Robert Festinger, vice president/managing director at the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort in Sunny Isles Beach, said its restaurant, Kitchen 305, is geared up to serve 400 on Thanksgiving, compared to 250 last year. The company has been offering a discounted price for the buffet — $49 for two people — on The Miami Herald’s dealsaver.com since last week.
In addition to locals who want to make reservations instead of a multi-course meal, Festinger said the 325-room hotel will be unusually packed for the holiday weekend, which he described as typically “a little bit of a valley.” Some of those guests, he said, are regulars who are coming from areas in the northeast that were affected by Hurricane Sandy.
“I have customers that I’ve dealt with in the last five years and they’ve been calling and saying, ‘We’re coming down,’ ” he said. “ ‘We’re going to get out of New York, Long Island, Connecticut.’ ”
Airline and travel analyst Henry Harteveldt, with Atmosphere Research Group, said many people in New York and New Jersey are likely still dealing with too many hassles and expenses — and limited travel options — to plan last-minute getaways. But he figured some of those residents might try to make travel plans to warmer destinations for holidays later this year or early next.
But for James Dixion, a 29-year-old private investigator who lives in Manhattan and took a major hit from the storm, November was the time to get out of town. The Miami-Dade native said he’d been staying with friends and relatives and putting in claims for possessions he lost to flooding when he decided to head south for the holiday with his brother and sister to escape the post-Sandy ordeals — and the cold.
On Monday, Dixion said he planned to check into the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort on Tuesday morning after visiting friends in the area.
“I’m enjoying this weather and it feels good to be away from the mess,” he said. “Right now we’re like calm waters. I just want to enjoy some family, some friends and take it easy for a couple of days and deal with everything else later.”