Sunset over the bay
I was never supposed to end up in Miami. My original plan was to fly from Bogota to NYC, change out my linens and tropical gear for clothing more suited to winter in the Midwest, then fly to Columbus and join the Romney campaign for the final push in Ohio.
Then Hurricane Sandy happened. The superstorm happened to hit the northeast the day I was due to fly back from Bogota. Of course, my flight was scrubbed due to weather.
I cancelled my reservation with United for free thanks to the weather related travel waiver, and figured Miami (ironically enough) would be the best place to fly into during a hurricane .
A friend of mine was staying at the Mondrian South Beach, and she encouraged me to join her there. They had some sort of absurd sale going on and rooms were incredibly cheap, so I decided to treat myself, and booked a suite before getting on the flight back to America.
Once I got through the crying baby filled immigration queue, I hopped a cab and took off for the hotel.
The Mondrian is on the bay side of South Beach, so you’re looking at water, but it’s not the ocean. The nearby streets were flooded, which was probably due to a water main that burst or something, but my driver insisted it was storm surge from Sandy. I suppose it was possible.
Knowing that Miami is a fake and incredibly tacky town, I presented the desk girl with my most pretentious credit card at check-in (JP Morgan Palladium Card), and falsely assuming I must therefore be important, she upgraded me on the spot to the next room class.
It’s good to know when you’re dealing with awful people so that you can act accordingly and take advantage of their contemptible personalities. Thanks for the upgrade Mondrian!
The room was great.; large living room with a couch and TV, a dining table in the kitchen, separate bedroom and a balcony overlooking the bay. My only complaint is that the bathrooms were tiny, poorly laid out (style over functionality…vintage Miami) and there was no bathtub…I like bathtubs.
I went down to the gym, which is on the same floor as a modeling agency (I think the same one that used to be located in the old Gansevoort) to get in a quick run. My friend texted me while I was there, and it turned out her room was only a few doors down, so she popped in to say hello.
Sadly, she was being boring and not venturing out that evening. I had been pushed to the breaking point in Cartagena, but that was two days ago. I despise Miami and most of the state of Florida in general, but if I am only going to be in a place for two days, I’m absolutely going to go out.
I called my buddy who goes by the DJ name of the Haitian Hillbilly, since he is a white Haitian who looks and dresses like a hillbilly, with the impressive facial hair to back it up.
He told me he would swing by around 11:30pm, after his dinner and pick me up.
I went down to the Mondrian’s lobby bar, which was 100% deserted and started slamming jack & cokes.
As you can imagine, Haitian DJ’s who are also drug aficionados are not the most punctual of people.
A few rounds in, the bartender told me he was closing up shop. I grabbed a whisky for the road and went up to my room to have it out with the minibar.
Somewhere around midnight, the hillbilly pulled up in his beat to shit vintage pickup truck. I brought him down a beer, and we both drank Heinekens as we made for the beach.
His agent or manager or something like that had a table at FDR, so this was our first stop. FDR is at the Delano, and it’s in the space that used to be Florida Room. The party was actually pretty fun, and this is something I don’t normally say, as I really, really don’t like Miami. I met some lovely young ladies at the table who I still talk to sometimes.
When FDR stated to die down we went to another club the name of which I can’t remember. We did a few quick circuits, but it was lame. Then we moved to (I think) Mokkai to meet the people we had been with at FDR earlier. When they closed around 5am, the hillbilly and I piled back into his pickup truck and went across the bridge to downtown Miami.
There’s a bar there that serves 24/7. I was shocked that there was an all night bar in Miami that I didn’t know about and I was a bit upset that none of my friends had brought me here before.
Of course, even walking in at 5:30am, there seemed to be a set of regulars who are always there at the change over from late night to early morning. They all knew the hillbilly, I guess he’s also a regular.
Around 6:30am, I couldn’t hack it any more. The hillbilly turned to a guy a few stools over from us (another regular) and told him to drive me home. Apparently the guy is also a cab driver and just drinks in between fares. You meet interesting characters when you stay out until all hours.
We talked politics on the ride back to the Mondrian. The driver was playing for the wrong team, so I tread lightly.
Coming home in sunlight, wearing your clothes from the night before is always an amusing experience. I was awake, but there was no need or desire for breakfast, so I went upstairs, drew the blinds and finally got some rest.
The Mondrian Report Card
Pros: Big rooms, nice pool area, hot girls in the gym by virtue of proximity to modeling agency, great prices during sales.
Cons: Faces the bay, not the ocean, can’t walk to most of the bars on SoBe, at times feels more like serviced apartments than a proper hotel.
Verdict: Meh. I wouldn’t go out of my way to stay here again. If it was substantially cheaper than anything in a good location, I’d be ok with it. My stay was perfectly pleasant, but nothing about the hotel made me think “man, I want to come back here.”