I Stayed at Gloria Estefan's Hotel In Miami!
In the heart of South Beach, the Cardozo Hotel is authentically Latin in flavor, and has wonderfully warm wood surfaces everywhere, offset by leopard-print floors in the halls.
It's very Xavier Cugat meets snowless ski lodge.
And the Estefan merch is everywhere--Gloria's new CD in the room and hubby Emilio's book The Rhythm of Success is for sale at the front desk--and let's not forget they raised money for Obama!
I was down there for the Borscht festival of experimental films, and enjoyed reconnecting with Miami, which seems to be rebounding after a slow stretch.
Ocean Drive is now pretty much their Times Square--the tourists' place the natives don't always take part in unless they have to.
But Miami proper is really coming alive, thanks the Design District (a sleek, Soho-like area filled with showrooms and galleries) and Wynwood, the Williamsburg-type nabe where every spare surface is filled with a stunning mural.
Running around town, I stopped at Oak Tavern for dinner and found a sceney but friendly haven for suckling pig, gazpacho verde, and tres chic clientele.
On the other end of the spectrum, I went to my beloved thrift stores and found that some of them (like one called Out of the Closet) also provide free HIV tests on the premises.
Imagine walking out the door and saying, "I'm positive, but I got a fabulous ashtray!"?
Love you, Miami. Your textures keep impressing.
And thanks to the bar Score, I had some fun encounters back in South Beach (though naturally, I didn't Score).