Sometimes travel plans go out the window and you trip, holiday or journey can be made or broken by how good you are at making the best of a bad situation. Sometimes you lose and you spend £200 and 12 hours in Eindhoven airport waiting for the next flight home.
Sitting on the balcony of a restaurant on the 25th floor of the Conrad Hotel Miami, sipping a bespoke cocktail and watching the picture perfect city lit up by lightning strikes is definitely a winner.
We needed to fly to Orlando but through using our free mini break trick we managed to include a 24 hour stopover in Miami for no extra cost. We were due to land at 4:45pm and from there head to the Marina for a speedboat tour with Thriller Miami, followed by dinner in Little Havana. Then the following day we had a food tour booked before returning to the airport.
Things did not start well. Not only did our flight run out of food on the way over, the crew decided that, during a 2 hour period where I tried to watch a film, it really was necessary to give me 23 interrupting reminders that I need to keep my seat belt on due to the turbulence.
Our flight left 2 hours late and landed 2 and a half hours late. We weren’t the only late visitors to Miami that evening as soon as we cleared passport control the temperature dropped, the wind picked up, and huge dark clouds dimmed the lights over the airport and prepared for a rumble.
We headed for the monorail that would take us to the car rental facility as the storm broke and lightning struck nearby. The monorail was out of action, a lightning bolt had hit the airport and was causing havoc with the computers systems. Airport officials tried to take us to a bus but with the elevators out of use and an even growing queue of travellers, we snuck down the stairs to the taxi rank and made our own way to the car rental facility.
When we finally reached the car rental area, alarms were going off and recorded messages were advising us to evacuate the facility. The man at the rental car counter quickly finished the paperwork and slipped us the keys before instructing the rest of the line to evacuate.
We evacuated ourselves to a shiny new black Dodge Charger and slipped away into the storm.
The delay and the storm had put an end to our speed boat and walking Little Havana plans. Instead, we skipped straight to the Conrad Hotel Miami: a luxury hotel in the city of Miami.
The Conrad Hotel Miami is a classy joint and I would be lying if I didn’t say I felt like we were trespassing as we pulled up. It felt great pulling up in a flash sports car but deep down I knew it was a rental that we’d only paid £27 for. The valet drove the car off and we headed up the hotel’s carpeted runaway to the lifts and towards the heady heights of the 25th floor.
The 25th floor is the bar and restaurant of the hotel. The atmosphere is relaxed and understated but with an upbeat groove. Both the restaurant and bar are well staffed so service is quick and professional. The bar is furnished for everyone as it has stools for the bar flies, benches and sofas for the groups wanting to sit close together and big armchairs for the weary travellers. The variety of furnishings is nicely hidden by the mood lightning and the 25th floor even smells nice due to the mango scented candles dotted around the room.
The Bar is geared to the Conrad Hotel Miami guests with entertainment such as wine tasting sessions being hosted for guests in a their envious wine room.
The bar also has a quirky reputation with locals as last Christmas the bar was filled with artificial snow to give Miami locals and travellers a taste of a white Christmas.
The restaurant wasn’t cheap but offered some intriguing options. We decided to go with just a snack as we weren’t sure what time it was and were treated to a game of pepper roulette: a selection of grilled sweet peppers: some plain, some spicy, and no way to tell until it was in your mouth.
Rachel asked the barman to surprise her with a cocktail and he took this to the extreme, expertly crafting her a bespoke cocktail blending together (a lot of) Vodka, orange, lemon and pineapple which was a refreshing surprise and special delight.
But the reason for going to the 25th floor wasn’t the food or the cocktails: it was the view.
The 25th floor has a balcony that looks out onto the Miami Bay. From here you can see the beaches to the North, Biscayne Island to the South, Downtown is below you and Atlantic Ocean and South beach lie across the water to the East.
To add to the awesome view we were treated to a light show put on by the Miami Storm. Lightning strikes lit up clouds and the thunder provided the soundtrack to the evening as we sat drinking our bespoke cocktails. The storm passed us going from the North to the South leaving behind a warm, breezy and fresh night behind. The perfect weather for exploring Miami.
For the first time that day, with the help of the Conrad Hotel Miami, we felt like we had got the better of our situation and were finally able to start enjoying our Miami Stopover.
Last modified: 27th February 2017