It was my first time staying at a Mandarin Oriental hotel but it won’t be the last. Everything from the decor, service, food (we ate at the hotels Peruvian inspired restaurant La Mar overlooking the bay which I can only describe as heavenly) was of the highest standard. Following on from my last post here’s how we spent our last two days in Downtown Miami…
LITTLE HAVANA URBAN ADVENTURES
We had a tour around Little Havana with Urban Adventures Miami which is well worth doing. From Cuban coffee- the single strongest and sweetest coffee I have ever tasted, to sugarcane juice, world famous Mojito’s, empanadas and Cuban Hoagies. We had a great time eating and drinking our way around the streets, stopping for cultural chats and people watching the old men and women in domino park on the way.
Following on with the Cuban influence we visited the renowned Estefan Kitchen in Miami’s design district. Created by music icon Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio the restaurant combines their love for Cuban food and great music. The menu is quite extensive with reimagined takes on various traditional dishes such as lechón flatbread, vaca frita and braised short ribs. We sat outside to make the most of the sun but I would highly recommend sitting inside to make the most of the atmosphere as they have live music and performing servers and bartenders.
DINNER SHOW AT EL TOUCAN
My first time at a Cabaret! Where have I been?! I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun we had. We enjoyed fabulously over the top cocktails served in giant metal pineapples before dancing on the tables. The food looked and smelled incredible but I have to admit that I didn’t get a chance to eat much as the energy at El Toucan is so great once you start dancing you don’t want to go back to your seat. This is a great place to visit for a fun night out, put it high on your list of places to visit!
BALL & CHAIN
Ball & Chain is a bar on Calle Ocho in Little Havana steeped in history from as far back as the 1930’s. Apparently the venue used to be a mobster- owned club and jazz venue which hosted the likes of Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole and Louie Armstrong to name but a few. We listened to live jazz and later after a Mojito or three (yes there was a lot of Mojito drinking on this trip) we danced into the early hours with some of the locals teaching as all the salsa moves.
MUSEUM PARK BY BISCANE BAY
I’m not normally one for Museums but there was so much to offer at Museum Park. We went to the Philipp and Patricia Frost Museum of Science (Frost Science) where we watched a planetarium show – my favourite part! There’s also an aquarium and a roof deck with incredible views across Downtown Miami. If you get fed up with the museums then the grounds themselves are beautiful to walk around. Located on Biscayne Bay the whole area is surrounded with water and palm trees which also makes it a great spot for an outdoor lunch. We ate at Verde, located in Pérez Art Museum where we ordered a wide range from the menu, the food, as usual in Miami was delicious.
I had such an incredible time in Miami with a wonderful group of bloggers, Laura from Heroine in Heels, Em from Catch 52, Greta from Greta’s Travels and Claire from Stoked to Travel we ended the trip with champagne on the balcony of Mandarin Oriental and reflected on all the amazing things we’d done for such a short trip to Miami. A big thank you to these girls for making the trip as fun as it was as well as Visit Miami and Wow air for hosting me.