In 2012, over 3.6 million Canadians visited Florida. That means almost one in every 10 Canadians visits the Sunshine State, with the peak winter months being most popular. Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, Disneyworld, West Palm and Daytona are all hotspots. But for many Canadians, Miami is the place to be — whether a destination point or a place to go and visit while staying elsewhere in Florida.
Miami is big and beautiful, making it impossible to see everything in the art deco inspired pastel city on your first visit…or even your tenth. Miami has miles of beautiful sandy beaches, the best shopping the world has to offer, a spectacular and diverse arts and culture scene, nightlife and exceptional food. To avoid being overwhelmed with the immensity of its many offerings, you need to approach Miami with a plan.
The best place to start is with a stay at the Eden Roc Miami Beach, a fabulously restored and historic hotel originally designed by famed architect Morris Lapidus. Opening its doors in 1956, the Eden Roc Miami Beach was Lapidus’s most lavish design, embodying all the glamour of a Hollywood stage set. It has attracted a steady stream of entertainers and celebrities for more than 50 years, including Elizabeth Taylor, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Frank Sinatra. Over time its reputation and iconic stature made it a legendary landmark. Today, the Eden Roc is as popular as ever and retains its reputation as Miami’s timeless oceanfront treasure. It flawlessly blends legendary service and iconic style with Miami’s modern architecture and contemporary glamour. A recent property renovation increased the size of the Eden Roc to 631 guest suites, with the classic architecture of Eden Roc’s Legendary Tower being paired with a new contemporary Ocean Tower. Both towers feature ocean view rooms and suites.
During the renovation, the Eden Roc added two new ballrooms and became home to Elle Spa by Elle Magazine. This 22,000 square-foot, first-ever spa by Elle is recognized as one of the best new spas by Condé Nast Traveler. A destination site for locals and guests alike, the Elle Spa offers plush amenities, dazzling ocean views and signature massage and body treatments. Amenities include a relaxing area, scrub bar, hot whirlpools, cold plunges, steam, sauna, hydro-experience showers, boutique hair and nail salon, and 24- hour beachfront fitness center and group exercise studio. Elle Spa visitors can also take advantage of an expansive rooftop deck with VIP cabanas, light dining and beverage service. A retail boutique offers the ultimate selection of luxury spa products, apparel and accessories.
The best thing about Eden Roc is its understated glamour. The Iconic Lobby Bar is the showcase of the Hotel and would be a great showroom for a scene from Mad Men with its über cool styling and relaxed glamour. The Lobby Bar cocktail is the Liz Taylor, a fiery little number that will get your motor running. Then again you’ll be in good company no matter what with the Eden Roc Cabanas feature beachside drink, the Olé Olé, or one of their famous mojitos.
No stay at the Eden Roc is complete without a meal at 15 Steps, the resort’s signature restaurant. The new garden-inspired dining experience is named after the 15 steps necessary to grow a vegetable, catch a fish and cook the perfect steak. Based around the newly planted Sea Spray Organic Garden located within Eden Roc Miami Beach, 15 Steps is an innovative farm-to-fork concept designed by executive chef Mark Henry and new Chef Jeremy Ford. Ford is in his element preparing foie gras tochon, duck rillelte, green apple chutney, togarashi crusted tun crudo, branzini (spring risotto) and a variety of other land and sea dishes for his guests that will more than charm your palate. Ford also serves up more casual fare (with flare and zest) at the hotels Cabana Beach Club Ocean front restaurant that overlooks the magnificent beach.
The Eden Roc offers great poolside relaxation, beachfront activity and other amenities that guarantee a good time. Jim Mauer, General Manager of Eden Roc, told Ottawa Life Magazine that he and all the staff at Eden Roc are proud to be part of the Eden Roc hotel’s next and greatest chapter and they look forward to hosting visits from the many wonderful Canadians who come to Florida each year.
Out and About in Miami
Adjacent to the hotel is a great bike station. Rent a bike for a couple of dollars and take a relaxing ride through South Beach to visit the many little nooks and crannies that are part of the Miami landscape.
You can visit the gorgeous pastel buildings of Miami Beach’s Art Deco Historic District or take a self-guided audio tour or regularly scheduled walking tour of one of the world’s greatest concentrations of 1930’s architecture. Start at the Art Deco Welcome Center at 1001 Ocean Drive. Admire the porthole windows, breezy front porches and nautical motifs of the Ocean Drive hotels. There are numerous outdoor cafés where you can stop and have lunch or dinner while soaking up the unique style of South Beach and the Art Deco District.
