I'm back again to talk more about my trip to Miami. Now if you're not up to speed make sure to read the first post.
Friday morning I made my way over to our Airbnb over in Little Haiti. It was was hard to not be a little wary going into it when the comments said "unsafe neighborhood, but we didn't seem to have any trouble" (to be fair those comments were a little farther down and we didn't actually do that much digging). Being a year out of college I'm used to roughing it every once in while (futons, couches, you name it) but I have my limits. Let's just say this Airbnb was that limit. My friend was flying in that evening so I thought I would go get settled once I parted ways from Jess (26 and Not counting) and friends over in Brickell. When I got dropped off in front of the house my Lyft driver looked throughly confused and I wanted to say to her "I know I know, I don't know what I was thinking when I booked this place".
When I walked in I immediately stumbled into our bedroom which was nicely decorated with barred windows and ripped curtains. It really added to the ambience of it all. I was so stunned that for some reason I couldn't get my feet to move, then suddenly I was jolted from my state of shock by a friendly Russian man. Oh yeah, our host forgot to mention that there would be other people staying in the space as well...lovely.
I started to frantically search for other accommodations while the Russian couple played some eclectic guitar music in the background - it really set the mood for the experience. Luckily, before my trip my boss suggested that I use the HotelTonight app (it let's you find really cheap last minute deals on hotels that would normal cost a pretty penny) if anything went wrong - it was a lifesaver. I ended up being able to book a super nice hotel in Coral Gables for a reasonable price.
While I was upset that I had to pay more money for a hotel the bright side was knowing I was in a safer part of town in a nice hotel. If anything it wouldn't have been as bad if I wasn't traveling by myself in a city I had had never been to before.
The hotel I ended up splurging on was called Hotel St. Michel. It was a charming European style boutique hotel, nestled in beautiful Coral Gables. The history of the building is actually quite interesting, since it was built as the historic Sevilla Hotel in 1926 to "host to the discriminating travelers of that era". It was exactly what I needed, although I wouldn't have been able to afford it without the crazy good deal.
Once my friend Abby finally arrived, we spent the whole day on Saturday exploring. In the morning we wandering around Coral Cables which was a unique mix of lavish condominium and historic buildings and then stumbled across a quaint little bakery/cafe called Chocolate Fashion - which just so happened to have THE best Brioche French Toast.
Since we had to check out at 11:00 a.m. we made our way over to our second hotel (which Abby found and made sense for us to book since it was a bit cheaper than St. Michel) over in Coconut Grove. Once we set aside our luggage we headed over to the Marine and took in some really pretty views. Eventually we wandered into the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. They were absolutely breathtaking. Seriously, it felt like we were in visiting a different country.
Now you're probably thinking, Ashlee you're in Miami why on Earth did you go to a museum? Well if you must know I wasn't looking for the stereotypical Miami nightlife. I know city gets a bad rep for its extensive partying and while I'm not denying that isn't true (spend 10 minutes in South Beach and you'll understand why) I wanted to experience something a little different.
There's so much culture in Miami and I think it's a little underappreciated. Other twenty-two years old would have probably been content sitting on the beach for three days straight but I wanted to go out and explore. Luckily, I had a travel buddy who was willing to come along (a big shoutout to Abigail. You the real MVP).
Mostly because she never got annoyed when I said, "Stop what you're doing, drop all your things. I want to take a picture of you. Okay now move over here, just a littleee more". It was fun to be able to shoot in a completely new environment, so I'm glad she was willing to take one for the team.
We spent majority of the day wandering around the gardens and soaking up the sun. In my opinion, it was definitely worth the $18.
Moral of the story: would I use Airbnb again? Probably. But I wouldn't book a private room and I would make sure to do extensive research on the area ahead of time. Although, half the fun of vacation is the unplanned adventures along the way, right?
Did you think that was it? Nope I got one more post coming your way this week (I know you're dying to read it).
Know any more under the radar Miami gems? Please let me know! I'm not saying I'll be back anytime soon but I want to make at least one more trip there in my lifetime.