The Ritz-Carlton, Miami Beach
“Welcome to Miami” the flight attendant began to recite without half the enthusiasm I would shout with from my soap box. “The temperature is currently…” my mind completed the sentence “a *bleep*load warmer than the freezing, grey, boxed-in city you have arrived from” With a smug smile, I looked over to Joanna who was already participating in the rebellious getaway plan I was guilty of: silently unlocking the seatbelts before the lights flashed on. We exchanged a glance that needed no words. We just understood. Ride or die.
Joanna and I promptly jumped up, as if competing as to who would start their holiday first. With the finish line close and outlined in yellow immigration signs, we ran down the flat escalators of Miami airport, hurdling the suitcases of less enthused passengers, as if ‘Chariots of fire’ was the sound track to our every step through the announcement speakers.
The next 3 days was a chick flick to be envied by Thelma and Louise. The opening scene: being driven to The Ritz-Carlton with your partner in crime glued to her phone, draining her data within 30 minutes of arrival to the country.
“Joanna. What are you doing!?” I asked, multi-tasking my frustration and sightseeing, with an obligatory eye-roll.
“I am on the company’s intranet. Looking for jobs in Miami for us” she said whilst instantly morphing into a mini Einstein right before my eyes. Leaning against the taxi window sill, I turned my focus back to the streets and its American-men tour, giving a nod of approval. “Continue”.
I have been told by the odd person that the world doesn’t revolve around me. Obviously I have hit the pause button on these friendships, selflessly of course, to help them discover which other world there may be out there. But until they gather more scientific proof of such a crazy conspiracy theory, I’m going with what The Ritz Carlton believe: at The Ritz Carlton, it was all about me.
“Can I take your jacket ma’am” And so, the world-revolving began. I embarrassingly handed over my coat, providing all evidence that I am not only owner of the most-molting-pug in history, but also a cheap H&M jacket, suddenly outshined by Joanna’s Harrods number, which shortly followed to join the rack of shame. Despite my attire, I was royalty. Royalty, in a world revolving around me.
Once checked in, and our brains crammed with bar and restaurant recommendations from the friendly Laura, we were escorted to our room. The room was a large, modern open space with a bathroom as equally impressive. As a self diagnosed narcoleptic, the true stealing of my heart was the bed. With a single jump, body slam and a kicking, screaming ADHD fit, I was sold. I was home. This was everything I ever wanted in a deathbed. As I lay there, unsure if I had fallen victim to jetlag or just experiencing death-by-comfort, I suddenly understood Rihanna’s need to sing about a Californian king bed. Usually “chest to chest, nose to nose” in our previous stays, Joanna really had become ten thousand miles apart. And so, at arms length, (and until we woke the next morning) we took a final breath and went to heaven.
The next morning was an eager one. At 6am, and with what could have been mistaken to staff as an espresso overdose, Joanna and I bounced to the communal music of the pool area from our balconies. Pale skinned in bikinis we death-stared the horizon in attempt to evoke the sunrise. With persistence and a little bit of patience, it worked.
Dining at The Ritz
I’ve often fantasised about being invited to Buckingham Palace for breakfast. Imagine. The quality, the service, the extensive choice of sausages, the Harry sitting across from you, the Queen, chin-in-hand, fascinated by your victories at boarding school eating competitions. Definitely one on the breakfast bucket list. Well, the breakfast at The Ritz? Let’s just say they had me at ‘hello… still, sparkling or champagne?” Suddenly I pitied the Queen and her English Breakfast tea. “Champagne please”. With the usual choice of buffet or ordering from the hot menu, we chose to satisfy our hunger instantly and raced each other to the stack of plates. Unlike the typical disappointment that comes with most buffets, I found myself wanting to run back to bed, flick the lights and not wake until breakfast was served the following morning. With an impressive selection of food which I doubt Harry could offer me, the quality soon had me confused on what mattered more in life. The bed or the food?
“Beach” was the next word we jinxed each other with as we pushed aside five polished plates. Satisfied and unable to suck it in, we began the 50m walk to the beachfront, selfie-stick dragging in the sand behind me.
“I want the big one” I demanded while pointing at the double sun bed like a toddler who has sighted their first aeroplane. Joanna was already in full speed towards the bed like it was the light at the end of her tunnel. The Ritz’s private beach offers guests an extensive choice of single or double sun beds. And if that isn’t comfort enough, they have a bar to quench your thirst with cocktails, made to perfection, and right out of Sex in The City. Comfortable, bellies bloated and feeling pretty damn invincible, we discovered that we…, well, we weren’t. “Excuse me ladies” Raising our sunglasses to identify the person who was blocking our sun, “this bed is $450 to rent”. Damn. To the singles.
Continuing the Carrie Bradshaw experience, we headed to the spa for a facial. As we flicked through the menu indecisively, we stumbled across words such as ‘collagen’ and ‘youthful glow’. Perfect. My 27th birthday had rudely interrupted the end of 2014, and as if, laughing, it had just clicked its fingers and presented me with crow’s feet. “You are what you eat” they say… well in November 2014, I think I ate my pug.
“So you would like the Age Defying Facial?”
“Is that with collagen?”
“It can be” She explained that collagen is one of the many additional skin enhancements you can add to your treatment.
“Defy away please”
Squinting in the mirror, probably undoing the collagens hard work, I couldn’t see the perfection I was under the impression I was going to receive. I squint-smiled and shut my right eye. Left eye. Right eye. The crow’s feet squint-smiled back.Now it’s just genetics.
Although my premature wrinkles hadn’t vanished miraculously within the hour, I left the spa feeling a sense of relaxation and freshness you don’t stumble across often (or ever) in the typical 9-5 life. Between the soothing music and the gentle massaging of my face, I felt how I imagine Buddha felt while finding enlightenment under the Bohdi Tree.
As with what most Australians tend to inherit at birth, I have a passion for travel. I have had an unrealistic bucket list from the moment I could read the photo captions to my father’s old Time magazines.
Eat Vegemite toast on top of Ayers Rock
Be adopted by the Maasai tribe in Kenya
Give the Dalai Lama life coaching over tea in The Himalayas
Win a rap battle in Michigan, Detroit
Visit Ritz Carlton- Southbeach, Miami
Yes. Another step closer. Another memory never to be forgotten.
So, who will you share it with?