TOURISM

Hearts and flowers, boats and art — and plenty of traffic — in store this long weekend

 

NAVIGATING TRAFFIC

This weekend is full of major events — which will likely lead to traffic tie-ups. Here are five potential problem areas to navigate:

•  Miami Beach: The beach has all the ingredients for traffic jams this weekend: major events, road construction and likely beautiful beach weather. Roads will be clogged around the Yacht and Brokerage Show, Collins Avenue from 41st to 54th streets, and around the Miami Beach Convention Center, where the Miami International Boat Show is taking place. Road closures and detours because of ongoing construction remain on Alton Road between Fifth Street and Michigan Avenue and Collins Avenue from Fifth Street to 16th Street.

Alternative: For the boat show in South Beach, take the Julia Tuttle Causeway and get to the convention center from the north. Tips: Plan your parking moves in advance, and check each event’s website for information about shuttle service.

•  Coconut Grove: Because of The Coconut Grove Arts Festival, several roads will be closed Friday through Monday night in the central business district. They include portions of: McFarlane Road, Mary Street, South Bayshore Drive, Southwest 27th Avenue and Pan American Drive. Detours will also be added on South Bayshore Drive at Aviation Avenue and on Tigertail between Aviation Avenue and Southwest 27th Avenue. Alternative: Use Southwest 32nd Avenue or Southwest 22nd Avenue. Tip: Take Metrorail to the Douglas Road or Coconut Grove station, where Bus Route 249 (Coconut Grove Circulator) has stops near the festival.

•  Midtown Miami: Art Wynwood will be held in a pavilion at 3101 NE 1st Ave., adjacent to Midtown’s shops and restaurants. Alternative: Traffic will likely back up on Biscayne Boulevard through the day, so best to exit I-195 at North Miami Avenue. Tip: The Miami Trolley’s Biscayne route includes a stop in Midtown Miami.

•  Downtown Miami: Two boat show participants and a new art fair will draw crowds to downtown and points north. The New Yacht & Power Boat Show is at Sea Isle Marina, 1635 N. Bayshore Dr., while Strictly Sail Miami is located at Miamarina at Bayside, 400 Biscayne Blvd. The new Miami Art + Design Fair will be held at Bayfront Park’s Chopin Plaza, east of Biscayne Boulevard and Flagler Street. Alternative: Metromover has stops near all three events, and shuttle service as well as water taxi service is available between the boat show events.

•  Final tip: Try to beat the rush by arriving as early as possible to whatever event you’re attending.

IF YOU GO

•  Art Wynwood: 3101 NE First Ave., Miami. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday. $20 for a one-day pass. More information at www.artwynwood.com.

•  Coconut Grove Arts Festival: Adjacent to Biscayne Bay along McFarlane Road, South Bayshore Drive and Pan American Drive. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday through Monday. $15 general admission per person per day. More information at www.cgaf.com.

•  Miami Art + Design: Bayfront Park’s Chopin Plaza, east of Biscayne Boulevard and Flagler Street. 2-10 p.m. Friday through Monday, 2-8 p.m. Tuesday. $15 online for a one-day ticket, $20 at the door. More information at miamiartanddesign.com.

Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail Miami: Miami Beach Convention Center; Sea Isle Marina & Yachting Center; Miamarina at Bayside. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday through Sunday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday. $35 Thursday (Premier Day); $20 all other show days; $85 five-day adult pass; $35 two-day adult pass; free for kids 15 and under accompanied by adult. MiamiBoatShow.com.

Yacht & Brokerage Show: Indian Creek Waterway along Collins Avenue from 41st to 52nd Streets, Miami Beach. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday. showmanagement.com/event.


SHOWING THE LOVE

Hotel guests sometimes need a hand getting the perfect gift for their loved one on Valentine’s Day.

Here are some stories from local hotels about their most memorable requests:

• Blood drawn for a pendant. Delano South Beach.

• Special delivery of a Weimaraner puppy, which a Delano South Beach manager had to pick up from Atlanta.

• Having no idea how to surprise her husband, a guest at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami handed the planning reins over to the concierge.

The staff arranged for a private seaplane to take the couple to an island for dinner on the beach. They also delivered a cake made to look like a Canon camera to their room because the husband was a photography fan.

• One guest at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach requested a baby grand piano sent to his room last year so he could serenade his love.

The concierge staff got the piano to the hotel, but it didn’t fit in the room; instead, they set it up in a ballroom for the evening.

• A few years ago, InterContinental Miami chef concierge Eduardo Rosello was asked to find a wedding officiant to perform a renewal of their wedding vows with friends.

