I'm spoiled. I admit it. I like having my hair and nails done and am not afraid to pay for it (ok spend HIS money for it. heh). We travel a lot so I find myself having to pick a new salon quite frequently. While in Coconut Grove I looked around a few of the salons and settled on Renova. I'm glad I did.
This is a full spa. They offer everything from waxing to massage, to facials to nails. I needed my hi-lights done, and got talked into adding some low-lights to it. Cost for both: $140
While he was washing out the coloring stuff, I decided to go ahead and let him cut it and blow it out too. This is $55 and includes a full scalp massage. Oh man did that ever feel good!
I adore the colors he chose (varying shades of blond) and am glad I let him surprise me rather than try to pick out the colors myself. He has a very good eye and feel for what his clients want. Turned out fabulous.
As for the cut, well, I like it, but will be going back in to get him to cut in some more layering. Not his fault, I wasn't real clear that I wanted just a ton of layers for a wispy-flighty-breezy feel. I am confident he'll do me right, and plan to pay for the full service again. (hey, it's an excuse for another scalp massage!)
I also had a manicure while here. The nail gal was fabulous. I let her pick a red shade, being in a daring mood (I usually go with subtle pinks). I have to tell you, this gal took some horrible nails and made them great. I mean they were so bad due to neglect that I was considering getting acrylics. No need now. I love my nails! Cost: $15
Next time I'm going for the full foot/hand spa special for $45.
Do give Renova a try. They know their stuff... and they feed ya the best mocha cappuccino ever.
PROS: Wonderful staff
CONS: pricey, but worth it
My first tattoo was over 30 years ago. Yikes. I haven't got a ton of them, but I think I'm a fairly good judge of what's good and what's not by now. My first was put on by Rick himself at Burt Grimms back in the day. Not to dis Rick at all, but this is the tat I wanted covered on my visit to Lucky Devil. It was just so dang faded after all these years....
I decided on a large black panther head for the cover up, to match my life-mate's tat. Besides, I just like big cats. heh. We went in and found what we wanted, then watched the artist work for a bit. Then we left and came back to watch him again. This guy was gooood.
I let him do the work for $300 and am very pleased with it. You cannot tell it's a cover-up at all. He improvised a bit on the coloration and did a great job of it. I'm happy a month later and would absolutely go back to him for another one.
PROS: Good work
CONS: pricey, but aint they all?
At first glance you might just discount this fabulous store as being geared towards the artsy-at-heart teenager, but go in anyway. You will find that these clothes really will work for us kid-at-heart 40-somethings too.
As with most of the boutiques in the Coconut Grove area, this place tends toward the flowing skirts and jagged-edged tops I love so much.
One major plus is that this place has fabulous staff who are happy to help you find just the right combo to fit your body style without ever making you feel old.
Pricey, but that's just Coconut Grove in general.
PROS: Cool clothing
Azul is one of the many small boutiques in Coconut Grove that I love browsing through. They tend towards the soft, flowy kind of clothing reminiscent of the days of the Flower Children. Skirts with yards of fabric, silky little tops, lots of beaded belts.... kind of a Bohemian-cum-Indian look. I adore it.
The draw-back is that these cool clothes will cost you a pretty penny, the mitigator is that these are well-made and worth the hefty price tags.
PROS: Wonderfully fun feminine clothing
Coconut Grove really loves their little high-priced boutiques. There's one every few steps, it seems. One of my personal faves is Ella.
This is a niche store dealing mainly with Bohemian-style womens clothing. I adore the flowing skirts and silky camisoles, what I do not adore is the hefty price tags.
Luckily, they frequently have specials and this last visit I managed to score two tops regularly priced at over $50 each for only $10 each. SCORE!
This is a very cool shop to wander around in and drool, but before you buy, go ahead and score all the racks. You'll be surprised at some of the killer deals you will find.
PROS: Awesome clothes, some good mark-downs
CONS: Generally high-end prices
I fell in love with Birkenstocks about 18 months ago and have since found them a bit hard to find. Well, ok, the Papillion line for women from Birkenstock is a little hard to find, and when you do find them they tendto be higher than you expect. This was why I was so happy to find The Leathery while wandering aimlessly through Coconut Grove the other day.
