Author Topic: Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)  (Read 5856 times)

Offline twentie4hrs

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Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)
« on: December 21, 2015, 07:52:14 PM »
To celebrate a professional milestone, my wife and I decided to take 4 days (from a Wed. night until Sunday night) and enjoy the salubrious and rehabilitative elements of Miami Beach. (I'll add my pictures in later)

While my trip report is not even close to the in-depth, link-enveloped, all encompassing, photo-inclusive, and truly helpful trip reports that @Dan, @AJK, and everyone else, have been posting recently (and that I rely on from everyone in DDF for all my trips)...I will do my level best. (Keep in mind that my wife and I shared orders in several places in an effort to try as many new things as possible).

Here goes....

Our flight arrived close to midnight on Wednesday night. We used Delta and silver status - we checked bags with no fees (12.5 Miles/ticket) Skymiles and were able to upgrade to comfort with a little charm. The flight went through ATL and we were able to grab an Iced Blended from Coffee Bean in one of the three ATL locations. The Iced Blended was not great, but it was still better than the nothing we have in in our hometown, just wish Coffee Bean offered more kosher food options. Even though ATL airport is normally pretty crazy and we hate that stopover, the flights were actually on time and comfortable.

Since we were staying at the Four Points by Sheraton, which is smack in the middle of the Jewish area, we decided to skip the rental car and rely solely on Uber. We had always rented cars for each vacation so this was new for us. Uber ended up saving us close to $150.00 vs. a rental car cost (+ those exorbitant parking fees).
We did, however, take one taxi who overcharged us by about $10 from MIA→4 Points. The nice thing about Uber in Miami is it takes no more than three minutes for the arrival of the Uber from almost anywhere.

We booked the Four Points for 24K SPG points + $389. Not a terrible deal for this time of year, IMO. I was under the impression that a fridge came with the room, but for everything I asked for from the hotel, I kept hearing the phrase, “nothing is guaranteed” from the staff. I found most staff helpful, but there are always the few...Luckily, and after a $15 tip to the front desk, a fridge was delivered in time for Shabbos.

Our view from the balcony was extremely relaxing, but there was very little privacy for every room with a balcony. This is mainly because every balcony is connected (literally sharing a railing) to the balcony next door, and we were in between 2.

Waking up Thursday morning with a demanding thirst for ice coffee or any type of Frappuccino (yes, we like our iced blended coffees, we headed down to Tasty Beach Cafe (Thank you @Dan and @AJK for prior recommendations). Once there, we ordered the Greek yogurt parfait, which is a bowl of greek yogurt, strawberries, and bananas (although we opted for no bananas), and granola (includes raisons in the granola-maybe some type of store bought cereal they use?) - It was actually pretty good (7.5/10). We also ordered the avocado egg wrap that surprised us (8/10). The waiters there were very attentive. We ended the meal with the Frappuccino, which was good but still not amazing (8/10).

After Tasty, in an effort to “walk off” some of what we had just eaten, we took a stroll on the boardwalk towards South Beach (about 2.5 miles - not a bad walk). After we hit the main areas of South Beach, we decided to Uber back to the Four Points. Uber showed in 30 seconds and costs $5 (~3 miles).

We made it back just in time for us to lay out by the pool for an hour - before the appointments at the Lapis Spa in the Fountain Bleu. Probably one of the nicest spas I have ever been in.

Ordinarily I would not splurge on a spa day, but hitting this particular professional milestone was worth the extras. Separate all the way and great amenities (including a “rain room”). After we finished up at Lapis, and basically melting from relaxation, we went to lunch.

We wanted to walk as much as possible because of how beautiful the weather was. When the weather is nice in Miami, you must take advantage. The weather can change in an instant (which is what happened to us on Shabbos).

For lunch we went to Beyond by ShemTov. We looked at the menu and saw a nacho plate with “homemade tortillas”  - only to receive the platter they had made with the bagged, and store bought, Brim chips. I was disappointed, but the waitress seemed to not really care.
We easily returned the nacho plate, and ordered the ceaser chicken (veggie) wrap. This was very good (8.5/10).
My wife got the baby spinach salad, which she said was “good but not great.”
All in all, I did not think Beyond was anything amazing, rather they are a solid, dairy restaurant within walking distance. Their menu had a ton and was a little difficult to sift through.

After Beyond, we, again, needed to “walk off” lunch, so we decided to rent one of the Citi bikes that are almost everywhere. The closest one to the Four Points is in front of the Fountain Bleu (across Indian Creek). Super easy to rent and return  (like redbox - rent and return anywhere there is a Citi bike rack).  We rode bikes up and down the boardwalk (for about 1 hour) until an older Miami women kindly pointed out that bikes are not allowed on the wooden part of the boardwalk. In fact, some signs say bikes are not allowed and some signs do not mention bikes at all.

