Brickell, History, Miami, Miami River

“It may seem strange to you, but it is the dream of my life to see this wilderness turned into a prosperous city.” Julia Tuttle

The Miami River is the oldest natural landmark in town. Once upon a time, Julia Tuttle's residence was located on the north side of the river. This is a view of the south side and Brickell City Centre at the end of 2014. Most likely when checking it out now, some additional towers will have gone up.

The Miami River is the oldest natural landmark in town. Once upon a time, Julia Tuttle’s residence was located on the north side of the river. This is a view of the south side and Brickell City Centre at the end of 2014. Most likely when checking it out now, some additional towers will have gone up.

Julia Tuttle, considered the Mother of Miami, founded our city. She was not allowed (as all women in those days) to vote when the City of Miami was incorporated in 1896

Julia Tuttle

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Every American city should have a French bakery. In Miami, that bakery is the Buena Vista Deli. The bakery is owned by Corentin Finot, a long time restauranteur, and Claude Postel, a seventh generation French chef. One of Claude’s forefathers was a chocolatier at the French court. The antique chocolate molds, decorating the walls of the bakery, are testimony to his family legacy.

Buena Vista's buttery, crunchy, and flakey croissants.

Buena Vista’s buttery, crunchy, and flakey croissants.

I love the Buena Vista Deli. The croissants are buttery, crunchy and flakey. According to a Parisian, who I once met, the croissants taste even better than the ones in Paris. If you have a sweet tooth, try the chocolate croissants.

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Bakeries, Buena Vista, Casual Dining, Design District, Food and Drink, French, In the Know, Miami, Off the Beaten Path

Finding France in Miami’s Buena Vista

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Asia, Concierge ABC, India, Inspiration, Les Clefs d'Or

A Concierge’s Story

While going on a stroll through Udaipur, we met an elephant and came across this pink telephone in a streetside store. Photo by Andrew Kaufman, Udaipur, India.

While going on a stroll through Udaipur, we met an elephant and came across this pink telephone in a streetside store. Photo by Andrew Kaufman, Udaipur, India.

Concierges have the best stories to tell. At dinner parties I am always asked what is happening in the hotel. This year the Les Clefs d’Or keys have been a topic of conversation too. Some of my friends saw the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel. They thought that the keys were make belief and that they originated from Wes Anderson’s magical mind. So I found myself telling stories about the keys, what being a Les Clefs d’Or member means and how we meet once a year to learn from the very best. We discuss trends in the hospitality industry, share guests’ stories, meet our mentors and become mentors ourselves, celebrate our history, are reminded of the unique position we hold in our hotels and the difference we can make in our guests’ and colleagues’ journeys, embrace our motto In Service through Friendship, strengthen our Les Clefs d’Or brand and message, enjoy good food and dance a little or a lot (in my case). Then we return to our countries, hotels, lobbies, desks and guests and recreate my favorite scene from The Grand Budapest Hotel or is it the other way around and is the scene based upon a real life Concierge story? We pick up the phone and call a Concierge somewhere in the world and ask for assistance. While we are calling, we wonder which Concierge will be calling us and how we may assist. And we wonder what fabulous Concierge story we will tell next.

P.S. I wrote this story for the Les Clefs d’Or USA writing contest. Topic is the importance of congress attendance. Three scholarships are given for the upcoming 2015 UICH Les Clefs d’Or Congress in Mendoza, Argentina. I can’t wait to see everyone in Mendoza and hopefully I win!

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Miami, On A Budget, Public Transportation, Service, Travel Tips

The Bus

For the last ten years, I have been traveling by public transportation. Seven out of those ten years, I traveled from Miami Beach to the Mandarin Oriental, located on Brickell Key, south of Downtown Miami and the Miami River. Rain or shine, weekday or weekend, Thanksgiving or Christmas Day, I was at the bus stop at 5:30 AM to be on time for my 7:00 AM shift. I would place my bicycle on the bus rack and then bike back in the afternoon.

On Christmas Day, around 6:00AM, just before turning onto the MacArthur Causeway,  while still being on Alton Road, I suddenly realized that I was the only passenger left on the bus. December 25, 2012.

On Christmas Day, around 6:00AM, just before turning onto the MacArthur Causeway, while still being on Alton Road, I suddenly realized that I was the only passenger left on the bus. December 25, 2012.

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NE (Nina Eberlijn)
Concierges are masters of planning, logistics and creating guests’ travel itineraries. We like to plan ahead, but we always tell our guests to keep some time open in their travel itinerary. One day, you might want to sleep in and finish reading those magazines that you brought with you on the airplane. Another day, you might want to return to that particular neighborhood, called Wynwood. On your earlier visit, a few days ago, you found its street art murals so colorful and so bright, just like the Miami sky and sunlight. Now you are curious what more is there to see and do in Wynwood.

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Casual Dining, Food and Drink, Graffiti, Italian, Miami, Off the Beaten Path, Street Art, Wynwood

A No Agenda Adventure

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Hotels always have a front and a back of the house. You can compare the back of the house with going backstage at the theatre. As the traveler you will never see the back of the house. This is where you find the employee entrance, the employee hallways (at the Fontainebleau Hotel the employee hallways consisted of a fascinating labyrinth in the hotel’s basement where I often got lost), the employee elevators, the employee uniform room, the employee locker room, the employee cafeteria, the laundry room, the loading docks, offices and lots of storage areas. My favorite storage area is where Housekeeping keeps its soaps, shampoos and body lotions. This area always smells so good. In the employee hallways you will further find all types of message boards with postings celebrating the employee of the month, employee schedules, shopper report results, announcements of upcoming trainings to hotel rules and laws.

Canang Sari, a collection of daily offerings for sale at the Pasar Badung in Den Pasar. Bali has changed so much in the ten short years since I have been there last. There are more motor bikes, cars and hotels. But the Balinese people still have their customs and rituals. Daily offerings are made to express gratitude and to honor the gods, the ancestors and the underworld creatures. It is a serene undertaking and clears the mind and heart. Photograph by Andrew Kaufman.

Canang Sari, a collection of daily offerings for sale at the Pasar Badung in Den Pasar. Bali has changed so much in the ten short years since I have been there last. There are more motor bikes, cars and hotels. But the Balinese people still have their customs and rituals. Daily offerings are made to express gratitude and to honor the gods, the ancestors and the underworld creatures. It is a serene undertaking and clears the mind and heart. Photograph by Andrew Kaufman.

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Asia, Bali, Beyond Miami, Body Mind Soul, Concierge ABC, Indonesia, Tipping, Travel Etiquette, Travel Tips

The Ladies of the Back of the House

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Let's go to El Rey de las Fritas!

Let’s go to El Rey de las Fritas!

Concierges always keep an eye on their cities, what is happening, what is new, what is a local staple and what has flavor enough to go on an adventure. I became curious about El Rey de las Fritas after seeing a segment on the Travel Channel. One of my Concierge colleagues, fellow founder of the Concierge Friends and Social Club, suggested we would go. She has a Cuban heritage and grew up with El Rey. I was thrilled because I could not have had a better insider guide.

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Casual Dining, Cuban, Diners, Food and Drink, In the Know, Little Havana, Local Flavors, Miami, Off the Beaten Path

El Rey de Las Fritas

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