Making My Vacation Valuable To You

September 5, 2011

Miami is Nice!

This weekend I went on a trip to Miami Beach with girlfriends, Frannie, Melissa and Melanie. I met Frannie and Melissa in cardio-boxing and this was our first trip together. Melanie, who will receive her own dedicated post later this week, loves that I “do social media.” Everyone that we met was quickly informed “she’s going to blog about you.”  While I explained to Melanie that no one really wanted to hear about our long days at the pool and late nights at the bars of South Beach, she insisted that I blog about our trip. So here it is.

Vacations matter

As a business-owner, I fought the idea of going away. I took a few days off during the July 4th holiday, and I figured that would be enough to last a few months. While in Miami, I diligently checked email and took a few calls by the pool. By Saturday, I realized that I was in a beautiful place and that it was okay to enjoy myself. The wonderful thing about being one’s own boss is that there are no office hours. I work late into the evening and cover more than a 40 hour work week. The guilt that I was feeling was my own. Today is a holiday and I am at my desk, being responsible.  While I was away nothing fell through the cracks and the world did not come to and end. I am more relaxed, happy and grateful for the time I spent with my friends.  Life is short and I am realizing that balance is essential. Work hard, play hard are truly words to live by. So my advice to you as a business owner or just a driven-soul, work harder than your best and reward yourself. They say that people are happier when money is spent on experiences rather than things. I completely agree.

A few reviews for you.

Okay, the inspirational portion of this post if over. Since I know that a lot of my readers are in the events world, I thought that it would also be valuable to give a little review of some of the places that I visited.

Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach

When we planned the trip, I asked my dear friend Diana Maccia for some Miami recommendations. Without hesitation, she suggested Eden Roc and took care of our reservation. I have worked with Diana through Helms Briscoe for a number of years and I always trust her judgement.  This time, Diana picked a winner.

We arrived close to Midnight, tired after a long flight. We were quickly checked in with five-star service (although technically Eden Roc is a four-star resort). We asked for a roll-away bed and towels and they couldn’t be more accommodating. The first impression was lasting.  Throughout our stay, we were treated like queens. The food was excellent,  we never had to wait for a server to bring us drinks and everywhere that we turned there was someone asking how they could assist us. They made sure that we knew that gratuity was included in the bill (a standard in Miami Beach) so that we didn’t double tip. We loved the sexy, but not over-the-top vibe of the lobby bar, the four pools, the availability of chairs and the Starbucks in the lobby. The sleeping rooms were comfortable and very clean.  If we had one complaint, it was that the drinks were super expensive ($15-20), but that is typical for Miami.

I took a quick walk through the meeting space and thought it would be a great for a smaller – medium group because everything was all in the same area and I liked the layout. I should have done a proper site visit because I really enjoyed the property and would recommend to another planner.

Fontainebleau Miami Beach

My friends help me to embrace my inner-geek and know that if “there’s an app for that” that mostly likely I have it. So sitting by the pool, we planned all of our dining excursions with a combination of Open Table and Yelp! We knew that we wanted to spend some time at the infamous Fontainebleau and according the “apps,” dining in Miami didn’t get any better.  If you haven’t been there, it is Miami meets Vegas (sans casinos) in one massive, hip hotel. It was a bit overwhelming to me, but if you like the chic, happening night-life scene, this is THE place to be.  We happened to be in town for Miami Spice which is the southern version of New York’s Restaurant Week. We were lucky to score dinner reservations at Scarpetta and it didn’t disappoint.  Everything was excellent, but being a carbaholic, I could have been perfectly satisfied by just eating the amazing salami bread and wine. OMG is all I can say (profound, I know, but OMG). Of course, good service makes a meal and ours was topped off by the fabulous Benoit who entertained a table of feisty Jersey girls and never missed a beat.  If you are a foodie and happen to have a free meal, make sure that you hit Scarpetta and request Benoit.

After dinner we hit the lobby bar which provided it’s own level of cool.  We had such a great time meeting people and doing our fair share of people watching that we returned for a second night.  For those people who think that hotel bars are cheesy, note that there was no bad karaokesque piano singer in this joint. This place was filled with beautiful people and good music. Planners, if you are thinking about a group function here, keep in mind that this is for a bigger-budgeted crowd as cocktails pricest are the highest that I have seen anywhere. However, If you have a crowd that likes the night-life, check this place out.

Well this post is much longer than I intended it to be, but hopefully I was able to share a few lessons and offer a few reviews.  I’m refreshed, recharged, tan and my belly is happy.  Thanks to my girls for dragging me kicking and screaming into a little slice of paradise.

Lesson of the Day: Miami is Nice, So I’ll Say it Twice.