After bike riding, we chilled out at the hotel, sat on the balcony, and made our way (via Uber for $13) to Harbour Grill. Thanks to a friend who bought us a $100 GC, we were able to order a few more items than we otherwise would have.

 *At this point I am starting to notice what @DAN had written about in a previous TR. Almost every place now seems to automatically charge an 18% service charge.

We started off with the beef bacon salad (9/10)...which I would eat every night if I could. This was a great start. This salad was great, I only wish the portion was a little bigger. For the main I ordered the king reserve steak (7/10).  Doesn’t compare to Shallots, but little does. For desert we ordered the hot chocolate soufflé (7ish/10), I was wondering if this was homemade or store bought. After Dinner, we stopped into Tapas 26 and made reservations for Saturday night (as we heard they fill up quick). We then grabbed an Uber back  ($8) and hung out at the pool, beach, and boardwalk.

Friday Morning:
We took an Uber ($14) to Zak the Baker (I would go every morning, if I could afford new pants) and we were hoping for that lemon curd that @Dan and @AJK rave about, but they no longer had it (maybe a seasonal thing). We ordered the spinach quiche (8/10), Breakfast sandwich (9/10) (the chili aioli makes the whole thing), and we ended with a fresh cinnamon bun (9/10). We arrived around 9:40, which is a perfect time. The line was out the door by 10am. *Make sure someone saves a table as soon as you walk in - they fill up fast, not too much seating in there.

We then, had the Uber ($9) take us back to 41st to get stuff for Shabbos.  We decided not to eat at a restaurant for Shabbos and just eat in the hotel and walk around/relax. We stopped into Kastners, and another Kosher store that had plenty.
The baker in Kastners was super nice. He kept giving us cookies and pastries to taste, and we ended up buy the most amazing lace cookies (9/10) that we have ever had, although a bit expensive (~$12/1lb).
Before we went back to the hotel, we stopped into Miami Beach Chocolates (formerly known as Shokalod) and got some delicious, albeit a tad expensive, coffee gelato (9/10).

We dropped off our Shabbos stuff back at the hotel (10 min. walk) and rented some waverunners ($85/.5 hours, but normally there are groupons for this) right outside of the Sheraton.  The waves were crazy and we were able to get airborn a few times.

Friday night we davened at Tower 41. It was a nice minyan and pretty fast. It was a complete 180 from Chabad on 41st, where we davened at the 10am Shabbos morning  minyan. Chabad was GREAT! The minyan is really a kid minyan and is run so professionally-it was very comfortable to daven there (people of all types). We did not feel like staying for Kiddush, but had heard from a ton of people that they have a full-blown gala Kiddush each week.
We spent the rest of Shabbos in the hotel and lounging around, sitting on the balcony and enjoying the very windy weather

Saturday night we went to our 7:30 reservation (via Uber $21) at Tapas 26. The food and service were both AWESOME! We went with the trio fritas (recommended by @DAN) and they were amazing. Very different from typical fries (8.5/10)...love the truffle fries -and they have so many sauces but the aioli's are the best IMO.
We typically just ask the waiter what the most popular foods are (and check the TR’s) and go with that, and our method did not disappoint.
We ordered the Mozzo Crunch and Saki Teriyaki rolls (both get a 9/10 from us!). The Saki Teriyaki is similar to Shallot’s Sweet Potato Maki -maybe slightly better IMO.

The didn’t really have any deserts that seemed to work for us so we decided to skip desert there and walk down to Serendipity. I’m pretty sure the waiter in Tapas said one of their deserts is from Serendipity anyways. At Serendipity we ordered peach and pear sorbet with cinnamon walnut sauce (8/10), but the line was out the door and the place is pretty small.

We were pretty full and walked around the area and found that Surfside is a pretty nice area and we stopped into the Bal Harbour Mall right there, which has very upscale stores and tons of $200K cars parked in front. After walking around for about an hour, we took an Uber back to the hotel ($10).

Sunday Morning, we rented a car via National, which is directly across from the Four Points. This was nice for 2 reasons: (1) we did not want to spend/waste money on parking and since we were checking out that day, we would not be paying for parking. (2) Thanks to a code form @Dans rental code roundup forum, we were able to rent a full size for $35 for the day and return to the airport.
We picked up the car quickly and drove to Aventura Mall for some Bunnies Cupcakes for my sister and brother in law who were watching our kids (thanks guys!!!) 8.5/10...expensive but good ($25/12)). Aventura Mall is an experience in and of itself and rated the #1 thing to do  in Aventura on Tripadvisor.

