Jet Set: Miami

Here on the fourth floor, we love to make the most of our
weekends. Whether it’s a staycation in the Big Smoke or weekend getaways, we’re
always up to discover new things to do. We recently jetted off to Miami (a three-hour flight away) and loved every minute of it. We put together a list
of what to do, where to stay and where to eat (plus a few helpful ‘what to
avoid’ tips). If you haven’t got plans yet for Family Day weekend, this is an awesome and easy trip to take last-minute.


Where to stay:

The Delano
Hotel
(1685 Collins Ave.)

This gorgeous urban oasis is located in South Beach and has
everything a vacation goer could dream of. Styled with
Alice in Wonderland in
mind, the decor includes whimsical touches, high ceilings and a beautiful pool to
lie by (known as the
Orchard).
Rooms start at $450 a night, and go up (way up). The hotel comes complete with a dance club (
FDR),
fine dining (
Bianca
and
UMI)
and its very own Vegas-style pool party every Sunday. 

Obviously, this hotel isn’t for vacationers on a budget. If you’re
looking to splurge on other areas of your trip, consider staying on Ocean Avenue
in the
Beacon Hotel. This
accommodation provides free breakfast (waffles, eggs, pancakes!) and 2-for-1
drink specials.
Soho Beach House
(4385 Collins Ave.)

This spot is ah-mazing. Although Soho House is a private club,
the hotel can be booked by guests. Lucky. The service is impeccable, the beds
are what dreams are made of and you’re just steps away from a glorious pool and the
ocean. Sitting by the ocean in the big comfortable chairs, drinking cocktails
and being served chips and guac makes all your worries go away. The beach team
will get you sunscreen, fluffy towels, food, magazines, whatever else you need.


Where to eat:

Prime One Twelve (101 Ocean Dr.)

Known as Kim Kardashian’s
favourite Miami restaurant (and located across the street from The
Hilton Bentley
home to Kourtney and Khloe when they “took” Miami), this
steak house still has us drooling over their dishes. Our favourites were the
Hawaiian Big Eye Tuna Tartare w/ Cassava and the 8 oz. Filet Mignon. Be sure
to make a reservation in advance and go early to enjoy their selection of
cocktails.  


Cecconi’s
(Soho House, 4385 Collins Ave.)

This restaurant is an
onsite favourite spot among locals. At night, it sparkles with little lights and is has an outdoor garden. On Sundays, Cecconi’s serves the ‘feast’
 – one of the
most spectacular presentations we’ve ever seen – a brunch with made-to-order omelettes, Parmesan chunks, big beefy shrimp, fresh juices and just about anything else
your heart desires. There are too many things to talk about with this property,
so here
is a great Toronto Star article that sums it up. Check it out. 


Mandolin (4312
NE 2nd Ave.)

Be sure to visit this Aegean Bistro called Mandolin. Its lovely outdoor
garden feels like you’ve stepped into a perfect little spot on a Greek
island. Definitely try the Turkish sampler, the grilled octopus and the
moussaka. It 
also helps to wash it all down with some delicious Spanish cava.
Yardbird (1600 Lenox
Ave.)

Named one of 50 Best New Restaurants in the US by Bon Appetit in 2012, you’ll want to call ahead for reservations. The cocktails are strong, the food
is rich and the crowd is loud. Eat: the fried green BLT and the fried chicken.
Drink: Bourbon (we tried the Southern Revival).
What to do:

Daytime:

The best pastime in South Beach, is well, the beach! The
water is warm, the people-watching is excellent and the sand is white. Pack a
cooler, bring a portable iPod dock and sunscreen and relax! 


Drinks:

Grab a drink on the rooftop of the Perry Hotel, before
heading out for the night. The rooftop has beautiful views of the city
accompanied by sounds of crashing waves below.


Night time:

If you’re up for drinks and dancing be sure to check out
Wall at the W Hotel. This intimate club has a nice atmosphere, great music and
a beautiful pool outside if you need to escape for some fresh air. 

Where to avoid:

If you’re looking to have conversation or a romantic dinner, avoid Nobu Miami. Amazing food and
service, however, the atmosphere is unlike other Nobu locations and is more
family friendly (read: loud and busy).

Nikki Beach, Miami. This dated venue does not live up to the hype. Plus, there’s no pool.

Mansion Night club. Don’t. Just don’t.

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Rave: Hot Weekend Escapes

On The Fourth Floor, we work hard, but we also know when it’s time to relax and smell the… margaritas. The colder weather already has us yearning for a place where we can explore a new city or break out our bathers and score some quality beach hair.   

