Guest Post: Samantha Leal “How 1 Hotel South Beach Became My Favorite Hotel”

Published on: August 25, 2016

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South Beach pool surrounded by cabanas and day loungers

Miami is one of those hybrid cities that can morph into pretty much whatever you want or need it to be—the perfect backdrop for a girls’ weekend, a don’t-sleep-till-the-sun-comes-up party, a relaxing totally-unplugged weekend next to the water. The city holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons, one being that it was the location of my first “solo” trip ever—yes, where you take a by-yourself, no-one-else-allowed vaca. And it was magical. Even though I had been to Miami several times before, there’s nothing like heading to a hotel room, sitting by the beach, and drinking a frozen piña colada by the pool knowing you don’t have to follow anyone else’s timeline. You’re the captain.  

Since my first stay 1 Hotel South Beach—yes, for my solo vaca, coincidentally—it has been one of my favorites, if not my favorite, Miami hotel. Everyone just seems to genuinely be happy here, and the white, blue, and washed wood aesthetic can’t be beat when you’re wanting to immediately go from 12-hour-office-days to oh-this-is-relaxing mode. And just was the case when I landed after a 4-hour delay (!!!) in the wee morning hours of a Friday, my friend Francesca in tow. We were 1) tired 2) hungry 3) restless, and the staff made quick to get us checked into our rooms so I could get a little shut-eye before I worked remote that morning. (#ThanksSummerFridays). 

After a day of ordering breakfast to our room, working by the pool (I know), sipping frozen drinks, and walking the sandy beach, I had fully immersed myself in Weekend Living. And, here, I highlight a few of my favorite takeaways. (For more, see my Miami guide on Marie Claire!

Two healthy-looking dishes

The new Watr restaurant (conveniently located to the Adult-Only pool) is seriously so good—make sure to order the poke on quinoa (my favorite!) and indulge a bit by ordering a frosé–they’re the new It Drink right now. Eating out? My favorites include Bunbury (for the outdoor dining, empanadas, and wine) and Yardbird (for the brunch—make a res!). 

A woman standing on a cement block in front of a mural of hands

Seeing Wynwood Walls is always so fun. If you can, do the Wynwood Art Walk (the second Saturday of the month from 7 – 10 p.m.), when you can also visit other, nearby galleries, studios, and bars—basically, a night out on the town while also taking in some art.

Palm trees around a lawn with deck chairs

Broken Shaker is my favorite bar in Miami—it’s perfect for hanging out with friends, having a couple of really fantastic cocktails, and starting or ending the night right. Basically, perfect vibes all around. 

Two pink frosty drinks in glasses

The best part of Miami though is not feeling overly pressured to See All The Things—you can relax and unwind or make it as adventurous as you want. Just make sure to get a frosé. Honestly, I can’t recommend those enough. 

Samantha Leal is the senior editor for, where she writes about all things food, travel, and booze. You can follow her @samanthajoleal

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