The Wynwood Art District is a thriving, young and hip cultural and artistic smorgasbord of diversity celebrating Miami at its grittiest best. It extends from North Miami Avenue to I95 and runs from 10th to 36th Street. It is home to over 70 art galleries, retail stores, antique shops, eclectic bars, and astounding outdoor murals. Local, tourists, artists and others are flocking to this eclectic up-and-coming Wynwood neighborhood to see street art in its natural setting (http://wynwoodartwalk.com). The Wynwood Second Saturday takes place monthly from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The walk is free and is open to the public. Galleries open their doors for this artistic encounter as entertainment, cocktails and more spill onto the streets while people take in the vibrant and creative atmosphere.
Little Havana is one of the best places to experience Miami’s Latin flavor. On Calle Ocho (Southwest Eighth Street), stroll over to Domino Park for some local colour. Walk into any of several cigar shops and watch stogies being hand-rolled by skilled torcedores. Little Havana has several wonderful art galleries as well as souvenir shops selling everything from Cuban flags to classic guayabera shirts. A great way to experience the sights and sounds of Little Havana at night is during Viernes Culturales/Cultural Fridays – the neighborhood’s monthly arts and cultural event. And don’t leave Miami without sampling some delicious Cuban food.
Miami offers endless cultural offerings, from ballet to opera to symphony concerts and gallery nights. Catch a show at the Arsht Center or check out smaller venues around town for modern dance, comedy and theatre productions. Museums like History Miami and the Jewish Museum of Florida offer glimpses of Miami’s intriguing past, while art museums like the Miami Art Museum, Frost Art Museum at FIU, Lowe Art Museum, Bass Museum of Art, Wolfsonian-FIU and Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami house dazzling collections of ancient, modern and contemporary art and design. Monthly gallery nights showcase local art while mega art fairs like Art Basel Miami Beach and Arteaméricas bring in art and collectors from around the world.
Miami’s attractions offer something for everyone. Step into Miami’s Garden of Eden at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Swim with the dolphins at Miami Seaquarium, meet and greet exotic animals at Jungle Island, or laugh at the hilarious antics of primates at Monkey Jungle. At Zoo Miami, you will encounter a wild world of over 2,000 animals including fauna from the wilds of South America at the zoo’s permanent exhibit, Amazon and Beyond. Ponder the mysteries of Coral Castle. Miami attractions will dazzle your senses.
Miami’s nightlife is legendary. On South Beach, popular spots include Mynt and LIV. Downtown clubbers head for Space, Grand Central or Bardot. Most of the big hotels have great clubs with live music or dance music that extends well into the wee hours. For some Latin flair, try out Hoy Como Ayer, La Covacha or Yuca. Miami nights are full of possibilities. The Eden Roc sets its own popular Miami vibe in the busy Lobby Bar of the hotel and is a definite hot spot for locals and visitors.
Miami operates on a late-night clock, so if you want to beat the rush at eateries and clubs, opt for an early entrance. The nightlife tends to heat up close to midnight; arrive any earlier and you’re likely to be drinking alone.
Greater Miami and the Beaches are surrounded by water. In Miami, you can dive, snorkel, canoe, kayak, standup paddleboard, windsurf, or fish to your heart’s content. Miami also boasts Biscayne National Park – the only underwater national park in the country. From the Visitors Center, you can take a glass-bottom boat tour to glimpse sea creatures undulating across brilliant coral reefs. Some of the very best views of Miami are the ones from the water! Take a ride on the Island Queen tour boat or speed across Biscayne Bay on a Thriller Miami speedboat cruise.
Miami has warm weather year-round; highs are almost always in the 70s and 80s. Even on cloudy days, a hat and sunblock are a must to prevent sunburn. Humidity is worst in the summer months and can be oppressive, especially to travelers used to dry heat. June has the least desirable weather, as it traditionally sees the most rainfall.
All of Florida is located within the hurricane belt, so Miami is at risk for hurricanes and tropical storms between June 1 and November 30. To prepare for travel during these months, purchase travel insurance that covers you in the event of a hurricane and keep a close watch on the weather forecast prior to departure.