I love Miami. I love it for the beach, the nightlife, the food, the international vibe and the culture. I’ve been there with a girls’ getaway weekend, a bachelorette party, for DesignMiami and as a couple’s trip with my husband. It never struck me as a family destination until my husband and I decided that we wanted to go to Miami and, well, we’ve got two kids! I’m pleased to report that Miami is great family destination too, and I can’t wait to go back.
We were graciously hosted by Sense Beach House, which is a boutique hotel in SoFi. SoFi stands for South of Fifth, and it’s the neighborhood where I’d want to live in my I-live-in-Miami fantasy. It’s a high-end residential neighborhood at the tip of the island, but not too far from the heart of South Beach. And while SoFi is known for its modernistic condo towers, authentic Art Deco architecture still abounds. The vibe is chic and lively, without the tourist traffic and Spring Breakers of South Beach (which was a concern because we visited at the end of March).
@sensebeachhouse has got style… in stripes! #beachchic #Miami #instaTBN A photo posted by Liz Borod Wright (@travelogged) on
After a three-plus hour drive from my parents’ house in Sarasota, all four of us were thrilled to get out of the car at Sense Beach Hotel and give the keys to valet parking. As I checked in, I was impressed right away by the airy, beach-chic decor. I was a little worried that everything was a little too chic, given that we were there with a four-year-old and a one-year-old. But everyone was very friendly, and we felt at home right away. And it turned out to be a great hotel for families because the rooms are very quiet. If you stay at a party hotel, the noise can keep you up all night, which would be a total nightmare with kids.
We loved our stripe-y room and our little balcony with ocean view, but we weren’t in there for long. Having stayed in several hotels in Miami, I’d say that this spacious, modern room was a good value in a city known for smaller, expensive rooms. There was a beach tote waiting for us with three towels so we grabbed it and headed across the street to the beach. We are major beach people and nothing was keeping us from Miami’s calm, turquoise waters. The 18-room hotel has a rooftop plunge pool that my son wanted to swim in, but he was vetoed by his beach-crazed parents.
We hit the tide just right and our four-year-old got a kick out of how far he could go without it getting too deep thanks to the sandbar. We met up with friends from Los Angeles who also happened to be in Miami. (They were our friends from New York, so they were participating in the New York-Florida pilgrimage, despite being LA-based.) It was a perfect afternoon spent at the beach with good friends. Watching the cruise ships leave the harbor from our spot on the beach made it even better, as did a stop at the gelato shop one block away from the hotel.
We all went to dinner at Fratelli La Bufala, a European pizza chain that was just a few blocks away. Miami has incredible restaurants, but the kids were too tired for anything that wasn’t walking distance and pizza is always safe bet if we want our son to actually eat something. We sat outside and the pizza was excellent. After dinner, we wished that we had gotten a babysitter so we could go enjoy the nightlife. We were completely exhausted, so that softened our pain of not being able to go out. But next time, we’re getting a babysitter.
The next morning, we enjoyed an outstanding breakfast at The Local House, the restaurant at the hotel. We had our usual breakfast of fruit and pancakes (and cappuccino for me). I love the contrast of peaceful Miami in the morning, before most people have even thought about getting out of bed after a fun night out. The night before, The Local had been hopping but at 8am, it was only us and one other table. Since the beach is right across the street, it was easy to sneak in another beach visit before it was time to check out. Checking out is never fun, especially when the hotel has really earned its stripes. Sense Beach House, you made perfect sense to us!
Comped but Never Compromised: I received a complimentary stay for review purposes but I’m free to write whatever I want.