Saturday, October 23, 2010

No Coffee Before 10:30 but the Perfect First Stop for a Mother and Daughter on an Adventure

I need to back up a bit because there are still many things left to say about cruising and my vacation specifically. IMPORTANT THINGS! Dammit. I'll move on to other topics eventually.

I'm taking you tonight on a strange journey1. Quite possibly the strangest of the trip and occurring early on...literally upon landing at MIA in Miami.

We were standing on the curb of departures awaiting the free shuttle bus to our hotel. We did not know what the shuttle bus looked like or where exactly it would park. We only knew to wave it down when we saw it.

Another woman - early 20's and dressed in skinny jeans and a low cut top...appropriately so for her voluptuous body - was also waiting and had the smart idea to call and ask the hotel what we ought to be looking for so we eventually knew the shuttle would be black.

However, when it pulled up, obviously our shuttle since it was black and indicated it was for the South Beach Group Hotels, I was a little uncomfortable with its declaration on the side:

Photo courtesy of the South Beach Group.

My first thought was, "Where the hell am I taking my mother?!"

The Hotel Chelsea was a recommendation from my old friend, Chad, someone I've known for 20+ years, who has lived in Miami and now resides in Fort Lauderdale with his partner. When I asked about South Beach hotels, this was his immediate response.

Trust me when I say Betsy and I giggled...a lot...and nervously boarded the bus wondering what we'd gotten ourselves into while still immensely appreciating the adventure.

Once we'd settled into our seats near the front, I looked out the front window to see where we were going and noticed something else a little, ahem, odd...

Yes, that really is what you think you just saw.

Closer, you say? Alright.


I have no idea.


Representative of cannibalism?

Halloween decoration more likely - especially since once we'd gotten to the hotel and saw that it was decked out for the upcoming holiday as well. Both Betsy and I agreed though that we liked the voodoo story way better.

Still. Uhm...weird. And disconcerting. And giggle inducing.

The hotel itself was teensy. We knew it was a boutique hotel. I don't think either of us realized what that would mean. And what that meant was small. If you didn't know it was there, you'd likely miss it.

It had a lovely patio in front and a bar in the lobby called The Lobby. The desk was also teensy but the girl working the desk was pleasant, from Peru, and happy to have us. She invited us to the "fashion show" that would be taking place that night right there in The Lobby starting at 10.

Uhm...I think we were in bed by about 9.

When we got on the elevator to head up to the 3rd floor - top floor - we had to squeeze in with our 2 suitcases and 2 carry-ons and 2 purses plus ourselves. And when I say squeeze, I mean that Betsy said to me - the first on the elevator and already pushed back against the back wall, "You've got to make more room for me or we're going to have to go up one at a time."

The room, while absolutely gorgeous, was also teensy...and dark. I realized this was going to be a major problem when I walked into the bathroom and noticed I could barely see myself in the mirror, recognizing Betsy was never going to be able to see enough to put on her makeup the next morning.

They advertise that the rooms have amber lighting for a relaxed, Zen-like atmosphere to negate the wild effects of the South Beach party district.

What that translates to is too dark to see who've you brought back to your no-tell motel.

And we laughed and laughed and laughed at the ridiculousness of it all.

And we also promised the girl at the desk we'd be back.

Because, in the end, we loved our experience there and loved our hotel and every little quirk about it. Especially the voodoo shuttle and the gin and tonics we took out on the patio to start our vacation in earnest.

1: Yes, that is, in fact, a Rocky Horror Picture Show reference.

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