They have a very nice selection of all kinds of leather shoes and sandals, but particularly they have many styles of my fave sandals, and they are not outrageously priced. The pair I want now are only about $70 here, well in keeping with normal prices for this brand.
I've been in to look at this pair twice now and the person running the place hasn't acted bothered by me at all yet. He has in fact been very friendly on my visits and extremely helpful.
PROS: good selection, reasonably priced
I've been to numerous zoos across the US, and this one in Miami is about the middle of the road on a national scale.
The one major plus here is that they do have a gorgeous white Bengal tiger in a beautiful area, but that hardly makes up for the hefty admitance price. Maybe I'm spoiled by the free entrance to the DC Zoo, but I almost choked when I saw they wanted around $12 per person here for adults.
They have some nice enclosures, but the animals themselves are fairly sparce making it a bit of a disappointment overall. The sprawling enclosures sometimes makes it hard to even locate the specimen inside with so few animals in a given space.
They do also offer a behind-the-scenes tram tour for an additional cost. I believe it was $3.95 per person. Regular tram rides are only $1 for an all-day bracelet.
The grounds are nice and well-kept, but it was just pretty disappointing to me. I understand that they are still rebuilding from Hurricane Andrew, but Sand Diego kicks Miami's butt right now zoo-wise, and DC kicks it entrance-fee wise. 3 stars. If it were maybe only about $5 to get in, they would have gotten 4 stars... but I have to rate based on bang-for-the-buck and it's not here.
PROS: White Bengal Tiger
CONS: Entrance fee too high
Cafe Med is right on South Beach in the heart of all the action. Their menu is mainly Mediterranian, but they have several specials each night. That's what drew us in... the plates of huge lobster tales with a fairly big Filet Mignon...
So we sat on the sightwalk to people-watch while we dined and simply ordered that lobster dinner special without asking to the prices. Big mistake. The regular items were a little high but this is South Beach after all.. we figured this special was in keeping with those prices. ahem.
First, the portions were huge and cooked perfectly, but the lobster had a bit too much hot seasoning for me right in the middle of the tail. Also, the drawn butter was on the verge of acrid, likely it scalded during the melting. ick. This came with a mound of mashed potatoes all done up with little tomatoes as eyes and some kind of leaves as tails or something. It was cute.
However, the final bill for those two entrees, one ice tea, and 2 Heinikens came to $182. I almost choked. My companion didn't blink an eye but I have to tell you, I've eaten at much better places for less.
Skip this one in spite of the 4 star rating I'm giving them.
PROS: decent food cutely presented
CONS: Way over priced
When in the greater Miami area, my first recomendation is to stay at one of the small boutique hotels like the Clinton or the Chesterfield... but when on business at the Port-of-Miami, you might be better off right here at the Marriott Residence Inn.
The place is very nice and te maids are fantastic. The rooms are typical of the chain in that they're all more like apartments than hotel rooms, complete with fully equipped kitchens.
There is a small pool and BBQ area where they have happy hour with free hot dogs and burgers between about 5-7PM, and breakfast is free in the morning from 6-10(ish). Not gourmet fare by any means... but free is free and it's edible.
The best thing is the free broadband Internet access in every room. It's fast and easy and I've experienced zero glitches with it.
So, if yu're coming to this area on vacation, opt for a small beachy place, but if awaiting your cruise or on business.. this is your spot. 4 stars.
PROS: Clean, good location
CONS: well, it's a chain...
The Clarion Beach Resort is located up on the northern arm of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, a kind of bedroom community on the beach just above Lauderdale itself. It's a nice, clean little area with lots of shopping and dining readily within walking distance... and off the beaten path of the would-be Spring Breakers.
This Clarion sits directly on the sand and has it's own stretch of fairly pristine beach. They do supply beach towels and lounge chairs for a low price.
The restaurant attached is a Damons Bar & Grille which has decent food for a fair price, and also happens to be our favorite spot for partaking in a bit of NTN (National Trivia Network).
The rooms range from basic to suites with commisurate pricing. They're all pretty clean and most have some kind of beach view.
I'm going with 4 stars here. If you haven't the stomache for the bar nightlife of the main Lauderdale beach area, go on up here to Lauderdale-by-Sea where it's quieter and you can relax. Nice spot, this.
PROS: Nice quiet location