Escape From Snow Island: Our Mid-Winter Trip To Miami (Part One)

When the scene outside your window looks more like 30 Days Of Night than New York City, it feels like a Get Out Of Jail Free card when you receive a text from your friend which says,

“I also might go to Miami for a couple days soon just to get some sun and lay on the beach. I feel like one of those little mole rats with no eyeballs who lives in a cave. You should come!”

Emily didn’t have to ask me twice. I was in! We booked flights (about $250 return) and a hotel room at The Standard Spa. Before we knew it, we were sharing a car to JFK, and then flying down the coast…

Escape From Snow Island

When we left New York, it was -13°C (8°F). Miami was a balmy 23°C (84°F). As you might expect, we walked into the hotel looking ridiculous. I was doing my best distinctly unsexy lumberjack impression in a wool hat, flannel shirt, jeans and boots, everything made extra-snug by the layer of Uniqlo HeatTech I had on underneath! I carried my full-length puffy coat (aka “my sleeping bag”) under my arm, and awkwardly tried to adjust to the climate while relaxed people milled around us in swimsuits.

The situation was made even weirder by the taxi we had just inelegantly climbed out of. Our driver had been silent the whole way, and two minutes before he pulled into The Standard’s driveway, he aggressively barked, “You know what the problem with the world is? Women… Women and money! YOU! And MONEY!”

It turned out that capricious and cavalier cab drivers were a dime a dozen in Miami, but we didn’t know that yet!

palms 2

We checked into the hotel, dropped our bags, changed into more appropriate outfits, then headed out to see the pool. Everywhere we looked, we saw palm trees, yellow-striped towels, and sunglasses. It was sublime. I felt like the cat-with-heart-eyes emoji come to life.

The joy of skipping the state started to sink in. Thank god, we had finally made our successful escape from Snow Island! Celebrations were in order!

poolside 1

poolside 3

The turquoise water and yellow accents were exactly what my soul needed: the perfect antidote to 5 inches of slush and ice! We tied strings around our wrists to show that we were guests of the hotel, then climbed into matching loungers to get some sun on our bones. Emily ordered Perrier and tuna tartare, while I got a Limonata, guacamole, and chicken wings. Living the DREAM!

gala 1

pool 1

palm standard

Eventually, the sun began to vanish, and we decided it was time to explore the hotel. We geeked out in the hotel gift shop, which stocked my favourite perfume, Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Extreme, as well as kaftans in every colour of the rainbow, delicate little friendship bracelets, scented candles, and sunscreen that smelled like pineapple and coconut.

Upstairs, the spa featured an enormous hamam, surrounded by an aroma steam room, sauna, sound shower, and extra-deep bathtubs. The spa sold Tata Harper (I adore her Love Potion!) and Biologique Recherche (P50 is my holy grail!), as well as bundles of sage and tarot books. I think I found my mecca…

Outside, there were miles of perfectly manicured hedges hiding little neon signs, swinging chairs, and embroidered sofas around a fire-pit.

lido sign

The Lido sign tucked among the leaves is a nod to the previous incarnation of the hotel, when its visitors could be described as “more blue hair than purple streaks, less hip than hip replacement.” Ha! But I love the logo, it’s so cool!

standard 2

It was gorgeous outside at night, with fairy lights strung up, and the palm trees reflecting into the pool. Swoon.

As tempting as it was to stay in one spot, we wanted to go on an adventure. We headed to Terrazza, an Italian restaurant at Shore Club for dinner. Inside Shore Club, flickering floor lamps, shag rugs and low-slung couches were surrounded by billowing white curtains. It was sublime.

shore club 5

shore club 2

shore club 1

The Skybar at Shore Club was gorgeous too, strewn with Moroccan lanterns and cushions. A warm breeze blew through, making all the lights swing from the trees. It’s said that Shore Club’s outdoor areas were inspired by Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, yet another place I want to visit!

Escape From Snow Island

After dinner, we went back to The Standard, soaked in the hot tub underneath a blazing full moon in Leo, and watched snippets of the Justin Bieber documentary (fascinating!) before falling fast asleep…

Stay tuned for the rest of our Miami travel diary!

Sunscreen and tan lines,

Illustrations and photos by Emily A. Faulstich.