Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, & Beyond
West of “Touristy” Miami
Slightly west of the more known Miami parts of the city–like South Beach mega-clubs, resorts, and Mambo’s on Ocean Drive–lies the beautiful Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, and Key Biscayne. Walking won’t get you anywhere here—get yourself some wheels and explore the more low-key Miami spots.
The Gables, as Miamians call it, is cleaner, more affluent, suburban, and very Latino on one side. On the other side, you’ll find the University of Miami muscle bros and beach babes. It’s a nice neighborhood to bring your folks to, or to go out for dinner and a movie. Expect very little partying here, but some fun stops in the area include the Venetian Pool, Village of Merrick Park outdoor mall, Miracle Mile, and the stunning Vizcaya Museum & Gardens.
A small but quaint residential neighborhood that’s mostly Latino and good for families. But their focus on small business and the chance to slow down is what makes The Grove so special. CocoWalk is where yoga moms with a hefty wallet come splurge on handmade pillowcases and tropical decor, great fresh food, and the occasional work of art by a local artist.
Access to Key Biscayne is just past Brickell, but this small strip of land feels a world apart from mainland Miami. This area is home of the Miami Open (the tennis kind of Open, that is) at Crandon Park, where rich people wearing all-white duds rub elbows with their rich friends. The Miami Boat Show also takes place here in Virginia Key, close to Key Biscayne. What else can be found on this small patch of land? Really fancy homes, The Ritz Carlton, and a damn fine slice at Sir Pizza.
The crown jewel of Coral Gables hospitality can be found in The Biltmore. This is the spot for a whole host of vacays–like that much-needed spa escapade, a luxury wedding venue, a golf trip, or a trip where you eat like there’s no tomorrow. Luxury may come with a hefty bill, but if you’re not splurging on vacation, when will you?
Don’t be fooled by the stark facade. Hotel Colonnade is all about what’s inside: beautiful marble accents, bold colors and playful textures. Finding a hotel that feels this young in an old-school Miami area isn’t easy, but these guys nail it. Make sure to reserve a bike to ride around Miracle Mile.
This is our pick for travelers seeking a classic hotel experience in the heart of Coral Gables. At the Hyatt Regency, expect top-notch service, the freshest linens, and a super smooth, drama-free stay. No crazy surprises here, just good ol’ great customer service, a pool, and a convenient location at reasonable rates.
A boutique hotel in the suburbs? Why, yes. Built in 1926, Hotel St. Michel has an old world allure to it. With a restaurant downstairs and proximity to some key spots, like Vizcaya (a must!), the Venetian Pool, the Design District, and Miracle Mile, the location is ideal. The hotel itself is elegant but not over the top, and feels like a home away from home—as long as your home is clean and polished.
Staying in Key Biscayne has its benefits, like intimacy, space, and outdoor living. While this may not be the spot for those wanting a typical Miami experience (read: party experience), this is the place where you put the phone away, grab a book, and unwind. Guests can choose from two pools, water activities on the bay, four restaurant options, and some lovely spa treatments.