Miami, Florida

Photo: The Betsy - South-Beach
Photo: The Betsy – South-Beach

Good morning, Miami! The bright sun makes the sand and the water look like they’re sparkling. The beach is surprisingly, amazingly empty, except for a few chirping birds. The air smells like freshly cut grass and flowers. South Beach is gorgeous first thing in the morning.

This isn’t your first trip to South Beach. Though it seems like you’re seeing the barrier islands in between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean for the first time, you’ve actually been here many times before. You’ve just never woken up this early. After late dinners and endless hours of clubbing, you’d return to your hotel shortly before sunrise and sleep the rest of the morning. By the time you woke up and put on your bikini, the hot sun was high in the sky and the beach was packed.

But your clubbing days are over. When you select a hotel, you now focus more on the comfortable rooms, the unique design, and the gorgeous views than the number of bars or the length of the line trying to get inside. That’s how you ended up at The Betsy – South Beach.

Photo: The Betsy - South Beach
Photo: The Betsy – South Beach

The Betsy is a small boutique hotel at the north end of Ocean Drive. The hotel was originally built in 1942 with Florida-Georgian architecture, a four-columned portico, and shuttered windows. The hotel’s graceful Southern style remains unchanged, despite undergoing extensive renovations. It now includes beachy rooms, lots of artwork, a rooftop spa, and an ocean deck overlooking the turquoise water.

When the sun starts peeking through your room’s shutters, resist the urge to pull the pillow over your head and go back to sleep. Instead, join the vinyasa yoga class on the ocean deck and focus on your breathing during cat-cow stretches. Feeling energized, run through Lummus Park along the waterfront. Only a few other joggers and a couple of happy dogs are out this early. Walk back to the hotel on the even-emptier beach, where attendants are just starting to set up the chairs and the umbrellas. Cool off in the courtyard pool and sip a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade while you dry off. Relax during a Wood Stone Ritual with chilled stones at the spa. Then find a spot on the beach before it starts to get crowded.

Later, you’ll watch the sun set from a couch on the ocean deck. You’ll eat a Cuban sandwich with provolone and garlic fries. Then you’ll sip a Rosemary Smash while listening to live jazz in the palm-filled Lobby Bar. But that will be the extent of your crazy evening. You have lots to do before everyone else wakes up tomorrow afternoon.

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