‘Start spreading the news’ as Sinatra once sang, Miami is the place to be right now.
With more flights than ever, new restaurants popping up all the time, and casinos on the way – there’s hundreds of reasons to visit the sunshine state. And even more to go with baby.
So what makes Miami so special? Well the year round sunshine helps, a postcard perfect beach, malls of shops and exquisite restaurants at every corner. It’s also the affordable luxury and very lovely locals that bring me back time and again. Miami has all the glamour (but only a pinch of the pretentiousness) of LA, the party vibe of Vegas, the fine dining of New York and friendliness of the Deep South, but with a special kind of genuine warmth too. And their excellent customer service is never more evident than at my perfect choice of hotel – The Fontainbleau.
In a city that celebrates all things shiny, new and modern, The Fontainbleau, which first opened in 1954, still holds its own setting the standard for others to follow.
“We appeal to every type of holidaymaker and are seeing more British tourist” explained Stephanie, it’s delightful PR rep who took time to show me around. The hotel is perfect for families. Not just because of its ten heated pools, warm welcome, completely shaded area, family friendly restaurants (all of them) and excellent stair free access everywhere (which made life with my fantastic little Silver Cross a winner), but because it’s one of those places that once you step inside you never have to leave. No wonder Sinatra lived here three months of the year!
Our room was large, comfortable and spacious. But let’s face it, the holiday is all about Boo – who was treated to his own crib, bath and high chair – proving that it pays to stay in luxury residence.
The baby room amenities and the heated main pool
There’s 12 restaurants on site including my favourite – Hakkasan, with the roast chicken and spicy garlic my best meal of the trip. Don’t be surprised if you spot the odd celebrity in here too, I’m reliably informed that Prince Harry has visited before. But save room for the hotel’s on site bakery ‘Chez Bon Bon’ which is tres yum yum
With a brilliant and very British soundtrack (lots of Adele!), poolside is the place to be – and if you’re lucky you might see one of the resident iguanas! There’s an eclectic mix of guests including; young families, selfie-posing babes, corporate functions, the facelift fraternity and locals – there’s something or everyone here. For me, it was the poolside cabanas; a touch of decadence at $550.
The luxurious cabanas, and the grounds of the Fontainebleau
However, once Friday arrives there’s a sort of festival vibe, with groups of people embarking on the hotel for fun. Heck, there’s even a man that plays the bongos at La Cote! It’s great for groups, but not so much for baby, so this was the perfect time to hit the shops. We took a taxi to Aventura Mall (30 mins away) – highly recommended by the lovely poolside team at the hotel. It didn’t disappoint with miles of shops, including Macys, Bloomingdales and Nordstorm, Oh did we shop! Don’t forget to bring some ID as visitors can get an extra 10% off in many of them.
Poolside refreshments and its club Liv
Back to the hotel, if you feel like a night out yourself then you can take advantage of its babysitting service, as well as an onsite kids club. Maybe when Boo is older, I’ll come back!
There’s so much to see and do in Miami, but this holiday was about resting, so we didn’t get out too much. However, it is worth mentioning a few of the lovely local places we did stumble across, including Cecconi’s Italian at Soho House (around the corner from the hotel). Lincoln Road is a $10 cab ride away and is an assault of the senses with its street of bars, restaurants and shops. Two of the best are ‘Yardbird’ and ‘Havana 1957’ and like the rest of the city – very welcoming of children.
One thing you will need to leave the hotel for is baby supplies. I was really surprised with how behind America is. I expected endless choice of baby food and milk, but it wasn’t quite as readily available as I thought. Surprisingly, Pampers cost double the price and their sizes are not compatible to ours. Similac is the local brew of milk, and although slightly different, there were no complaints from my little food critic! In terms of baby food, Gerbers and Earth’s Best were hit and miss with the Boo, so it’s worth bringing some of your own.
SUM IN THE SUN
We had the most amazing time in Miami and two weeks of sunshine and excellent customer service – it could not have been better. And do I feel rested? Yes, even through the jetlag, even through restarting my baby’s routine, even through yet more teething – yes I feel rested!
I came to Miami in much need of sun and sleep, and left feeling fully stocked on Vitamin D and lots of Zzz. It’s a great place, offering all things to all people – in Miami you can truly have it all.
For my top tips on surviving long-haul travel with a baby, check this out.
A special thanks to Stephanie, Marianne and all the lovely team at The Fontainebleau.
Milk Drunk Diary is an editorial blogzine based in the UK. We buy, borrow and receive products to test and review. Our opinions are always honest and our own.
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