Friday, April 15, 2005

Florida Remembered



In late august 2004 I went to Florida for a four week vacation. It was my first solo vacation in many years and I had worried a bit how that would feel.

I shouldn’t have worried, I had a very lovely month. With the added excitement of not one but two hurricanes.

I had hoped to do a bit of driving around, maybe down to Key West or from the Atlantic Coast to the Gulf Coast. But thanks to the hurricanes that didn’t happen.

Instead I spend the whole four weeks in Miami Beach.

Ever since I saw the movie “Random Hearts
with Kristin Scott Thomas and Harrison Ford, I had wanted to try The Tides Hotel right on Ocean Drive in South Beach.

That’s where my trip started. I liked the hotel, but it was not as spectacular as I had expected. A very upscale business hotel, with very nice staff but nothing extra special.

Then I stayed for more that two weeks in a bit of a gem: Circa 39 Hotel. It’s not right smack on South Beach, but it’s very good value for money. I was there when the hurricane Frances threatened Miami, and they were very helpful with finding me a safe hotel to be evacuated to.

My last four days was spend at that wonderful Miami Beach legend: Eden Roc I count it up there with the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in.

I ate many a fine meal while in Florida, but the one place that has stayed with me and I don’t have to consult my notebook about is: Smith and Wollensky.

It’s in a wonderful location with great views of the waterway into Miami Harbour. I visited three times in all and got a table outside on all three occasions.

I’ve certainly had more complex food other places. But they do know their beef and more than anything they have no problems treating a lone female diner like all their other guests. That is rare – even in the US.

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