The South Beach You Didn’t Know Existed
When you think about South Beach, you instantly envision collegiate girls wearing mostly nothing walking down the street with plastic red cups full of Jungle Juice, or the guy with a snake around his neck chasing you (yes, that actually happened to me). SoBe, as the locals call it, has long been a place synonymous with clubs and late night partying. But, I bet you didn’t know that there is a part of South Beach that is charming, quiet and oh-so-fab.
This new world starts right at the Marriott Stanton South Beach. Located on the picturesque Ocean Drive, this oasis of calm beauty and affordable luxury sits on the beach and exudes a cool, modern vibe with the most welcoming staff. It’s the perfect place to create whatever environment you want, whether it be a romantic vacation, girls’ getaway or fun-filled family holiday.
When Shane and I arrived, it is safe to say we had our breath taken away. We were basically plotting when and how we were going to move in. After breezing through check in and using the high-tech touch screen at the elevator bank to take us to our room, we were greeted with uber modern and lavish minimalist decor, which I fell in love with immediately. We had an oceanview room with a balcony (because this girl loves herself a balcony) and I couldn’t wait to watch the nightly sunsets out there. Possibly the coolest – and definitely most unique – thing about the room was the shower. In the glass shower door, there was a cut out so you can reach your arm in and turn on the shower without getting wet or screaming ‘Its cold!’, as I tend to do! I consider myself well-traveled and have never in my life come across something like this.
Marriott Stanton South Beach
Let’s dive into the amenities, because after all, that’s what makes your vacay. Besides offering the most beautiful views of palm tree-lined beach and clear blue ocean, the Marriott SoBe has a large well-equipped gym, a stunning spa (more on that below), a Starbucks (hell yeah!), and a glistening outdoor pool that is complete with a mini gaming area featuring a life-size Connect Four, Jenga, foosball and more. The famed beachwalk is a literal stone’s throw from the hotel, which was so nice to have for a quick run or bike around along the beach. Which brings me to the FREE bike rentals. Yep, the Marriott Stanton SoBe offers complimentary use of their cruisers (which are soooo IG worthy!), so you can explore the beautiful art deco of South Beach in style.
For those of you who have trouble sitting still for hours at the pool (I know I do), the spa was fantastic. To strip off the stress of NYC, I opted for a hot seashell massage. It was so cute and kitschy that there was no way I was going to pass it up!
If you enjoy soaking up the rays poolside, the staff is phenomenal. I never had to ask for anything! The were so unbelievably on top of everything, from bringing towels to providing menus for food and drinks. They truly made you feel like the only thing that mattered to them was your comfort.
The Marriott Stanton South Beach property offers so much that you never have to leave, but if you want to venture out and explore, it is super convenient to all the South Beach restaurants, attractions, and culture.
Because we all know I’m a foodie, it was super convenient – and absolutely up my alley – to be surrounded by *amazing* restaurants. Recently, Miami has become a hub for some of the best food in the world. So if there’s one thing you’ll leave Miami with, it’s certainly going to be a full stomach. Beware of the tourist traps – and menus thrown in your face along Ocean Drive. To navigate this all, here are some of my must-have watering holes for drinks and grub.
Location: Prime 112
Must-Have: It’s literally across the street from the Marriott Stanton SoBe, so if you are looking for somewhere close that will absolutely deliver on a mouth-watering steak, you found the right place!
Location: Azabu Japanese
Must-Have: If you thought Prime 112 had an optimum location, you don’t even need to leave the Marriott Stanton SoBe to dine at this 5-star Asian bistro.
Location: Lola’s Surf Cantina
Must-Have: Because what’s better than being served handmade, authentic tacos without ever having to leave your chaise lounge? Literally nothing. P.S. Give me all the guacamole!
