) Hit the beach or the pool – the staff at the beach and pool will make sure you are well taken care of, with chairs, umbrellas, towels, drinks, water, food – the works
Overall, I give Miami four stars for great weather, great people, great food and beautiful beaches. A great US get-away for sun, sand and good times with best friends! Viva Miami! Your–ami – whoever’s-ami!