In Miami Beach, many avant-garde restaurants serve "new Cuban cuisine." These restaurants are popping up throughout South Beach—often as part of the newly renovated art moderne hotels of yesteryear. One example is the Savoy, which opened a new Latin cuisine restaurant last year. Ola on the Ocean is one of the latest ventures of Chef Douglas Rodriguez (who started the "Nuevo Latino" trend more than a decade ago with the opening of Yucca). Cuban-inspired dishes are the stars of the menu, including plantain-encrusted mahi-mahi, malaga gnocchi (a delicious Cuban root similar to the cassava) as well as the universal churrasco. Clients staying at the hotel can also order this sophisticated cuisine through room service 12 hours a day, or on the beach for lighter fare. The Savoy is putting together summer packages. Visit www.olamiami.com.
Another popular venue is Mango's Tropical Café, a nightclub restaurant that serves fresh mojitos. A favorite of Ernest Hemingway, the mojito was created in Havana and is made of rum, lime juice, sugar, and Hierba Buena—for flavor and good luck. The bar features a copper sculpture depicting the Everglades.
Jumping Off to the Keys
Miami is a great point of origin for sightseeing trips around South Florida, as the city is close to the Everglades National Park and the entrance of the Florida Keys. Advise clients to rent a car to explore the luxury shops of Palm Beach and waterways of Fort Lauderdale and island-hop down to Key West, which boasts gorgeous sunsets, great shopping and historic houses.
Scheduled service from Miami International Airport flies to this southernmost point in the U.S., and from Key West International Airport to hubs in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa and Atlanta on American Eagle, USAirways, Delta/ASA/ComAir, Continental Connection/Gulfstream or Cape Air.
Another good option to suggest for your clients is renting a limo with a driver. Padrino Limousines, which owns a luxury fleet of limos, town cars and motor coaches, among other vehicles, will show your clients around South Florida. Prices vary and pay commission to travel agents. Resources
The best all-inclusive attractions deal in Miami is now available with the Go Miami TM Card, which delivers pre-paid admission to 28 of the city's top attractions and tours, plus additional savings on services, shopping and dining. The Card is available for one, two, three, five or seven days, to be used consecutively. One-day cards are $59 for adults and $45 for children, with per-day costs decreasing to $29 for an adult and less than $20 for a child on the seven-day card.
Each card comes with a free full-color guidebook listing all participating partners, plus maps and tips for planning itineraries. Any-one can purchase the Go Miami Card online at www.gomiamicard.com, through Smart Destinations global distribution partners, or at The Miami Beach Visitor Center at 1920 Meridian Avenue in Miami Beach.