48 Hours in Miami Beach – Day 1
When the darkness and chill of winter descends on the north east coast, it’s usually time for these Contessas to seek out the warm sun and soft, sandy beaches. So at the first sign of snowfall (ok, it was more like the first time temps hit below 45 degrees) we logged onto Google Flights, packed our suitcases, and jetted off for the sunny isle of Miami Beach, Florida.
With an average year-round temperature of 77 degrees (let’s just forget about hurricane season for uno momento), the city’s tropical vibes and vibrant nightlife attract adventure seekers from near and far.
We were lucky enough to partner with The Gale Hotel, a gorgeous upscale art-deco hotel property originally erected in 1941 as a staple of the Miami South Beach community. In 2012, the Miami-based hospitality management and development company, Menin Hospitality, renovated the sleeping giant into the beautiful and elegant attraction seen below. Deep wooden-hued floors, imported oak, classic chandeliers and white marble window frames warmly welcome guests throughout the hotel’s 87 guests room day after day. In fact, the Hotel was recently given the “Best Renovation” award by Hospitality Design. Through the company’s Menin Hospitality Perks program, we were also provided with complimentary and discounted meals and services at some of the city’s best local hot spots included within their 15 property collection.
After we arrived at 8 a.m., (we flew direct on United Airlines for a round trip cost of $322 from Reagan Airport), we ordered an Uber to The Gale ($14 total for a 20 minute drive).
Once we arrived at The Gale, the hotel bellman was waiting patiently curbside with a refreshing glass of fruit-infused water to take our bags inside and up to our room. Since we arrived early, our room wasn’t quite ready, but friendly and professional hotel concierge worked diligently behind the scenes to provide us with an early check in (it’s also worth mentioning that the hotel utilizes a personal text message system if provided with a cell number to directly connect with guests at any time to make sure their needs are met). Talk about hospitality!
We were set up in the 500 sq-ft “Signature Terrazzo” room (nightly rates vary) adorned with ocean hues and nautical-inspired furniture that included a king-sized bed, a 55-inch LED flat screen, a fully stocked minibar, WiFi, and a fully furnished balcony situated directly above 17th Street. A short distance ahead, the faint sound of the Atlantic Ocean meeting the shoreline of South Beach echoed through the streets. **Guests can also choose from a “Signature” or “Signature Double” room that comes with all of the essential amenities listed above, minus the balcony.
Once we settled in, we grabbed our sunnies, beach bags, and Guy and Girl Bath amenities provided by the hotel, and took the elevator up to the rooftop pool. And let us tell you – when it comes to rooftop pools, The Gale gets it right. The space features an overflowing infinity pool surrounded by shaded cabanas and wicker lounges, and an unobstructed view of the oceanscape. We spent a few hours here munching on bar snacks and sipping vodka cranberries before we headed back downstairs to freshen up for our dinner at Dolce Italian.
Dolce, an elegant yet cozy Italian cafe and restaurant that reflects the elegance of 1960’s Rome, is located just off the main lobby, and is one of The Gale’s most sought after highlights. Just named “Best New Restaurant” in the first season of Bravo’s namesake show, Dolce features a famous mozzarella bar featuring made to order mozzarella dishes, while Italian-born executive chef Paolo Dorigato’s serves up Italian classics such as caprese, capriccosa, Spaghetti al Pomodoro, Veal Milanese, and margherita pizza with fior di latte cheese.
After we were served a basket of freshly basked bread and churned butter with olive oil and balsamic reduction for dipping, we were served the “grilled octopus” with chickpeas, farro, and pistachio vinaigrette(one of their most popular dishes and for good reason). It’s crispy, tender, sweet, and savory all in one:
The “caprese” with housemade mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, and aged balsamic reduction was an instant favorite. Not only were the tomatoes firm on the outside and tender on the inside, the cheese was the absolute perfect consistency to spread on warm slices of French bread:
and “lobster mezzulene” with fresh corn, shittake mushrooms, tender asparagus, and armoricane sauce poured over tender chunks of lobster tail.
To finish on a sweet note, we were served the immensely light but rich “panna cotta” with strawberry consommé and orange segments alongside to two tall flutes of prosecco.
For those not in close proximity to Miami (we hope this post changes your mind!) Dolce also has locations in Chicago and Atlanta. It is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and dinner.
For a full list of hours and menu items, click here.
In a slight food coma (and with a bit of a buzz!) we returned to our room to find to more wine glasses and a complimentary bottle of Cabernet on the bed stand. We popped the cork, filled our glasses, and left the door to the balcony open so we could hear the ocean and the sounds of the city below. We had another busy day ahead of us full of white sand beaches, and more southern-inspired cuisine than we every could have imagined.
Stay tuned for our next post to read about our Miami foodie tour courtesy of Menin Hospitality.
As always, “Eat Well and Travel Often”!
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