You don’t have to leave the ‘burbs for solid staycay. While neighborhoods like Coral Gables and Coconut Grove may not have the street cred of more hip stomping grounds like Wynwood or the beach, they go way back and feature a beautiful contrast of old- and new-world Florida in the Magic City. Take a drive down those banyan-covered streets, swoon over foodie-approved restaurant eats and bayside views, and settle into your new fave mainland retreats.
Start off with what’s possibly the best bubbly brunch and buffet in all of SoFlo. Nestled in The Biltmore’s Mediterranean-style courtyard is Fontana, one of Coral Gables’ swankiest upscale Italian spots. Snag a spot by the fountain and keep the champagne comin’ because this ish is bottomless, and the buffet is the gift that keeps on giving. This brunch doesn’t stop at breakfast staples, it takes itself to a whole other level with offerings like caviar, carved meats, and even sushi.
To wind down after all that werk you did on the buffet, make your way over to Coconut Grove for some early afternoon self-gratification at Jurlique Spa at the Mayfair Hotel & Spa. During Miami Spa Month, book a Swedish massage or a hydrating rose facial for special rates, and emerge feeling restored and smellin’ fine. Vegans and animal-friendly folk should definitely check this place out, because their treatments only use certified-organic plants and herbs from their own farms in South Australia.
Afternoon treats and tropical landscapes
After you’ve got your fill, walk it off with a trip over to The Kampong. This stunning botanical garden has an incredible view of the Bay (and if you look real hard, maybe some manatees). They offer tours, but you’re welcome to stroll through 9 acres of Spanish and Southeast Asian-inspired tropical gardens. The grounds once belonged to horticulturist David Fairchild, and now serves as a national landmark and educational center. Get your conservation on, and find exotic fruits and plants.
Sunset dining and sky high vistas
The sun’s about to set, and after a relaxing afternoon of strolling through the Grove’s tropical streets, it’s time to refuel. End your evening at Ariete, a New American-style eatery located right on Main Highway, for their seasonally inspired menu and buttery farmhouse rolls that would bring a tear to Paula Deen’s eye. Go for the short rib – it’s prepared pastrami style, which adds a nice, salty, cured flavor. Don’t skimp on dessert. Those sweet cream donut holes are seriously to die for. But if you’re having trouble making your pick, try out their prixe fixe, three-course Miami Spice menu for a meal that’ll have you seeing stars (without breaking the bank).
If you’ve got the room, treat yourself to a nightcap and views so sweet they’ll serve as a second dessert over at the Panorama Sky Lounge, Sonesta Coconut Grove’s rooftop pool bar. As its name suggests, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of Biscayne Bay from this romantic, eighth-floor locale. Stars, sky, and a craft cocktail sound like a perfect night to us.