There are a ton of options when it comes to warmer-weather escapes for an extra long weekend or week-long getaway. We’ve narrowed it down to a few hot spots that we’ve tried and loved (or would love to try). 

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Providenciales is the most developed island within the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British Overseas Territory and about a three and a half hour plane ride away from Toronto.  It boasts having one of the ten best beaches in the world and the third largest reef in the world, if you’re interested in swimming with the fishes. Which we are. 


There’s a range of accommodations, from all-inclusive resorts to rental villas, with the majority being in Grace Bay – the tourist centre of Providenciales. Our dream bed? It’s at the Windsong Resort. 

Miami, Florida
We’re not going to lie, a lot of our Miami knowledge stems from our love of Dexter. We hear the nightlife is amazing, but Miami is also known for its beaches, art galleries, Little Havana and, about 30 miles away, the Everglades National ParkRide an airboat and check out some gators, or hit the beach and check out some piña coladas. Miami is a versatile city with lots to see and shop.   


There are a variety of accommodation options available, but if money was no object, we’d stay at the W in South Beach

Austin, Texas
Not only is it another great U.S. destination, Austin is also the live music capital of the world. In addition to listening to some amazing tunes, Austin has an awesome selection of vintage shopping. For nightlife, Sixth Street is the place to be and if you’re there in March, you’ll get to experience the SXSW festival. Another random perk of a springtime visit is the Congress Avenue Bridge Bats. Each night around sunset some of the approximately one million bats take flight in search of food. A definite sight to see.   


Our favourite Austin hotel – Hotel San Jose

Las Vegas, Nevada
Vegas is great for a weekend escape, since it’s just long enough to get a true taste, without being so long that you’re sucked into the never-ending lights, gambling opportunities and amazing shows. Cruise the strip, take in a pool party at Tao then catch a Vegas show. There’s a lot to see and do in this desert town, but if you’re on the adventurous side, 30 minutes east you can hike up Red Mountain and zipline your way down. 


We’d love a weekend stay at the Cosmopolitan. And remember, what happens in Vegas…usually ends up on Facebook. You’ve been warned.

Los Cabos, Mexico
Located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, Los Cabos boasts beautiful beaches, a warm climate and tons of beachside activities. From paddle boarding in the ocean to delicious Mexican food (check out Mi Casa) and stunning natural scenery, there are a myriad of options while hanging out beachside. 


If we had a chance to splurge on a luxury resort, the One& Only Palmilla would be our first choice. 

Which warm locale would you choose? Let us know @rockitpromo.

Rave: How we’re spending our holidays

We’ve been counting down to this time of year since, well, last December! Whether we celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or something else, we’re all looking forward to a few days of rest, relaxation and time with our nearest and dearest. Everyone has different family holiday traditions, so we thought it would be fun to share what we’re up to over the coming weeks.
My fiancé and I are spending Christmas Eve with the in-laws, Christmas Day with my parental units and then taking off for the Dominican Republic (alone) for one week of all-inclusive bliss! After a hectic, fun-filled fall, I’m craving some time off to lay on a beach (wearing SPF 50, of course) and read a good book. I’ve been counting down the days – literally, with a white board on my fridge – to bathing suits, flip flops and snorkeling. Added bonus: we’re gone for New Year’s, eliminating the need to plan for the most-hyped night of the year. 
Michelle was so jealous of my plans, she’s bringing her whole family to a resort down the road. 😉 See you at the airport, Mich!
My family has had a home in Florida since I was very young, so we travel there every year during the holidays. We visit my dad (who lives there six months of the year), catch up on loads of movies and books, eat good food, shop and rest. We have a beautiful lake outside our door and egrets and ducks that run around wild. On New Years Eve, we make wishes off of the bridge over the lake. It doesn’t matter if the weather is warm, or cool – it’s just our very special escape. It’s one of my favorite places in the whole world. Our home away from home. 
Lara
I’m spending my holiday in NYC, my home away from home.  🙂
 
Okay, I lied a little. I’ll actually be staying in Brooklyn at my friend’s house, while she’s away visiting her boyfriend in Switzerland. My plans there consist of:

– Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at least once to commute into the city.
– Exploring the High Line


– Seeing one of my favourite bands on New Years Eve and Day (and maybe also on December 30 if I end up getting a scalped ticket once I’m there)! 
– Eating dinner at least once at a low-key restaurant I discovered (and am a little hesitant to share, but be that as it may, they deserve it), Alta in the West Village. 
– Trying the banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery. 
– Trying not to eat at all of the restaurants of every chef that I watch and love on Chopped, like Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli, Aarón Sánchez, Marcus Samuelsson, Chris Santos (especially Chris Santos) and Geoffrey Zakarian. 
– Going to Eataly for ingredients to make delicious home-cooked meals in my Brooklyn abode. 
– Doing what I always do when in NYC:  just walking walking walking, looking looking looking, and smiling smiling smiling.

