For our fourth anniversary trip, Shannon and I took our first ever cruise. Since Shannon grew up in Georgia (and we weren’t sure about her ‘sea legs’) we opted to start with a simple three night/two day excursion to the Bahamas. We kicked off the trip but getting a hotel down on Miami Beach and spending some time around South Beach and Lincoln Road.
The Four Points by Sheraton on Miami Beach
This bit of our trip would be funny if it wasn’t so sad due to previous events leading up to it. You see, we chose to stay at the Four Points by Sheraton because I had a fairly decent amount of Starwoods points on my account. Enough, in fact, for a free stay at a beach resort. It’s the source of the points (and the subsequent effect) that speaks so poorly about the Starwoods brand.
- I was booked to stay at a Westin in Indianapolis back in August for Gen Con. When I got to the hotel, they had messed up and overbooked. The hotel paid to drive me (and my team from Wasabi Anime) across town, 30 minutes away, to stay a Sheraton. You can read about it here: http://www.tomcroom.com/?p=7783
- To make amends for the mistake, Starwoods had me open an account with them and put in enough points for two free nights at a mid-range hotel.
- When Shannon and I stayed at the Four Points in Miami Beach, there were two parties going on outside our window. Loud parties. Loud parties that blasted music until after 1:00 AM. Not ‘room parties’ – actual booked at the resort style parties with live DJs and whatnot. Here’s me tweeting about it: http://twitter.com/#!/TomCroom/status/134874330726281216
- The @StarwoodBuzz Twitter account saw my tweet and called the hotel. The hotel’s front desk called me the next morning. They apologized for the noise. Guess how they offered to make up for it… that’s right. They added more points to my Starwoods account.
South Beach, Miami, Florida
The next morning, we walked around South Beach and did some window shopping. I made sure to kiss my wife at 11/11/11 at 11:11 AM because it seemed like the thing to do while at the Art Deco Welcome Center. We bought a couple of things here and there and then stopped for breakfast at the Puerta Sagua Restaurant. The place is a retro style diner that serves Cuban food. Sitting on the stool at the counter, the restaurant emits an awesome classic touristy Florida vibe. Check out the place mats:
This place just SCREAMED classic cool. Seriously. When was that last time you walked into a diner that still sold cigarettes behind the counter by the food? (Photo here.) The meal was great and it was here, at this diner, that I discovered an amazing food fusion I had never heard of:
A plantain omelet.
FOOD HEAVEN. Unfortunately, I only got to eat half of it since Shannon also discovered how great it was but failed to order one for herself. The meal hit the spot (and it was served with fresh squeezed orange juice made in front of us!) so we continued walking up and down the strip for a couple more hours.
I love South Beach. The architecture coupled with the air and sunshine give the place a unique feeling. There’s a reason I live close enough to visit it regularly. Living there, though, I’m sure that the charm would eventually wear off. South Beach is my Santa Claus and I never want to lose the magic of believing.
After touring the town for a bit, we headed over to the Port of Miami and got on a really big boat…
To be continued.