At the southeastern tip of Florida is one of the sunshine state’s—and the world’s—most highly desired vacation spots. Aptly referred to as The Magic City, Miami is a lively and vibrant hub of beautiful beaches, dazzling sunshine, entertaining culture and seemingly endless fun. In the heart of the Mid-Beach area are The Palms Hotel & Spa and Circa 39 Hotel. During a long weekend in this beloved city, I had the opportunity to visit these unique sister properties and experience what they—and Miami—all have to offer. Surrounded by gorgeous neighborhoods overflowing with new adventures and exciting venues, The Palms Hotel and Circa 39 proved to be a perfect home base to explore Miami Beach and enjoy some much needed R&R at two of the city’s most up and coming resorts.

The Palms Hotel and Spa

The Palms Hotel and Spa

The Palms Hotel & Spa

The Palms Hotel & Spa

With a location that’s just 12 miles from the Miami International Airport and several minutes from the festive enticement of South Beach, the Palms Hotel was a picturesque haven of serene offerings inspired by the very nature we were surrounded by. Located on a private stretch of reserved beach, the perfect placement of the property means guests have the option of choosing to stay in a stunning oceanfront view guestroom just like the one I was given. Floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows in my room overlooked The Palms’ gardens, an expansive shoreline and the magnificent Atlantic Ocean.  I sought out a small bite to eat not long after my arrival and soon found myself seated at Essensia Restaurant located on property. Long after my savory gourmet burger had settled and the ever-smiling staff had taken my plate away, I continued to stay right where I was. Frozen in a peaceful moment that I wasn’t ready to let go of. That moment of sitting on Essencia’s outdoor patio while breathing in the freshest air and taking in the beauty of the luscious green grounds around me.

The Palms Hotel & Spa

The Palms Hotel & Spa

When I was finally able to move from far-too-comfortable spot, I decided it was time to catch some sun by the pool instead. Large and heated, The Palms Hotel’s outdoor swimming pool was a pure tribute to island paradise. With private cabanas, elegant lounge chairs and speedy food services from The Tiki Bar, there was no where else I would’ve rather been in that precious moment then sunbathing and relaxing by the crystal blue waters. As evening came around, I met up with my travel companions at Essensia bar to start our trip off the right way—also known as cocktails. Seated on a large covered terrace with plush sofas and armchairs, we enjoyed a refreshing round of conscious cocktails and 100% sustainable, organic and biodynamic wine. After cocktail hour, I had the pleasure of comparing my lunch at Essensia Restaurant to evening dining at the establishment. While my lunch was absolutely scrumptious, dinner proved to be an equally memorable meal that catered to all the senses. Offering a seasonal, farm to table selection of wholesome global cuisine, Essensia delivered simplicity and sophisticated “green” dining through a menu brimming with fresh fare using exceptional flavors from local, seasonal, sustainable and organic ingredients.

Essensia Restaurant

Essencia Restaurant

Located just 321 km from Cuba, Miami is a city that has been permeated with Cuban influence and flair.  My companions and I set out to explore the various ways Cuba is reflected throughout the city with a food tour through Little Havana. With an intimate group of friends and several strangers (who quickly became new friends), we explored this charming Miami neighborhood with our Miami Culinary Tours guide, Mirka Harris. For two and a half hours, Harris introduced us to the rich history of the area as we tasted our way through the best Cuban bites in Little Havana. From the Medianoche Cuban Sandwich at El Pub Restaurant and handmade Chicken Empanadas at Exquisito Restaurant to Guava Pastelito at Yisell Bakery and freshly squeezed Guarapo Juice from Los Pinarenos Fruteria, the culinary tour was a foodie’s dream come true. Between our food stops we met local artists, witnessed the craft of cigar rolling and took a peek at the legendary Domino Park. With Harris’ passionate enthusiasm guiding us, we learned about Little Havana’s culture and heritage, visited family-owned restaurants, discovered hidden culinary gems and admired authentic Cuban cuisine and the stories behind those who make it.  Of course the only way to end any meal is with dessert so our tour ended with Azucar Ice Cream at Mamey Ice Cream where we left feeling both full and fulfilled by our culinary and cultural afternoon in Little Havana.

“Miami is a lively and vibrant hub of beautiful beaches, dazzling sunshine, entertaining culture and seemingly endless fun.”

Circa 39 Hotel

Circa 39 Hotel

After two luxurious nights at The Palms Hotel, it was finally time to explore Circa 39 Hotel. Newly renovated from top to bottom, The Palms Hotel’s sister property embraces a funky mix of styles, from modern beachside simplicity to loud, tropical decor and everything inbetween. With a gorgeous pool, charming courtyard, cozy guestrooms and more, it would’ve been very easy to remain on property for the duration of my stay and continue to have a wonderful weekend in The Magic City. However, the many neighborhoods of Miami were calling my name and reminding me that there was still much left to see. For my companions and I, our explorations brought us to Wynwood Brewing Company in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District. There we had the pleasure of stopping by Miami’s first craft production brewery  for a tour and tasting of fresh, delicious and creative beers. The Wynwood Arts District is appropriately spotlighted as one of the city’s most up-and-coming, trendy neighborhoods. The area is full of local art galleries and covered in the captivating graffiti of the Wynwood Walls. For a closer look, we embarked on a pedal bike tour with Wynwood Mural Tours. Our guide, Ryan the Wheelbarrow, led us up and down the vibrant streets while pointing out breathtaking pieces of graffiti art and effortlessly recalling fascinating details about the history and culture of street graffiti and their artist.

Circa 39 Hotel

Circa 39 Hotel

On my last day, it seemed only appropriate to end my stay in Miami in the same way it started — with cocktails of course! This time we traded in The Palms Hotel’s Essencia Bar for Circa 39’s WunderBar where Food & Beverage Director, Juanita Butler, led us in a cocktail demonstration and sampling of well-crafted spirits built around rum. As we laughed and chatted around the bar, tropical drinks in hand, I couldn’t believe our trip had already come to an end. We had only just begun and there was still so much left to be discovered! As I quickly learned, Miami is a city that you will never be able to depart from feeling satisfied. Part of Miami’s allure is that it’ll always leave you wanting more. Plan your next visit to begin that journey of discovering “more” such as more options for first rate dining. Consider dining under the stars on the outdoor terrace of South Beach’s Kilma where you’ll experience a blend of the most original global recipes together with the freshest prime ingredients. For a more casual dining adventure, swing by the funky, eclectic R House Wynwood or the new Spanish-Mediterranean tapas restaurant, Cena By Menchy. If there’s one thing Miami taught me, it’s that you’ll be at a loss for choices when it comes to dining no matter what cuisine you’re craving. Perhaps the “more” you desire is just the chance to sit back, relax and enjoy a stay at a beautiful resort in this breathtaking city. That’s where the Palms Hotel and Circa 39 Hotel come in. From the peaceful tranquility of the Palms Hotel Spa to great prices on various tour packages, everything about these two properties is designed to facilitate your best stay possible in Miami. Whether for a weekend or an extended stay, plan your next getaway and let The Palms Hotel & Spa and Circa 39 Hotel welcome you to Miami Beach. It’s sure to be an experience you’ll never forget.

The Palms Hotel & Spa
3025 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33140
Reservations: 305.534.0505
www.thepalmshotel.com

Circa 39 Hotel Miami Beach
3900 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33140
Reservations: 305.538.4900
www.circa39.com