If The Ghost of Christmas Past were to tell me anything, it’s that the first half of my vacation will be spent Christmas shopping. Every year I tell myself I won’t wait until the last minute, and every year I find myself scrambling. I’ll also watch lots of Christmas movies (It’s A Wonderful Life, Elf and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer are some of my favourites). Then comes the really good stuff…
Christmas Eve
Dinner with my boyfriend, Jesse, and his brother (Kelly) and sister-in-law (Rita). We’re going to have a big feast at my house with lobster as the main course. Jesse’s cooking – he’s the best cook ever.
Christmas Day
Christmas dinner with my entire immediate family, plus Kelly and Rita. So like 10 people and two dogs in my tiny apartment. Turkey and the works. It’s stressing me out. I will definitely be drinking.
Boxing Day
A lunchtime visit with the grandparents (mom’s side). Afternoon/evening – visiting my dad’s side of the family at my grandmother’s house. It’s a tradition – we gather there every year, eat ourselves silly, drink lots of wine and exchange gifts. 
Aside from fitting in as much sleep as I can, that’s pretty much it. I’m sure more fun stuff will pop up, but I’m just taking that as it comes. Merry Christmas!
I live away from all of my family, so the holidays are really the only time I get to see them all at the same time, in the same place. My fiancé, Justin, and I are celebrating Christmas together in Toronto on December 23; then we’ll head our separate ways for family bashes. My family is really big, so it’s always loud and hectic, but lots of fun. Lots of kids, lots of laughs and the odd drink or two.
 Evidently, we are people that put costumes on our pets. 
I’m going to St. Thomas (Ontario, not the Virgin Island, unfortunately) to see my mom, dad, brother and sister at various places over the holidays. One of our Christmas celebrations is at a farm, so we will often hook up a wagon to a tractor and head out into the countryside for a snowy ride (complete with hot chocolate and sitting on hay bales). I guess I am a small-town girl at heart.

I am over going out for New Years Eve. Bars are too expensive, too crowded and ultimately disappointing. So this year, our good friends are having a house party in Leslieville. Everyone is bringing snacks and drinks, and I know it’s going to be a blast. 

I love that holidays mean quality time with people you care about (and, I also love getting gifts).
On December 23, my first day of holiday vacation, I will probably just sleep in and watch some holiday movies. Elf is a favourite.
On Christmas Eve, I am going back to my suburbian hometown, Pickering, to have dinner with my family, which is always entertaining. It’s become a tradition that later in the evening, a few of my girlfriends (who are also visiting back home) and I get together to enjoy some wine and giggles.
And this year, on December 25 at 5 p.m. (yes, I am also counting down), I will be heading south to the Dominican Republic with my mom and two sisters. I won’t be checking email for seven days, which will take a couple of days (make that hours) to get used to.  
I plan on relaxing, reading, tanning, exploring, dancing and potentially having a holiday fling (joking)! I am also happy to report that I will still be in the Dominican for New Year’s Eve, so will be ringing in 2011 wearing a little summer dress, sandals and bare legs!
 New Year’s Eve in the Dominican Republic will look something like this.
For the holidays, I’m a Miami girl through and through. There, I’ll be on a steady diet of Original Pancake House chocolate chip pancakes and Cheesecake Factory grilled cheese. 
 Delicious chocolate chip pancakes.
I can be found by the pool in a mismatched bathing suit, reading Cutting for Stone or Half Broke Horses. During tanning breaks, I’ll be shopping at Barney’s, Bloomies and Saks. Dinners and movies are with friends and family; the food is always good and the movies are always comedies. After a week away, I’ll come back relaxed, tanned and wearing a new Alex Wang outfit. Yesss.
My hubby, Ariel, and I are staycationing. The plan is to put our son into daycare (sorry Oliver!) and enjoy our time together (ALONE!) just doing everyday things. Movies, lingering lunches, massages, naps. You get the idea. Happy Holidays!
My holiday vacation will be filled with shopping, movies, coffee dates, trying new restaurants, cottaging and most of all, partying. 
 Christmas at Muskoka Wharf.
I’m most excited about a tradition with my dad and three sisters, where we spend the day together and shop for Christmas presents for my mom. We’ve kept this tradition going for 20 years, and it is easily our favourite day of the year. Especially since it gives us all time to enjoy lunch together, chat and take in the Christmas-y spirit!