I found myself back in Miami for a third time. But this time it felt different. My first trip to Miami I was in such a different mindset- nearly a different person. The second was much like the first – I’ll chalk it up to a quarter life crisis 😉 But this time, oh this time was so much different. I was able to step back and appreciate Miami for what it is- a melting pot of everything. Having been to this city a couple of times I found myself familiarized with some of the drives, restaurants and even the little quirks this city has.
I had the opportunity to stay at Marriott Stanton South Beach located right on Ocean Drive. I actually stayed on property two years ago during my very first time in Miami. With it being recently renovated, I was so excited to get back here and see everything that’s changed.
Not Your Momma’s Marriot
Marriott Stanton South Beach is in a category all of its own. As I mentioned, its located right on Ocean Drive which means it also has direct ocean/beach access (!!). This is a key factor for me when booking any sort of beach accommodation. If I don’t have beach access- what’s the point?
There are two restaurants on property Lolo’s Surf Cantina and Azabu Miami Beach. For Lolo’s think Baja California inspired Mexican fare. I highly recommend a fresh coconut, the jicama and guac plate, and the shrimp tacos! This is also the breakfast spot on property serving up everything from breakfast bowls to avocado toast to fruit bowls. You can eat in or get take away. But if you’re in a real pinch, there is also a Starbucks attached to the property which you can charge to your room.
Azabu serves up authentic, high-end Japanese cuisine and has a wide selection of Japanese whiskeys. The nigiri here is to die for. I opted for the barracuda and it did not disappoint. I also tried plenty of traditional rolls from tuna to salmon and a unique take on Japanese fried rice. It is presented to you in one big bowl filled with rice, vegetables, and Japanese eggs. The server will pour the soy sauce over the ingredients in the bowl, chopping up all of the vegetables and mixing it all together to turn it into the deliciousness that is Azabu’s take on Japanese fried rice.
Other highlights of the property are the fitness center, spa, and beach cabanas! Before traveling, I always check to see if there is a gym on property and if there isn’t I look for the nearest yoga studio. Here at Stanton, I was fully covered. Not only was there a gym but there were also group fitness classes (hi pilates) every morning! Beach chairs and towels are included in your stay and to rent an umbrella its $22.
What to Do in Miami
Ahhh, the elusive question when visiting any new place. There is so much to do in Miami but there are a few things you absolutely must do during a 3 day trip. Let’s get to it.
Start your day with a sunrise
Marriott Stanton South Beach faces east meaning you’ll get front row seats to the sunrise 🙂 One of my favorite times of day.
Wynwood Buggy Art Tour
There is no better way to see the graffiti and murals of Wynwood than by buggy. Wynwood Buggies offers tours around the art district by way of electric buggies. Prior to this, I’d walked around Wynwood- which as you can imagine is hot and sweaty in that Miami heat. The buggies provide a light breeze and the driver is knowledgeable about all things Wynwood. So, he’ll be able to point out the murals and the artist who painted them and the stories behind them. You’ll be shown some of the hidden gems of Wynwood and get tips on the best galleries, events, restaurants, shops and breweries in the area. Pro tip: stop at Cielito Artisan Pops to escape the heat!
Beach Cabana Hangs
Throw up an out of office reply on email and relax in one of Stanton’s beach cabanas.
South Beach Bike Tour
Biking through Miami gives you a whole new perspective! Bike along the boardwalk all the way to South Pointe. If you have time, stop for a quick dip and enjoy the views.
Where to Eat (off property)
This is a new spot in Wynwood. Bakan is an indoor and outdoor restaurant-bar and it will surely transport you to Mexico with its earthy, artsy, modern space. The cacti-lined outdoor bar and covered terrace makes for the perfect spot to escape the heat. The kitchen is an open concept, so from your table you’ll be able to see the art of handcrafted tortilla making. Not to mention. Bakan also has over 500 Mezcals, don’t forget to mix in a water!
Mandrake is another new spot but in South Beach. It has got to be one of the most unique dining spaces I’ve ever experienced. The Chinese tea garden is full of lush greenery and Alice in Wonderland like décor and inside the jungle mural walls add to this sophisticated yet playful vibe. The food is just as sophisticated (and delicious) as the space. Be sure to make a res!
Pura Vida Picnic
If I lived in Miami Pura Vida would surely be my go to spot! Whenever available, the ingredients of the smoothies, juices, salads, sandwiches and their famous acai are organic and locally sourced. I opted for the vegan lentil bowl and the Lulu’s lemon juice! Pro tip: get take away and bring it back to your cabana at Stanton or head to South Pointe.
I loved having the opportunity to experience Miami for a third time and staying at Marriott Stanton South Beach was such a treat! I can’t recommend this spot enough- whether you’re planning a girls trip, a romantic weekend getaway or a solo trip- this is the perfect spot to base yourself. Safe to say, Stanton is my Miami tried and true.