Days and nights blend into one another here in Miami.
Our first day was rather eventful.
We had major drama with our hotel. Allow me to explain.
We arrived at Miami International Airport about 10:35 pm Thursday night. As you can imagine, we all had long days before hand. Some of us had to work, others of us were scrambling to do some last minute trip preparations, and I personally had a ton of homework to finish (I’m an MBA student). Naturally by the time we made it to our hotel around midnight, we were all exhausted.
The reservation was for 2 rooms. One of the rooms we were assigned had not been serviced. The beds were not made and the bathroom had not been cleaned. I get it, it happens. The staff was hardly apologetic and quickly assigned us another room. The second room was fine but the door seemed to be broken. We later learned though it was a little wonky, it was secure. We brought it to the attention of the concierge and he sent the manger up. At this point we were obviously agitated, hungry, and tired. The manger was very dismissive and quite rude. Which did not go over well with me or my group. Instead of trying to be accommodating or even apologetic, he assured and demonstrated to us that the door was fine. After an exchange, he essentially told us we could cancel and leave if we were unhappy with the accommodations.
We prepaid for the hotel through Expedia. So I spent the next hour on the phone with Expedia’s customer service. The gentleman I spoke to was sincerely kind, and did everything in his power to help. But because it was after business hours there was little he could do to rectify the situation. You see when you use a 3rd party vendor like Expedia, Hotwire, Trivago, Kayak, etc. they simply cannot issue a refund without having it approved by the hotel’s management. Which in this case they DID NOT approve. So we had to either choose to stay, or to cancel our reservation without receiving a refund and then be stranded in Miami without a hotel reservation at 2am on a Friday morning. We chose to stay.
So for the record I would tell everyone reading this to NEVER STAY AT HOTEL CHELSEA in Miami because their customer service is absolute trash. But the rooms are decent for the price and the amenities and location are good.
We didn’t allow that experience to ruin our trip.
Friday morning we got up bright and early and headed to Puerto Sagua for an authentic Cuban breakfast.
I would highly recommend this quaint cafe to anyone seeking well priced delicious Cuban food. Everyone in my group enjoyed their meal.
After breakfast we spent some time exploring Collins street. There are a lot of familiar shops on and around that street. Sephora, H&M, Zara, MAC, Armani Exchange, and many hotels and restaurants. After popping in some stores and making videos and taking cute vacation pics, we realized how close we were to the beach. We went back to the hotel and changed into our bathing suits and took the 10 minute walk back to the beach.
We spent about an hour laying out, putting our feet in the ocean, and taking pictures.
By then we were ready to explore the area by the beach a little more. We were right in front of Mango’s which is one of the most popular restaurants in Miami. Seeing as how it was still early in the day, they weren’t as lively or busy as they are reputed to be. We took some pictures with some Parrots and listed to the live band.
This is where we ran into snafu # 2. We were standing on the strip trying to discuss our game plan for the rest of the afternoon, when we were accosted by a “promoter” and his “apprentice”. Through a series of interesting events we were almost hustled by these guys but ended up meeting a group of young ladies from Philadelphia who ultimately got us to Studio 23. This is where it got more interesting. My little cousin Shannon, the birthday girl, got the attention of someone who is marginally famous from the show Love and Hip Hop: Miami. She DM’d him and he is treating us Saturday night. Apparently he’s a big deal out here.
Before making it to Studio 23 we split up for dinner. Kayla and I headed to Miss Saigon – What the Pho? I’m a HUGE fan a pho, and this place had amazing reviews. It totally lived up to the hype!
Etta, Shannon and Armani went next door to The Licking Miami. They all really enjoyed their food even though the service was terrible. It took them FOREVER to have their orders taken and served.
So that was it for Friday. Saturday so far has been much better. But you’ll hear all about it tomorrow.