What did we do today?
We woke up to another gloriously sunny morning and decided today to treat ourselves to lunch at the Biltmore instead of breakfast. We really couldn’t justify their huge breakfast and a lunch so we walked in to the shopping centre of Coral Gables to buy a cheaper and smaller breakfast. This is City Hall and the statue is of George Merrick who boght the land the city is now on and developed the Biltmore and encouraged the building of all the amazing houses. He deserves a statue outside City Hall.
Unfortunately, when viewed from certain angles, the scroll he is holding seems to be something altogether different!
One of the things on James’ to do list this holiday was have a bagel so we were pleased to see a bagel bar. We each had a bagel with cream cheese – mine was pumpkin and walnut and was delicious as it had sugared walnuts and lots of cinnamon. Not a healthy option but one so delicious every calorie was worthwhile. Washed down with a small Starbucks latte.
Instead of taking one of the hotel’s courtesy cars, we walked there and back which is probably around 3 miles. It is warm but the streets are so shady it is very comfortable for walking in. Plus, it is an area we all felt very safe walking around in. The locals were friendly and helpful – they stopped and volunteered help when they saw us standing there with our map.
We walked back passed the Merrick House, where it all began for Coral Gables.
Inside the cavernous lobby they have 2 of these striking aviaries with pretty little birds inside.
Some of the lobby looks as if it belongs in the Arabian nights and then other parts have this extraordinary panelled and painted ceiling. It is such a stunning building.
Outside, the swimming pool is one of the many jewels in the Biltmore’s crown. It is the largest hotel swimming pool in the Continental USA.
From this view you are looking towards one of the outside eating areas and the waterfalls, from which Jonny Weissmuller dived during spectacular shows the Biltmore put on.
Along the right hand side of this view of the pool, are private gardens with luxurious recliners to sit on plus an open sided sitting room area, all secluded from the rest of the guests. Well, unless they are nosey like I am 🙂
It was never very busy by the pool so whatever time we arrived we had a choice of chairs. The charming young men who tended the poolside area brought you iced water.
Or maybe a Mojito? This one had a strip of sugar cane in it – nice touch.
Plus anything else you fancied from the menu. American service really is exemplary. They make you feel as if nothing is any trouble and they are genuinely pleased to be able to help you. We ate poolside. A blue cheese burger and fries. It was fabulous, everything a burger should be and cooked how I like it. I did eat every morsel of the burger but only about half the fries.
I was really sad to leave the Biltmore. That has to be one of the very best hotels I have stayed in, anywhere in the world. It was all old world charm and grace and a place where quality and service were excellent. I felt pampered and spoilt and cocooned from the real world. I can not fault the Biltmore and highly recommend it. Unless that is, you crave excitement and lots going on around you, in which case it is not the place for you.
Where did we go next? The next place was James’ choice. I m not sure if he has forgotten he is no longer a twenty something but he has chosen South Beach. Well, actually he chose South Beach but that was full so we are very slightly North in Miami Beach.
The beach itself is stunning. Very wide and very long. Hurricane Sandy is just offshore so it was rough out there and very windy but nevertheless, this is a superb sandy beach. The iconic lifeguard huts are fabulous.
The architecture here is gorgeous, as I expected it to be.
We are going for a little bit more self catering than full hotel service, so we have hired a small apartment 1 block back from the beach, which is fine with me.
I actually enjoyed shopping for and preparing my simple supper of rocket, broccoli sprouts, tomatoes, ham, a peach and a nectarine. I would have been ok if I had stopped there but I didn’t :-(. An Oreo brownie and some crisps crossed the threshold of my lips.
I enjoyed making and drinking a tequila cocktail or two. But I disliked the scarey walk through this neighbourhood in search of a supermarket. In fact we, were all scared so we hopped in a cab back to our apartment.
I most disliked feeling so out of place. We wanted to sit and have a beer but all the bars along the beach were full of young trendy people, out to have a very long and debauched night. I am sure there is somewhere here for middle aged people and 10 year old boys but I haven’t found it yet. I just felt geriatric and bariatric. The peace and quiet of Coral Gables seem like a long way from here. I hope my ear plugs are effective!