We then drove to Fresko at @Dans recommendation. We ordered the Tropicolada (8/10) and the Strawberry Fashion (6.5/10) to start. Next we ordered the Sushi Pizza (9/10) and the Salmon Dinamita (9/10). Suffice it to say that although it was a little crazy inside, and small, the food was out of this world and very different.

We went to the new Jewish bookstore AspaClara to look around for a gift for someone else. The store was really nice and everyone working there was super helpful. *I never knew there is no tax on religious items (except books) in FL.

We drove around and did some other things before getting to our grand finale of Fuego by Mana.  I don’t understand how the place was fully booked at 4:15pm??? It was busy the entire time we were there. Our waitress seemed a little overwhelmed but the ambience is nice although a little loud when really busy. We started off with the Yucca Fries (9/10) (which we had at the unrelated Fuego Mundo in ATL and loved them) - We also ordered the pastrami flat bread (9/10) - this was probably the best way to end the trip. The right amount of kick and tons of flavor!
We ordered the smores desert (could be so much more if they made it a little nicer) (5/10) and the chocolate mousse (6/10). The Mousse should really be called fudge, it was super thick and rich.

Finally, it was back to MIA (with traffic, it took over an hour to get there). We filled up the car with a little gas ($3), and since we filled it up too much, National took $10 off our rental, making it $25 in total. Security took a while, but the airport was fun to walk around. We did not have time to stop into the Centurion lounge because were already running late.  Suffice it to say that all the food we had was amazing and Miami Beach was truly relaxing and fun (and we didn’t even get close to half of the restaurants) - but we were still excited to get home to the kids with our 9K Avios Tickets.

Until next time Miami....
« Last Edit: December 21, 2015, 09:46:51 PM by twentie4hrs »
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Offline yakrot

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Re: Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2015, 08:12:14 PM »
Nice report! I appreciate the fact that you only shared it once it was fully typed up . I'm starting to lose interest in all the cliff hanger segments of other tr's

Offline twentie4hrs

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Re: Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2015, 08:14:49 PM »
Nice report! I appreciate the fact that you only shared it once it was fully typed up . I'm starting to lose interest in all the cliff hanger segments of other tr's

LOL, Thanks - I can't do the live TR's --- puts too much pressure on me :P
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Offline Joe4007

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Re: Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2015, 08:31:27 PM »
Nice TR. Thanks for sharing.

1. Did you get the car without a full tank? I've never heard of them giving credit for filling up the tank.
2. 9K Avios? Was that with a connection to NYC?

Offline twentie4hrs

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Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2015, 08:38:20 PM »
Nice TR. Thanks for sharing.

1. Did you get the car without a full tank? I've never heard of them giving credit for filling up the tank.
2. 9K Avios? Was that with a connection to NYC?
Yea - national gave us the car with 3/4 tank.
The avios were direct form Memphis (hometown).
« Last Edit: December 21, 2015, 09:27:10 PM by twentie4hrs »
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Offline AJK

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Re: Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2015, 09:00:27 PM »
Nice TR! So what was the total spent on uber versus what you would have paid for a rental car?
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline AJK

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Re: Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2015, 09:01:35 PM »
Nice report! I appreciate the fact that you only shared it once it was fully typed up . I'm starting to lose interest in all the cliff hanger segments of other tr's
Try *writing* one. Then we'll see how quickly you change your mind.
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline twentie4hrs

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Re: Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2015, 09:12:05 PM »

Nice TR! So what was the total spent on uber versus what you would have paid for a rental car?
Uber total: $90
Vs.
Car rental: ~$320ish
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Offline yakrot

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Re: Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2015, 09:34:50 PM »
T
Try *writing* one. Then we'll see how quickly you change your mind.
touchè

Offline EJB

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Re: Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2015, 09:35:26 PM »
Uber total: $90
Vs.
Car rental: ~$320ish

The other good thing about miami beach is you could bike to many places :)

Offline yakrot

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Re: Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2015, 09:36:33 PM »

Uber total: $90
Vs.
Car rental: ~$320ish
$320 for 4 days seems very steep.  Parking is a big equalizer though

Offline twentie4hrs

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Re: Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2015, 09:43:41 PM »

$320 for 4 days seems very steep.  Parking is a big equalizer though

Right- but I was including the $31/day parking fee the Four Points charges x 4 =$124 over the price of the car.
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Re: Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2015, 10:17:27 PM »
Right- but I was including the $31/day parking fee the Four Points charges x 4 =$124 over the price of the car.
No street parking?
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline twentie4hrs

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Re: Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2015, 10:19:34 PM »

No street parking?

No-not here-unless I missed something. But when I called a few days earlier and asked the front desk they said there was nowhere else to park.
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Offline E R K

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Re: Miami Beach for a Relaxing 4 days (Including Shabbos)
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2015, 10:25:16 PM »
There is street parking but it's not easy and you have to get up early to put money in the meter.