Location: News Cafe
Must-Have: One of my favorite go-to restaurants. They may not be all about the presentation, but they are 24 hours and their menu reads more as a book so you can basically find something for everyone. (And if you can’t, then you are pickier than me. In the words of my ex-boyfriend, “it’s painful to watch you eat.” Lemme hear it for all the picky eaters!! #StrongerTogether hahaha)
Must-Have: I went here for an Instagram picture (I mean, duh) but ended up staying for the food. This place may look like a fast-food taco joint, but it’s SO much more! Head through the graffitied door, past a bank of urinals (not in use, thankfully!) and you’ll end up in the cool back room bar at Bodega. I loved the speakeasy vibe, plus as an added bonus, they have happy hour with HALF OFF tacos starting at 6pm – we can’t make this up!!!
Location: The Broken Shaker
Must-Have: Unlike the name implies, there is absolutely nothing broken about this uber cool cocktail bar. The drinks (per Shane) were delicious, and they also make a mean non-alc for my alcohol-free gals and guys! Plus, they just opened a location in NYC on a rooftop so you can visit it when you’re feeling those Miami blues.
Lifeguard Beach Houses
To what may be to your surprise, there is actually so much to do in South Beach that does not include clubbing. Here are my fave spots I never miss when I am in town.
To-Do: Wynwood Walls
Must-See: A short drive away from the Marriott Stanton, Wynwood Walls is a fabulous outdoor art exhibit of murals, paintings and sculptures. I’d seen so many photos ahead of my visit, and this was somewhere I was dying to explore during my trip. As background, the Wynwood Walls were created in 2009 by the late Tony Goldman, who decided to transform the area into a giant open-air art gallery as a way of revitalizing the neighborhood.
P.S. This is also bikeable from the Marriott Stanton so if you feel like getting your exercise on, they will happily provide you a super cute cruiser to explore the city.
To-Do: Versace Mansion
Must-See: This iconic mansion has now been converted to a hotel, which is only a few blocks away, but be aware you are only allowed to take pictures on the steps. Trust me, it definitely worth seeing and soaking up all the Versace history.
To-Do: Vizcaya Gardens
Must-See: These beautiful gardens are absolutely breathtaking!
Must-See: SoBe’s local entertainment hub, Basement features a nightclub, bowling alley and ice-skating rink. The best part? You can bowl with luminescent bowling balls or skate through dramatic lighting effects! YAAASSS!
To-Do: Lifeguard Beach Houses
Must-See: Along Ocean Drive, directly across from the Marriott Stanton SoBe, there are lifeguard beach houses. Each house is painted in super bright colors with one never being the same as the other. Pretty sure it doesn’t get more photo opt worthy than this!
DANGER! There is a lot. Check out my go-to places when I am ready to get my Clueless on (which is often haha).
Shop: Lincoln Road
Must-Do: Lincoln Road is a short stroll away, and is a shopper’s paradise. A pedestrians-only strip of boutiques and designer shops, you will literally lose yourself in the IG worthy clothes, shoes and one-of-a-kind accessories.
Shop: Miami Design District
Must-Do: This area basically didn’t exist 8 years ago, but now has become a hub of high-end shops and boutique dining. If you are looking to splurge on that new Chanel bag or celebrate an anniversary, this area is it!
Shop: Mr. R Sports
Must-Do: Of course if you are traveling with bae (like I do with my instahubby), you will probably need to keep him entertained by way of the sneaker shops. Which, lucky for you, there are plenty. This is an iconic sneaker store that is Shane’s fave.
Shop: Dina C’s
Must-Do: If you feel like getting out of South Beach, Palm Beach offers some amazing vintage shopping. I picked up an epic Christian Dior turban here. Hello again, Miss Cleo!
Between the delicious food, great sights, fab shopping, and incredible service and offerings at the Marriott Stanton South Beach (the literal cherry on top), needless to say, I am already planning another weekend getaway.
#summergetaways #wintergetwaays #RESORT #SPA #travel #food #MarriottHotels #SouthBeach