Christmas in Florida (part 3): South Beach

Annette and I took an overnight trip to the South Beach last night. There was some good news, including the fact that this meant we weren’t on our way to the annual MLA convention (more good news below). The bad news was bad weather and our shitty hotel.

First the hotel stuff.

We made reservations at the Winterhaven Hotel quite a while ago, in part because of a recommendation from a friend. Well, we showed up and discovered the place was under fairly dramatic construction:

Annette took one look at this and said “oh no, this will not do.” Now, in hindsight, we perhaps should have at least looked at the room. But at the first twitch of complaint from us, we were immediately told that we could check into their “sister” hotel, the Blue Moon.

What a freakin’ dump.

Okay, to be fair: there are a lot of good reviews on Google here, so maybe we just got them on a bad night. And the room itself was nice enough. But we found it to be a run-down and smelly place, and our individual room placement was just horrific. Here’s our view:

Nice, huh? What really makes matters worse is that those doors you see there lead to the bar area, and right outside of our window seemed to be a popular place for hotel staff members to sit around and bitch (loudly) about stuff going on. We were kept up last night because of a “party” staffers were conducting in the bar, one that ended only after we dressed and went down to the front desk to raise a stink. We tried calling, but no one answered– I guess they were at the party.

Anyway, for those of you coming across this site as a result of a search: The Blue Moon Hotel in Miami Beach (on South Beach and on Collins) sucked. Hard. The Winterhaven Hotel in Miami Beach (on South Beach and on Ocean Drive) sucked, if for no other reason because this was the place that sent us to the Blue Moon.

Okay, enough about that.

The other problem was the weather was pretty crappy, at least for south Florida. So, for example, strolling and bar-hopping along Ocean Drive was pretty much out. Even the “sunny” weather of this morning (that’s when I took the picture at the top and many of the pictures on the Flickr site) was pretty darn chilly. As we were out and about, Annette first bought a scarf and then a sweatshirt and then some socks. At this point, fashion was less important than basic warmth. So, someday, we’ll go back to South Beach when the weather is nicer. And when we do, we will stay at a much better hotel. Not the Blue Moon.

Why would we go back? That’s the good news.

I have to say that even with bad weather and REALLY bad hotel experiences, we had a good time. A few highlights:

Our afternoon started at a cheeseburger place that is actually in Hawaii too (we ate at the one on Waikiki Beach), which for me included a fine cheese and bacon burger and this entertaining card someone dropped off at our table:

I contemplated a Brazilian wax, but just for about 10/15 minutes.

Annette enjoyed shopping, especially for cheap jewelry.

Oh, I almost forgot: we wondered into a really cool art space called ArtCenter/South Florida and we looked at the current exhibit, which is all about pop surrealism, which, Annette and I both decided, is now our favorite kind of art. Check out the Flickr set for a couple of pictures, or see this book or check out this link, too.

We had dinner at a place on the Lincoln Street Mall called Rosinella, which we (and these people here, too) thought was excellent. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it most certainly reminded us of a lot of places we ate in Florence. Great food.

And then, before we left this morning, the sun came out! That’s when I took the picture at the top of this entry and a few others (see the set on Flickr). It is also as close as I came to a “hot chick” in a bikini on this trip– no photos of that, unfortunately. So, we’ll go back to SoBe at some point, though we’ll probably either go back to Key West or some other locale around here.

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