Miami – Chris Rea & The Great British Actress! ( part 1 of 4 )
Right lets get over the first hurdle. The title. I think you may have worked out where I’m writing about. Anyone guess the sub – title though ? It’s fairly straightforward. One of Chris Rea’s biggest hits was “on the beach”, and the great British actress, well let’s face it, it could be any one of hundreds but I chose Joan Collins. Why? Our second hotel was in Collins Avenue. Yep I am a fiendish little blogger.
Our holiday had been a long time coming. I was exhausted, work was taking its toll, and GB had since starting a new job been up to her ears in the development of courses for all aspects of social working. Don’t we live exciting lives eh!.. We needed the break and after what seemed like a lifetime, ( it had been just under a year in planning ), we were finally flying toward the warmer, sunnier, climate, of Florida for part one of our 11 day break.
We stayed by the airport overnight just to avoid any last minute hiccups and after a very pleasant meal and stopover at the Premier Inn, ( Lenny Henry is right, it’s a good nights shut – eye ), we hot footed it over to Heathrow to catch our big bird courtesy of Virgin. We had A little burst of Dizzee from a team member at the airport in between free drinks and food at No.1 Lounge. Not quite sure how they got that name, but quite frankly it was a very poor advert for a “perfect airport escape”.
The pictures on the website show people chilling in their suspended cocoon chairs, peacefully reading or having a laugh. All I would say is that these people must have got there at opening time. When we arrived it was busier than the the main airport ( slight exaggeration granted ), with nowhere to sit. Parts were closed off and the only thing chilled was my wallet after losing 120 quid of its lining booking No.1 Lounge. It was noisy and the food was what I would expect from a burger van ( no offence meant burger vanners). Never again, until next time.
That was the first of Rollos random tips. This is the second of Rollos random travel tips. Don’t waste money on expensive upgrades. Book exit seats. We had more room on the way there in these, than in our premium economy seats on the way back. That’s what I found anyway. Of course if Mr. Branson wants to chuck us a cheeky upgrade to Upper Class next time I will be more than happy to review it for him. Over to you Dicky!
The flight itself was very pleasant. The cabin staff were polite, attentive and friendly enough, the in-flight entertainment was first class and it was a completely trouble free journey. My last Virgin flight was a good while back, the food wasn’t overly great then, so it pains me to say rather than improving, it seems that the edibles have actually gone downhill. The meals provided were at best ropey, ( look at me getting technical ). I know it’s cattle class but come on Virgin, sort out the tucker for yer muckers.
Four of us made up the group. My snow buddy ( and now cruise buddy ) TH, and his Dizzee Rascal rapping partner Juzza. Then there was GB and myself. We had separate hotels for travelling purposes. After landing and collecting a throng of luggage we Tally – Ho’ed off to our respective lodgings for the next two days in our consciously uncoupled transporting aides, that’s a taxi to everyone else. ( ooh, I’m quoting Gwyneth & Chris, with the conscious uncoupling… well I did sit next to them in a restaurant once so we are virtually best friends ).
Our base for the first part of our hollybobs was Ocean Drive. We had been up since 7am, not particularly early I will give you that but with travelling it was tiring and we were both looking forward to thrusting our cases into the room and trying to kick back. As we pulled up at The Leslie Hotel my whole being sank. Ocean Drive itself was awash with a typical hipness and busy-ness that was expected. What was more difficult to instigate was getting our luggage from the sidewalk ( look at me going Yankee Doodle ) to the hotel reception.
There was no porter. No assistance was offered. It’s funny looking back but quite clearly The Leslie had plenty of staff outside. The problem was that they were so insistent on getting you sat down in the independently owned restaurant that swamped the walkway, that you were blocked from getting into the reception. GB was in the meantime picking up the contents of her handbag after it fell over and out into the road. This was not the start of the holiday we were looking for.
Finally, after evading numerous offers of food, and dodging half a dozen waiters out front we made it inside with our cases. In the end we went in through the side door reserved for the bar staff, as getting hassled each time I took a case in was getting right on my Messerschmitts. I felt like there was something missing as I stood at the desk in the lobby. Then I realised exactly what it was. The one thing you can rely on an American for is a big bouncy totally overboard welcome. Or maybe in Miami you can’t.
The guy behind the desk if I’m being James ( Blunt ), was about as interested in us being there as we were of getting a table out front. It felt like us turning up at 10pm was a chore. In fairness it was all our fault that Virgin Airlines flight arrivals coincide with desk mateys tea break. We were tired, hungry, and a little bit strung out. Oh and it was …. Wait for it…. $21 for two bottles of beer. We got our room keys and headed off to freshen up. We had no idea where to go, and captain helpful wasn’t forthcoming with ideas or maps etc… It was down to GB and myself to seek out food and favour.
As we were both weary we just decided not too head to far. After a relaxing stroll up and down the road, and with rain in the air, I took the liberty of deciding for us. A short walk from our bolt hole was Tides. It’s a plush old place, and was virtually double bubble for the same length of stay as at the Leslie. The menu seemed reasonable though. Dining Al fresco We had a shared platter for two which included the following:
All very well cooked and prepared. Nothing too fancy, but all we wanted was food to “tide us over” boom boom!…. There was a lot of food, so we also shared a main of Fajitas. Well you know what they say. When in Rome, have Mexican. It was much smaller than expected thankfully and the beef was cheddar gorgeous. A really enjoyable finish to the day. I think it’s worth the Rollo seal of approval. A solid 7 out of 10 and good value for your uncle buck. Well done Tides Hotel.