A local pastor agreed, but 15 minutes before the ceremony, he had not arrived. Rosello discovered the pastor had been involved in a car accident, and with no time to find a replacement, he shed his hotel name tag, took his notary seal and filled in.

After the short ceremony, one of the guests who knew Rosello’s concierge identity asked him to do the same at his own wedding vow renewal.


hsampson@MiamiHerald.com

Already one of the busiest weekends of the year in Miami-Dade, Presidents’ Day weekend starts with an extra kick this time around: Valentine’s Day.

The good news is that sweethearts who haven’t yet made plans can surprise their loved ones with a new megayacht or a Monet (or more budget-friendly tickets to Art Wynwood, the Miami International Boat Show, the new Miami Art + Design fair or the Coconut Grove Arts Festival).

“This is one of those magical weekends when everything lines up,” said Rolando Aedo, chief marketing officer for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The bad news: Hotel rooms and restaurant reservations will be hard to come by, and traffic jams at multiple spots throughout the county will likely provoke unloving feelings in many.

And even though the Miami forecast through Monday is mostly sunny-to-sunny, with a cool Friday giving way to warm weekend weather, some here are worrying about the skies elsewhere. By Thursday afternoon, South Florida airports reported more than 250 canceled flights to and from the Southeast and Northeast.

“While we’re hoping for cold weather in the Northeast, we certainly don’t want it to be no-fly weather,” said Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “That’s the one caveat.”

As long as visitors can get here, they’re expected to pack South Florida hotels and restaurants.

In Miami-Dade, a survey showed that hotel occupancy Thursday through Sunday is expected to reach 94 percent countywide, up slightly from last year — despite the destination having more rooms.

Aedo said the weekend is, “if not the busiest, easily one of the busiest” of the year. “I would be hard pressed to think of another weekend where occupancies are as high in addition to [high] room rates,” he said.

Some of the Miami-Dade events are even generating some business in Broward, Grossman said. Fort Lauderdale is also hosting the Publix Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon on Sunday, and about 30 Broward hotels are sold out.

“I think having Valentine’s Day extending into Presidents’ Day has created a real nice opportunity for people to enjoy this destination,” Grossman said. “It’s not ever impossible to get a room here, but it’s a challenge for this coming weekend.”

The InterContinental Miami, next door to the brand new Miami Art + Design fair, is sold out through Saturday and expects to sell out Sunday night as well. General manager Robert Hill said 80 percent of the guests are leisure, far more than usual.

“The combination of Valentine’s Day falling on a Friday and it being Presidents’ Day weekend — a long weekend as well —certainly gives people the opportunity to go away for a long weekend stay,” he said. Adding the boat show to the mix, he said, “It’s just creating that perfect storm for the weekend.”

South Beach steakhouse Prime 112 has been booked solid for weeks already, and owner Myles Chefetz said the Friday Valentine’s Day was doing him no favors in terms of additional bookings.

“We’re packed for Fridays anyway,” he said. And the Friday of a holiday weekend is, he said, “a double whammy.”

Kevin Kelly, general manager at the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, had a similar sentiment. The hotel is nearly full for Saturday night with some rooms left for Friday, Sunday and Monday.

“I wish Presidents’ Day and the boat show and Valentine’s Day were on different weekends,” he said. “As it comes, it’s a triple bonus for us.”

The 375-room hotel has been promoting a $100,000 diamond-draped Valentine’s package, which includes a single night in an oceanfront suite, diamond earrings and cuff links, 100 red roses and diamond facials.

No takers so far.

“But you never know,” Kelly said.

Big and small spenders alike can also find sailboats, yachts, water accessories and all types of art in multiple venues: Art Wynwood, which specializes in contemporary works; the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, with 380 artists selling crafts and artworks; the Progressive Miami International Boat Show; the Yacht & Brokerage Show and Miami Art + Design in Bayfront Park. All will be open Friday through Monday except the Coconut Grove festival, which starts Saturday.

Miami Art + Design, in its first year, is positioning itself as a classical fair in partnership with the Paris-based SNA. Organizer David Lester said the 45 or so galleries will offer “everything from masters to impressionists to contemporary art to ethnographic art.” Works by Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro and Claude Monet will be available, Lester said.

Plus, with hours starting at 2 p.m. and ending at 10 p.m. through Monday (closing at 8 p.m. Tuesday); a pop-up restaurant and bar; and steel drums and a piano, Lester said he thinks the fair will make for a fine evening out.

“People that are not in the market for million dollar paintings, you’ll have fun anyway,” he said.

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