Greetings from the beautiful Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Miami. It’s beautiful here :-). We all slept quite well and didn’t wake up until nearly 6am which was good. We waited an hour and then got up and dashed down to breakfast as we were starving as we’d had no dinner the night before.
What a vision this buffet breakfast was.
My strategy was to have a little of the cheese and ham, no carbs and stacks of fruit.
This was all delicious.
I avoided all the breads and pastries but did succumb to some granola which I had with some thick Greek yogurt and seeds.
It was amazing. I suspect the granola was full of oil and sugar but I only had a small amount.
I was still peckish after all that so I had a side plate with some ham, melon, grapes and tiny piece of Edam. We were hoping to just have a brunch and then an early supper, hence the second plate with some additional protein on it to keep me going for longer.
All washed down with gallons of freshly squeezed Florida orange juice and coffee. Thus fortified, we strolled along the beautiful streets to the destination of the day. It wasn’t far but we saw so many beautiful sights we kept stopping to take photos or just stand and admire. In the 5 or 6 blocks we walked, we saw:
a flock of Ibis’ just outside the hotel
this beautiful church which is opposite the hotel
lots of lizards
Spanish Moss, growing on the trees which to me is one of the images of the South
I like these street signs which are placed on the grass verges
This fountain was spectacular.
It is the De Soto Fountain
it was old, beautiful and utterly charming, situated on a roundabout.
Our destination for the day was the Venetian Pool which was built in 1923.
When the city of Coral Gables was built, a lot of the grand houses were made from Coral which is the bed rock of this part of Miami. When it had been quarried, it left a big ugly hole which was made in to this stunning pool. The pool is fed from a spring water so it is a lovely place to swim.
The design is inspired by Venice. They did a good job.
It seemed more real with a varied mix of people and we all had a lovely day here.
There were waterfalls to swim under, caves to swim in and it was large enough and not too busy so we could actually swim too. It was so good to stretch out after a day on planes yesterday.
Someone small certainly enjoyed himself!
Sorry folks back home but it is sunny, warm and bright here. I am loving the brightness after all the grey we have experienced at home lately.
After about 4 hours swimming, reading and snoozing we wandered back to the Biltmore to join a tour. The hotel has a fascinating history. It was built in the 1920’s and has been a successful hotel, a military hospital, abandoned and left to ruin but is now a restored and beautiful hotel again. It has 2 ballrooms, one of which was being set up for a wedding that evening.
The ceiling is made up of a series of painted wooden panels.
The Biltmore was one of the most fashionable resorts in the entire country in its heyday, hosting royalty of both the European and Hollywood variety. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland and Bing Crosby were frequent guests. In fact, everyone who was anyone – from politicians like President Franklin D. Roosevelt to notorious gangsters like Al Capone – stayed at The Biltmore. Jonny Weissmuller (who played Tarzan) was a swimming instructor here. You get a sense of the grandeur and glamour and we are all loving being here.
The hotel provides a car service to drive you around the local area. By mid – late afternoon we were very hungry so we took a car to Miracle Mile, the main shopping and restaurant area. We chose Seasons 52 because according to my Lonely Planet guide, the restaurant changes its specials weekly, depending on what is in season and favours local produce. I had a rum and coke and a couple of beers.
We had a booth which to me gave the place a 1970’s feel. That and the block design of the seat fabric and the dark brown walls. It was a good choice of restaurant – very comfortable and superb service.
For starters we had flatbreads and mine was topped with “shrimps”, pineapple and spicy chipotle sauce. It was good. It came on a very long platter but the flatbread was extremely thin so I don’t think it was too disastrous.
I tried Harvey’s which had lamb and Feta cheese and James’ mushroom with spinach, crab and shrimp under a panko crust!
For a main I went for a BBQ chicken salad with roasted peppers and corn with blue cheese. I was keeping things light so I could have a dessert.
The desserts were fun. They were tiny portions of classics such as key lime pie. At only $2.50 each and being so tiny, I confess I had 2: a pecan pie and a pumpkin pie. They were both delicious.
Well, how tempting was it, being brought all of them and asked to choose. I couldn’t decide so I had both the ones I wanted:-).
We decided to walk home rather than call for a car and we popped in to a supermarket. I enjoy food shopping in other countries. They had some things I had never seen or heard of before,
some commonly found things at home but that are different here, such as the red and blue corn,
and some things of quite a different scale. These are avocados which are the size of pineapples!
We stocked up on some snacks, fruit and wine and headed back to the Biltmore. Where we are now relaxing in our room, watching Hunger Games and sipping wine. I could get used to this luxury lifestyle.